A Post from Public Policy Intern Megan Sherard
Tuesday, October 1, 2013on
This post, "Through the Eyes of an Intern" was written by our Summer/Fall 2013 intern Megan Sherard. A senior at Clemson University studying Communications and native of Belton, SC, Megan has proven to be a great addition to our Team. -Mark Cothran When I first started interning for Elizabeth and Mark in the Public Policy department, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce seemed a big, scary place. As a Clemson University student, I had spent the previous Spring semester interning at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce where, on occasion, I would be the only one in the office! However, after only a day I was put at ease and excited about a summer full of leaping new hurdles. Elizabeth and Mark did not disappoint. I learned invaluable lessons from them both, partially by solving my own tasks, but in large part by simply watching them work. Most importantly, I learned the absolute necessity for an open line of communication and the true value of transparency. I was shocked by the sheer amount of communication that exists both in-house and externally. In one summer I would sit in on everything from a meeting between the Chamber and local businesses, to a meeting with state legislators, to a meeting between other chambers as part of the Upstate Chamber Coalition. To most effectively facilitate economic development within Greenville, I learned that the Chamber works intimately with not only the city, but other cities as well. Through projects like the Intercommunity Leadership Visit, Greenville business leaders will have the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of the brightest innovators in Pittsburgh. When in-house communication flows freely and outside communication expands nationwide, everyone benefits. Through this open communication comes transparency. I’ve learned from Elizabeth and Mark that very rarely (if ever) is work done behind closed doors. Even in the planning stages of new projects, they bounce ideas off of each other and other involved parties. They both make themselves open and available and are always very clear about exactly what they’ve been working on. Through their social media outlets, weekly updates on their Upstate Chamber Coalition webpage, and grassroots networking efforts, they keep members engaged and themselves accounted for. They work tirelessly to keep their information accessible by also meeting face-to-face with legislators as well as other members of the Upstate Chamber Coalition. Discussions between members of the Legislative Issues Committee ensure that everyone is informed and aware of current issues and topics. As lobbyists, if their goal is to bring about a positive change in Columbia, Elizabeth and Mark lead by example. As I make plans to graduate in May, I keep in mind these lessons I’ve learned from my time interning over the past three months. I know as I graduate, I will continue to keep communication and transparency in the forefront of my mind so that it positively guides the overall quality of my work.