Throughout my summer working at ProsperUs I was constantly challenged to see things from a different perspective and delve into analytical as well as creative work. I have taken away so much from interacting with a diverse group of people and being put on such a wide variety of projects. Although everything was virtual, I found that everyone I interacted with was supportive, willing to collaborate, and treated me as a coworker.
Right off the bat, I learned a lot about my working style. My partner Lara and I were a dynamic duo: we met almost every day with our supervisor and many times outside that. Unlike many of my other experiences, accountability was paramount. I had many late nights where I was unmotivated to transfer data into Salesforce or do research for our community resource guide, yet, I knew that I needed to get the work done or it would bottleneck my partner, my supervisor, and sometimes the entire ProsperUs team. Many times, the work wasn’t glamorous, but having supportive people around me that were always open to helping or answering questions made the work so much better. Being collaborative with peers, bosses, and the whole company have taught me many lessons about perseverance, asking when unsure, and reading through the lines to see the importance of my work.
Secondly, I really came to understand how a company should work. Although ProsperUs is relatively small, I found everyone I worked with was always willing to help and truly had an interest to learn more about me and the work I had. From sitting in on lending meetings to having get to know you’s with each member of the team, I really felt at home with ProsperUs, like I had worked there for years. In any future job, I am confident I will be able to recognize a stable and healthy working environment while also being aware when conditions aren’t right.
Many times during work, I hesitated to make a recommendation to the team, my supervisor, or my partner, worrying that I would be giving someone unwanted advice. One of the most important things I learned in our cohort meetings on nonprofit consulting was the harm that can be done when you tell people what’s wrong without incorporating solutions or recommendations. Whether I was working with Lara analyzing surveys, or talking with entrepreneurs, I was always mindful of giving advice without a backup to my claim. Just because I thought that something was right for the company or project, didn’t mean it actually was. It was crucial for me to be extremely careful to show people why what I was saying was the most beneficial or the right way for something to be done. Many times, I had to stop myself from commenting or recommending something because I wasn’t fully sure that it was the right option. Whether I go into consulting, startups, or any industry really, it is crucial that I have substantiated recommendations that can withstand criticism.
ProsperUs, it was amazing and life-changing to work with you all. I am so amazed by everyone's passion for helping their community. I have learned so much from the way each of you work and I hope we can meet at some point to see Detroit. Lara, we are a powerhouse and the #1 group, thank you for making this experience so great. Everyone at DukeEngage, thank you so much for providing such an amazing virtual internship, I am so glad that I was able to be a part of this.