April 1st, the dreaded day for all gullible people that occupy this planet, me being one of them. Tip-toeing my way through life that day hoping not to get pranked by any of my friends or co-workers, I receive an email from Frank Soukup, Director of Marketing at Grand View Lodge, asking if I could give him a call by 5pm that day. Having had an interview with him just a couple weeks before that, I was beyond nervous to say the least. So, not even two minutes had passed since he had sent that email and I was on the phone with Frank accepting the offer to be their summer intern for the year. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to start working; needless to say it was the best April Fool’s day of my life. The only joke that was going around that day was the fact that this city girl was going to be moving and living in the northwoods for three months.
I’m originally from Minneapolis and have always loved living in the city, but when this opportunity arose I couldn’t deny it, despite the location. When the time came for me to make the three and a half hour drive from Menomonie, Wisc., where I am studying Professional Communication and Emerging Media at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, to little ole’ Nisswa, Minn. for the summer, I was filled with excitement and anticipation for what was to come. Then as I was driving into Nisswa and saw the population sign read 1,971, I instantly thought to myself “oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?”
That thought instantly passed as made that left turn into Grand View Lodge’s main property. Lined with hundreds of trees, beautiful cabins, and the historic main lodge with a view that almost doesn’t seem real, I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to be living in such a gorgeous place, even if it was just for the summer. As I got settled in, it was time to start working.
Being that this was my first real experience working in a marketing department at a large company, I had no idea what to expect; all I knew was the skills I had and a hope that they would be useful for them. Working in marketing can be a tough gig because the work you do can make or break the company or brand that you are working so hard to keep alive. But, that didn’t keep the marketing team from giving me some great real world experience. I learned how to create and manage an effective social media campaign, how to successfully use PPC ads, SEO strategies on our blog posts and so much more. I also attended marketing meetings, or as I like to call it the “meeting of the minds”, every Monday, designed posters and other printed and digital materials, did tons of research, and so much more. Seriously, I did it all.
So, if you ever saw someone really focused on getting that perfect angle to take a picture of her coffee from M.V. Baker’s and then saw it on Instagram later that day, that was me, or at the front desk with a huge box filled with Northwood’s News (the weekly activity schedule), also me, or down on the beach taking pictures of our waterfront team playing spike ball, ‘twas also me. I like to think of myself at the little squirrel that runs around the resort doing all sorts of fun things creating exposure for all the departments at the resort.
With everything that I got to do and learn, by far the best thing about working for Grand View this summer is all the wonderful people I got to work with. The community at Grand View is one that every company should aspire to. Everyone works as a team and has the same goal in mind: ensuring our guests are happy.
So thank you to everyone that I had the pleasure of meeting this summer, thank you Frank for giving me this opportunity to grow and be apart of your fantastic team and thank you to all of our guests and fans that I had the pleasure of interacting with over our social media platforms and in real life, you’re all the best. There was never a dull moment and I hope your next intern has as great of an experience that I did. I guess this city girl will consider making her way back up to the northwoods again, it really isn’t that bad.