Whatever It Takes

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Before coming to Cleveland and beginning my internship with Flashstarts, I heard a number of jarring things about the city. Now that I’m here, I realize that they all couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cleveland is bursting with a determined energy, and the slogans for the beloved Cleveland Cavaliers echo this excitement. The saying “Whatever it takes” is plastered everywhere, and  “Believeland” captures the real heart of the city.

Clevelanders are hard workers that move with purpose and have pride in the future of their city. There’s a new life in the city that everyone is continuing to build on. There is an air of steady optimism, and this culture seeps into the lives of Flashstarts interns.

The first week really makes you question what you signed up for, and it is certainly unlike any other internship I’ve ever had. You are given a task, and no matter your skill set or what you’re doing you need to get it done–whatever it takes. You are constantly being thrown new challenges. Often things don’t work or need to be redone. But eventually something gives. It feels incredibly rewarding because you are actually contributing to the growth of a company. You have to think on your feet and be creative, almost like a game.

In this environment, no day is exactly the same. If you are ever short on work, there’s always another interesting project waiting for you around the corner.  Although you are given specific tasks, the structure of your day up to you. So far I have been lucky to work with three incredible start-ups, and in working for each of them, I have been put to the test.

In addition to being challenged, I can definitely say that I have been inspired. It’s been formative as a budding entrepreneur to watch how seasoned CEOs operate, think, and move from an idea to something tangible. As an intern for a Flashstarts startup, you need to move at the same speed. You need to move fast and learn even faster.

I have had to learn about patents and how to write them. I have had to conduct interviews, create guides, and develop strategies. There is no one holding your hand, but if you face a challenge you have an incredible team to fall back on.

Every morning we have a “scrum,” a rugby term we use for our team huddle. We go over what tasks we need to accomplish and potential challenges we may face. As a Flashstarts intern, there is nothing you have to weather alone, especially if you need help. We’re all open to teaching each other about our areas of expertise, and helping others with the areas they struggle with. If you are a day ahead of someone in learning something, you’re an expert here and can teach what you know. I learn something new about my peers every day, and I never cease to be amazed by our incredible brainpower and talent.

I have no idea what the rest of my summer holds, but I know that I can and will be ready for it–whatever it takes!

Gailyn Gabriel graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Oberlin College. She currently works as a Generalist Intern at Flashstarts.

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