By Penton Oliver & Cam Koeneman
TLG Summer Interns
Cam Koeneman – Marketing & Communication Summer Intern
Throughout this summer, I had the pleasure of being an intern at the Turknett Leadership Group (TLG) in Atlanta, Georgia. An important life goal of mine since I was little is to always strive for excellence and to learn from those around me. At TLG, I have been able to familiarize myself with the office atmosphere and learn of the daily operations of what makes a successful team successful. I have been able to surround myself with a crew that always pushes me to exceed my potential and to push beyond.
One notable thing I particularly enjoyed during my time here at TLG was applying my marketing knowledge and advertising skills to the real world. In my time at the University of Georgia, I have taken extensive coursework in graphic design. Being able to take all the hours of hard work I put in at the university and to utilize it to help orchestrate the social media of a company was an incredibly rewarding experience. It was always a challenge to help create thought provoking information, to generate attention grabbing thumbnails, and to design the graphics for the posts. It allowed me to gain a formidable understanding of how to generate interest and the steps necessary to achieve excellence.
Working on the team to create our weekly For What It’s Worth video series was an amazing experience as well. My knowledge regarding video design was relatively limited albeit I had extended experience with Adobe Photoshop & Adobe InDesign. I was able to apply the familiarity of the two relatively similar programs to transition me over to newer software. I was able to gain more insight as to what makes a video capture an audience. Whether it was taking a more humorous approach with unorthodox graphics or stretching my creativity to make the project more unique from its counterparts, it was always a fun challenge to take on each week. I enjoyed watching the gradual improvement in quality of the videos from week to week as I continued to push and apply the skills taught to me from others in the office.
I am exceptionally thankful to have been able to intern under Jonathan “JP” Palombo, TLG’s Marketing Manager. JP was an excellent mentor and daily would take the time to ensure that I had the tools to succeed. He helped me gain a better understanding of the analytical section of marketing and how to utilize GoogleMyBusiness to recognize trends in the marketplace. On the creative side, JP taught me the foundations of building effective social media posts, video design, and to always expand upon my limits. He always took the time to ensure I was on the right track and to guide me to excellence. He is a wonderful mentor, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have learned under him.
Penton Oliver – Sales and Business Development Intern
As my eight-week internship with TLG concludes, I have quite a bit to be thankful for, and even more people to thank. Seeing where I stand in life’s (unpromised) timeline has allowed me to stop and smell the roses for a bit, and really appreciate what it means to make a commitment. Not a commitment to get into a desired university or finish a semester with all A’s… but a commitment to an organization and lifestyle that would provide real discipline and accountability for later life responsibility.
I met most of the office for the first time during my interview with Tino, the President and CEO, in early January. I must admit the quality of the building itself was enough to intimidate me that day, but I’d soon find out my personal office space would mock the “collaboration rooms” and cubicles that so many of my college counterparts are stuck in right now. With a brave face, I answered a series of questions and scenarios from the team and couldn’t help but feel more welcomed with each passing minute. Barbara, the Chief Administrator, Eve, the Chief Technology Officer, and Kathy, VP of Operations, especially, demonstrated what the office comradery was like behind the scenes, and I felt that Tino and JP, the Marketing Manager, did their best to keep straight faces for fifteen minutes or so. With that said, I’ve had the pleasure of observing productive teamwork in its finest form for the better part of two months now, and I’m extremely grateful to say I played some part in it.
Hitting the ground running was something I had to get used to, in terms of understanding what exactly TLG does, and having efficient brain power before 9am (thanks Keurig). I’m glad that selling ChiefSpace™, a development program TLG launched for Chiefs of Staff, was one of my very first assignments because it taught me the importance of sincerity and thoughtfulness when reaching out to potential clients and showed me the brutal truth in cold calling by any means of communication… people probably don’t want to hear from you.
This would prepare me for some of my bigger challenges that involved generating leads for Tino on a weekly basis… which would prove to be exponentially harder when you don’t have an “in” with a desired prospect or if said prospect last used their email in 2012… ha. Every conference room meeting I got to attend was such a joy, just picturing myself as a clueless freshman in high school now sitting between two people breathing life into a new successful startup. Tino and Tim Huff, VP of Leadership Development, are two of the most effective communicators I’ve ever seen in action, and it’s easy to see why people so heavily grounded in their work don’t need to act superficial just to make a sale or get a certain message across. I’m sure experience helps, but the sense of composure and authenticity that resonates from both in high stakes situations is truly something special.
I’d have to say one of my favorite projects was putting together the Leadership Lessons from Marvel presentation and booth for SOAHR 2022. I can’t thank Eve enough for turning my simple coaster idea into visually appealing collectibles for everyone in the audience. Barbara and Kathy have truly been a blessing, helping me out with any predicament I managed to find myself in, and they were consistent visitors in a corner of the office that saw hardly any unless a printer was required. Just one look at their Outlook calendars was enough for me to google the annual salary of a full-time fishing guide… and it made me appreciate the sphere of operations that much more.
JP and Cam, my fellow intern, were much needed, and probably the most relatable to in terms of age and sharing an overall love for sports. Sometimes I’d stand right between their doors and say something ridiculous about baseball/basketball to one of them in hopes of the other over-hearing it and retaliating with some genius opinion of their own. Simple interactions like these that have made my time here feel so special, and the added attention I receive from such a small office is gravy.
Throughout my internship with TLG, I’ve made sacrifices, gained confidence, failed, excelled, matured, collaborated, meshed with a team, and most importantly… left a better person than I entered. I cannot believe I made it here by 8:30 every day… but I guess the week is not over yet! To Tino and the rest of the office, thank you all so much for letting me share these eight weeks with you. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a half.