By Katie Funk
This summer, all I was really looking for was some generic work experience to add to my resume. Having just finished my freshman year of college, I could no longer blissfully avoid the reality that life and the real world are coming at me fast. So I did what any savvy college student would do with no work experience—asked mom and dad to hook it up. My Dad had recently been a judge in a panel at Social Innovation Fast Pitch, a competition for up and coming nonprofit companies to vie for funding. The winner was (an easy pick, according to my Dad) BTS Communications, a marketing agency housed within a rehab, the brainchild of John Sullivan—himself an ex-con and recovering heroin addict. Naturally, my Dad thought this might be just the place for me to spend my summer. When in doubt, simply send your young, vulnerable daughter to a rehab filled with ex cons and addicts for a few months. Right?
After my initial feelings of uncertainty, I decided to keep an open mind. I soon realized all the positives about this unique opportunity. Working in a startup, I would be able to experience first-hand how a business grows, and would be able to provide contributions and skills that well surpassed coffee and dry-cleaning runs. I instantly and without-judgment felt embraced by John and everyone who works here. As a result, I learned more about my skills, the marketing field, and myself than I feel I would have anywhere else. I am finishing my time here with stronger skills as a writer, social media strategist, and overall professional.
But what has really made my time here at BTS undoubtedly unlike any job I will probably ever have, is the people. This one-room office is filled with eclectic individuals who made every minute enjoyable, just as they now make every minute in their lives count. There is a spirit that engulfs BTS that I was not expecting to find when I walked in to start my summer. And that spirit is what I believe is making this business a success. Everyone here genuinely cares about his or her individual work and about BTS as a whole. In the end, I did get the “work experience” I was initially seeking. But resume aside, I grew from an amazing experience with an amazing group of people who are certainly destined for success.