JENKINTOWN — The Communication Solutions Group celebrated its 100th intern by catching up with former interns to see how the experience has impacted their professional lives.
Many former interns have found success after their internships at the agency, and the agency prides itself on the experience it offers interns.
The agency’s passion for helping young people by way of internships stems from its president, Leza Raffel.
Raffel had a series of dismal internships during her college years, which caused her to make the internships at her public relations firm more meaningful.
“I travelled all the way to CNN in Atlanta only to learn that my primary internship responsibility was opening the mail,” Raffel said.
At another summer internship, Raffel spent her time buying snacks for clients.
When Raffel started her own public relations firm, she made sure interns felt useful and respected.
Interns of the agency take photos, assist with graphic design, create content for social media and draft press releases for pro bono clients.
Raffel has continued this for 28 years, allowing many interns to benefit from their time at Communication Solutions Group.
Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Mike Sielski, Internal Communication Consultant Cara Levy and Temple University Law School student Morgan Schwartz are all former interns of Communication Solutions Group.
Sielski was one of the first interns at Communication Solutions Group in 1994. The firm only had two employees at the time.
“There was a big book of addresses and phone numbers of all the newspapers in the area and I would have to go through that to send out all the press release mailings,” Sielski said.
The now-journalist Sielski did not want to go into the PR industry, but he said that the experience helped him in other aspects of communication.
The internship “taught (him) what goes into getting someone interested in something,” Sielski said.
Like Sielski, Levy was an early intern at the agency in 1997, and she values what the internship did for her.
“Being able to have a portfolio of actual work from the internship opened all the doors for (me)” Levy said.
Schwartz, a more recent intern of Communication Solutions Group, worked in a higher tech setting than the interns who preceded her, as she was there in 2013.
The Upper Dublin High School grad interned with the firm before college, which allowed her to be professional at a young age.
Schwartz learned how to interview, read and write professionally, and interact with clients during her internship.
“Take advantage of all the resources and experiences you get. Learning how to interact with clients and staff members will take you far,” Schwartz said.
These former interns of Communication Solutions Group have made the most of their experience.
Raffel wants her interns to know that “there shouldn’t be any constraints to prevent you from doing whatever you want to do,” and that “an internship is a safe space to try something you had no idea you were capable of doing without fear of failure.”