2018 Grant Award: Olivia Gude

Interning at Bleacher Report in New York City was absolutely amazing. The company itself had a start-up culture which aloud for myself and the other seven interns to really flourish and have our ideas heard. At the very beginning I felt very welcomed. They made sure we interacted with different departments and heard from different higher-ups to really get a feel about who the company is and is trying to become.

Due to the start-up culture, I really became a team member rather than just another intern. I was doing real work such as research, buying props, working in a live studio during a taping of a livestream, and I have brainstormed ideas that have actually gone into effect now! It was extremely daunting at first but I told myself constantly that I could do whatever task given to me and also ask for help. We even had an intern project where the other interns and myself had to find a way to involve Bleacher Report with the upcoming Super Bowl. We spent weeks upon weeks researching companies to sponsor our event as well as locations and activations to do. There were challenges at times, especially with communication, but I used my leadership qualities to always steer us back on track and made sure everyone’s voice was heard. At the end of the summer we then presented it to all of the New York office and everyone absolutely loved our ideas and I think it is likely they will implement some of them.

My manager Sean also did a wonderful job connecting me with other people who are involved in careers paths I am looking into. I found that I ended up leaving Bleacher Report with several mentors for different aspects of my life. For example, I spent quite some time timecoding for the Simms and Lefkoe football podcast and got to know one of the hosts Adam Lefkoe. He is someone I know I have in my corner supporting my future endeavours as well as someone I can talk to about workplace dynamics.

Working at a place like Bleacher Report has helped me grow so much as a leader. I have learned the importance of communication, collaboration, and fluidity. No matter what was going on in any department there was always communication to the whole company about it. When workshopping ideas in our shows meeting we always were receptive to ideas and worked together to make all the ideas better. Being able to not take ourselves too seriously and go with the flow allowed for a comfortable office culture. As a leader I want to make my team feel the way I did at Bleacher Report. I want to exhibit qualities that they can look up to and want to emulate, the same way I feel now about certain mentors at Bleacher Report.

This summer has honestly taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of. I completely uprooted my life and moved to New York City on my own, buying everything I needed as I needed it. I interned at a huge media company working full time. I have met so many people along the way that have absolutely given me new insights into my life and career. Most of all, I feel I am much stronger as a leader. I am honing in on my assertiveness, confidence, charisma, and humility. All things I have found are important through working at Bleacher Report.

None of this would have been possible without the people and organizations who believed in me. This especially includes the PLA and all those associated with it. Everyone pushes me to think bigger and go for the things and experiences I want.