For the interns who join ESPN each summer, the annual intern symposium is always one of the highlights, and this year was no exception. The 2017 interns from Bristol, Los Angeles, and New York came together for the first time June 22 to hear about each other’s experiences and to learn from some of the company’s top executives and most well-known personalities.
First up was a discussion with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill. The SC6 duo addressed an array of topics from their newspaper backgrounds and how technology has affected their roles to their career struggles and mentors who have influenced them.
Smith advised the group to hold onto one particular nugget of advice. He talked about the importance of never losing an intern mentality – never getting complacent and always striving to do what’s best for the company.
Smith credited that mentality for much of his success. He also indicated that before he and Hill leave work each day, they discuss what they did well, what they could’ve done better and what they should have done differently on their show that day.
The executive panel featured SVP, SportsCenter and News, Rob King; Editor-in-Chief, ESPN The Magazine and espnW, Alison Overholt; SVP, College Networks, Programming, Rosalyn Durant; and VP, Digital Media Programming, John Lasker.
The four senior leaders discussed how they balance their work and personal lives, how their positions in the company have changed over the years, and the value of learning about different departments within the company.
King shared what he believes to be the most important traits of a great employee. He cited passion, curiosity, inquisitiveness and the fire to learn.
After time with recruiters to discuss post-internship opportunities with the company, interns were introduced to ESPN President John Skipper, who engaged in a question and answer session that covered a range of topics. He spoke about ESPN’s future and his career path while offering some tips for success. He also shared the books he’s currently reading.
The symposium concluded with a big group selfie featuring over 80 interns piling together alongside Skipper.
Isaiah Smalls, a Rhoden Fellow intern with The Undefeated, said his main takeaways from the symposium include realizing the high value the company places on being diverse, as well as the robust amount of positions, departments, and options for employees.
“When you think of ESPN, you think of an anchor or a columnist or a producer behind the scenes, but there’s so many different positions, even just from the executive management side that are just really, really intriguing,” Smalls said. “Originally coming into ESPN I wanted to be on-air, but now I see I can think even more broadly.”