Five words captured the attention of all of us to start off ESPN’s annual Intern Symposium, which brought together the company’s interns from its Los Angeles and New York City offices to join the group working at the Bristol, Conn. headquarters this summer.
“We want to hire you,” said Senior Vice President of Human Resources & The Walt Disney Company Chief Diversity Officer, Paul Richardson, to open the day filled with advice and networking opportunities. For this competitive internship environment, Richardson also emphasized that each intern was going to have to incorporate the elements of inspiration, education, perspiration and celebration in order to enhance our hopes of earning full-time positions here someday.
After that warm welcome, ESPN President John Skipper gave a speech about his journey to where he is today, followed by an insightful Q&A session with the 80 interns.
Skipper answered questions for 90 minutes, ranging from how ESPN avoids becoming complacent to how the company makes a commitment to work/life balance to where good barbecue exists in Connecticut. Afterwards, Skipper shook hands with every intern and asked each where they’re from and what school they attend.
We networked amongst ourselves and were given the opportunity to meet with recruiters from throughout The Walt Disney Company.
There was a presentation about “ESPN: The Pitch,” which offers interns the opportunity to present a new business idea to top-level ESPN executives at the end of the internship.
The day closed with a leadership panel discussion about the 20th anniversary of ESPN.com. Besides the interesting conversation about the challenges and growth that has occurred with one of the most popular websites, the leaders offered all of us advice that I know I will always carry with me, such as the importance of blooming where you’re planted, investing in yourself and following your passion.
“One of the most beneficial parts of my career was my internship,” SportsCenter anchor Nicole Briscoe said. “Don’t waste time. Use it to your advantage.”
It’s just up to each of the interns to decide how they’re going to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.