By LaKeisha Crum
When most students search for an internship, they look for a company that will teach them professional skills, provide valuable contacts, and give them a sneak peek into the future. While these are valid reasons to choose a company to spend a summer with, most don’t consider what their internship can offer outside the office. I was lucky for choosing Mercer as they have not only contributed to my development in the office, but they’ve given me opportunities outside as well.
A couple of weeks before I began my internship at Mercer, there was a vendor/client presentation at a local restaurant to present the development of near-site clinics in our region to employers. Although I had not yet started my internship at Mercer, my people manager invited me to come hear the presentation and enjoy some food with the team to connect. I was excited for the opportunity to see firsthand, how Mercer communicates with clients and what new opportunities were coming to our region. After the presentation, I was able to sit and enjoy food with some consultants, talk to members of my future team, and network with real Mercer clients and prospects. It was great to see what I was getting myself into and to meet my new coworkers. Attending this event made me feel incredibly comfortable on my actual first day and helped me understand the operations of my team.
Volunteer Opportunity: Dare to Care
My second Friday here was the scheduled Team Building Event at a local food bank named Dare to Care. The Health and Benefits team spent a few hours packing food in boxes to be shipped across the entire state. We packed over 16,000 lbs. of food in two and a half hours to send to hungry families! Not only was it rewarding to be doing something great for the community, but it also provided me the opportunity to connect with my new teammates on a personal level. I was given the task “box taper” alongside a lead consultant and actuary/consultant. We spent hours taping as fast as possible and chatting about random things. It was fun to learn what they enjoyed, and it was great to
connect on a level outside of employee benefits.
LSHRM (Louisville Society of Human Resource Management) Conference
The four Louisville interns were invited to attend our local SHRM conference where we attended four informational sessions. First, was a benefits benchmarking session presented by two of our fellow Mercer colleagues. We learned about the world of benchmarking and what it can contribute to a company’s benefits plan. Our second was a legal session covering the employer’s obligations of FMLA and ADA. This was led by two lawyers and featured some hilarious skits to exhibit FLMA and ADA in the workplace. After our second session, we had lunch where I was able to network with some of the LSHRM sponsors and fellow attendees to learn about their role in their respective companies. After lunch was our third session, a navigating annual pay increase presentation led by another fellow colleague from the Career practice. As a health intern, I was really in the dark about the operations of the Career practice and it was helpful to hear her presentation and learn their business. Lastly, we all attended the fourth session, where a financial advisor explained the “Crushing Burden of Debt.” This session was great because it was relevant both professionally and personally and was very helpful to hear.
Overall, the conference was a great way to get out of the office and network with individuals in the world outside of Mercer. It was neat to hear their concerns and understand what issues a client may face. The facts, advice, and challenges shared were very enlightening and applicable to the tasks we have been given throughout our internships at Mercer.
These are just a few examples of the wonderful experiences Mercer offers outside of the office. From day one, and even before, I have been invited to experience the avenues of Mercer’s business inside and out. As a result, I have been able to expand my knowledge of the business, develop my communication skills, and expose myself to the client point of view. I am very thankful to have been a part of Mercer this summer and all the amazing opportunities outside of the office!
About the Author LaKeisha Crum is a rising graduate student at the University of Louisville, where she will study Biostatistics. She currently interns in the Health & Benefits practice in the Louisville, KY office. After work, you can find her spending time with her fiancé and three dogs, watching Jeopardy, or bargain shopping. Connect with her here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lakeisha-crum/