In The News

Intern Inks


A few days ago my boss told me that in addition to my sales and events duties, I get to blog about being an intern! This is very exciting for me. During my internship search in the spring, I was torn about whether I should look for jobs that involved mostly event planning or mostly news/magazine writing. And suddenly I’m doing both! I hardly ever use exclamation points this much, but I’m trying to convey my absolute excitement about exercising all my passions in one position. So, welcome to the insider scoop on what it’s like to work for Blackbird Investments.

I’m Anna—about to be a senior double majoring in News Journalism and Public Relations at Drake University. I love sarcasm, writing, event planning, and coffee—so I fit right in at the office. I am an events and sales intern at Blackbird. I plan events, engage with tenants, and bring excitement and youth to the office (at least, I think that last part was in the job description). I have never worked in real estate before, but I mentioned House Hunters in my interview, so I think that really sold me. I do, though, have a background in event planning, having been a part of my university’s largest event planning organization for two years, and then having the chance to lead it last academic year. I’m putting to use everything I learned in that position here at Blackbird.

Thus far, my intern partner Drew and I have planned and executed five events in a month of my being here and are deep in the planning stages of quite a few more. We have engaged with city dwellers and dog lovers at the Farmer’s Market; we planned a construction appreciation lunch and hot dog eating contest at one of our properties; and we planned our newest properties’ ribbon cutting, which was a lot of day-of-show work. Then, every week we are a sponsor at Blank Park Zoo’s event “Zoo Brew,” where we have a booth with information, easy-to-win games, and giveaways—come meet us one week and say hi! Our most recent event was last Thursday; we had a party for all the tenants in our office building on our communal rooftop. Despite raining at the beginning, the event went well and we successfully completed our “get to know your neighbors” mission. One of the perks of working in events is seeing everyone having fun at an event you created.

So, the job is a lot of fun. I enjoy planning events, scheduling meetings, sending emails, and filling my calendar up with save-the-dates. The job—like the events industry—is ever changing. I come into the office and don’t always know what my day looks like, and it’s absolutely thrilling. It’s not full of filing, or paperwork, or sitting at a cubicle, but a lot of idea brainstorming, creative power, and city exploring. Drew and I are always out on the move, buying necessities for our events, getting involved in existing Des Moines events, or learning from our competition.

Event planning though, has its cons. One of them is having to continuously roll with the punches. We have already been in situations where we had been planning an event that ends up being cancelled. Or we’re out shopping planning to get one thing and having to totally rethink our plan if the product is too expensive or unavailable. Weather is another huge factor if the events you plan are outside. Since it’s summer, a lot of ours are outside. We are a real estate company on top of that, so we have apartments and land that we want to showcase and utilize, and much of the gathering spaces are patios, rooftops or open outdoor areas. We have run into weather issues already—rain, wind, unbearable heat. It is important that you are adept at going with the flow in this industry, as things change quickly and can come out of nowhere. Always have a backup plan/rain plan/plan B.

If you learn one thing early on about me, it should be that I’m long-winded. Snappy and short writing isn’t in the cards for me. I’ll try my hand at some listicles this summer, and I’ll mix up my topics. Next time, I want to write about soft skills. Many professionals are in industries that don’t correlate to their college majors. That’s because they have acquired the soft skills and etiquette they need to be successful in virtually any position. Learning the duties and assignments of your position are easy when you weigh them against learning how to be an adaptable, patient, understanding active listener.

I will try and whip up posts weekly, but in my world—as I’m sure it is in yours—some weeks are crazy busy, and others are drawn out and seemingly endless. Events, man.

Catch ya next time,