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Maria-Cecilia Walker-Genovese

September 25, 2022

Hey there!

My name is Maria-Cecilia, but you can call me MC. I am tbk’s Associate Intern for the September – December 2022 period, so keep scrolling to read more about my experience!

Week 1 – Logged In

My first day being a part of the tbk team had finally come. I woke up two hours before my start time, just so I could be extra prepared for the day. Although I was extremely nervous, as soon as I got on the Google Meets call with Dana Buxcey, Account Strategist & Operations Manager, I immediately felt a wave of relief. Not only was she so sweet and welcoming, but she also kept reassuring me that everything was okay and that there was no need to be nervous.

Jumping straight in, I received the rundown on my intern onboarding, and a brief overview of the programs that are crucial to the team such as Asana, Tettra, Gitlab, Slack, and Time Harvest. Although these programs seemed daunting at first, within the first two days I was able to get a good understanding of how they all work.

Fast forward to 10:30 am, it was my time to meet the team! Every day, they have the daily stand-up, a casual (but crucial!) fifteen-minute meeting, where everyone talks about their tasks completed from the day before, and their tasks to be done for the day. Here, I was given the warmest welcome by my colleagues, as they went around the call introducing themselves. Already within my first day, I felt like I was a part of the team!

After all the introductory items were checked off the to-do list, we quickly shifted gears to talk about their clients and current projects that I would be working with. To name a few, Harrison Pensa, Jiffylube, and One Ironshore were all companies that I was briefed on. Once I understood the companies, I was introduced to the types of tasks I would be working on for each project.

Although my first week was slightly overwhelming with a lot of information, I feel even more excited and prepared to keep building my knowledge on the ins and outs of digital marketing. What better way to learn, than by learning from the best?

Week 2 – Getting into the Groove

After finishing a majority of the intern onboarding and shadowing both Nish Paryani, Account Associate, and Dana Buxcey, Strategist and Acting Operations Manager, I was given some of my tasks this week (which was exciting – and scary!).

One of the tasks was for our client, JiffyLube. Since customer feedback and satisfaction is extremely important for their company, I was given the task of responding to their Google Review comments. Similarly, tbk values keeping their audience updated with exciting news and blogs on their website. Another task consisted of uploading content onto their WordPress CMS and ensuring it was ready to be published! Being given the task of uploading a press release onto the website allowed me to learn more about the importance of things such as search engine optimization (SEO) and meta descriptions. Check out the press release I uploaded – Melissa McInerney Appointed to Techalliance Board of Directors.

I also took part in a handful of exciting meetings. One was directed by Ashley Poole, Associate Production Designer, where she walked a handful of the tbk team through Figma, editing software used by our creative team. Additionally, I shadowed Nish in a one-on-one with Melissa McInerney, our CEO and Chief Creative Officer, discussing one of our internal tbk projects – social media strategy. Already with this 40-minute meeting, I saw our own CEO’s brilliant mind at work; how she explained and further developed our existing ideas for the project proved to be successful, as it left both me and Nish on the right path to continue expanding our ideas.

Although this week was scary being thrown into projects that relied on my work, it was extremely rewarding to physically see what I produced, on pages such as Google and tbk’s website!

Week 3: Trial and Error

This week was hectic but realistic. I shadowed Nish Paryani, Account Associate, throughout the week, and I got to see first-hand how things may not always go according to plan. Throughout one of our onboarding meetings, she received a couple “911” emails and notifications about pressing client concerns. She took it as a learning experience, walked me through it, and showed me how to deal with similar situations. Can I just say, she dealt with it like a champ – and fixed it in no time!

I shadowed Nish in another meeting for AODA Online, regarding one of their email marketing campaigns. With this client, they use WebFlow instead of WordPress, so I also was able to gain an understanding of how the two differ and how to work my way around the website – although, I can attest that there was some experimentation involved.

Near the end of the week, I was mainly focused on content uploading. I had loaded content onto Legate’s new website, as well as another press release for tbk (check it out here!). An exciting new project popped up, so I was added in with Karleigh Macapagal, tbk Intern, and Mahya Ghadiri, Digital Project Manager. The three of us were handed the task of uploading content onto the new website created for the client, My Big Yellow Bus (it is currently in the works, so stay tuned!).

Although this week didn’t go according to plan with emergency 911s, deadlines, and working through trial and error, it all worked out in the end. Here are my two big lessons from the week:

(1)  Things won’t always go according to plan – but that’s okay!

(2)  Learn how to adapt to change. Change isn’t bad – it keeps your mind open to new ideas and forces you to keep improving.

Week 4: Helping Hands

Phew! Where do I begin? This week was busy, to say the least. On Monday, I met up with Mahya Ghadiri, a tbk Account Manager, who gave me another brief rundown on WordPress to make sure I was ready to start uploading content.

Tuesday consisted of some internal meetings and learning opportunities. Earlier in the day, I was assigned the task of transcribing an educational video, which consisted of a lot of acronyms (like WPM, CMS & PHP). Once the transcript was finished, I got on a call with the account manager, Dana, and she answered all of my questions. This is just one example of how great the team is. They will walk me through and explain every little bit of information to me to make sure I understand what’s going on. These small acts make a huge difference!

Tuesday also consisted of learning more about the WordPress platform. I was given my first page to upload onto the My Big Yellow Bus website – and let’s just say it is harder than it looks. I found myself getting frustrated with my work, but I kept reminding myself that I am learning this all from scratch. Since there are more pages to create for this project, I’m sure that by the end of it I’ll be a master at creating WordPress pages.

On Thursday, I was assigned two new tasks. First, Ovy Ohioze, our Digital Specialist, brought me into a huddle regarding Heeman’s. This consisted of checking URLs and making sure that those that were out-of-date were given a redirect (so old URLs were redirected to new pages instead of receiving error messages). Then, I attended a brainstorming session with Dana & Jess, and although I can’t say too much, I’d recommend you go follow our Instagram page @tbkcreative to see some exciting new initiatives within the next few weeks (hint: maybe a holiday season giveaway?!).

Lastly, I was given the task to update tbk’s website. Some of the statistics and information are out-of-date, so I’m working through different tabs and sections to ensure everything is kept clean and accurate to give our clients the best possible experience on our website!

Week 5: Out of Office

This week was much more hands-off in comparison with other weeks. Not only was Monday Thanksgiving, but I also had some personal events to attend to (a family reunion in Vermont and my sister’s graduation!). As a result, tbk encouraged me to work more remotely. Normally I would be plugged in and on-call throughout the day, but this week consisted of mainly catch-up time, where I focused on completing tasks that had already been assigned to me and I hadn’t had enough time to finish. All in all, I finished a large portion of the work assigned – so I would call it a success!

Some pre-existing work that I had to finish consisted of updating tbk’s website (as mentioned in last week’s journal entry). However, I was still given some new tasks to complete. One new task was for the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC). tbk has been working with this client on updating and revamping their website. To ensure that the website is working properly, I conducted rigorous testing by going through all pages, testing all buttons and tabs, and more to make sure it is perfect before being released live.

Additionally, Kate Veinot, tbk’s Senior Integrated Strategist, handed me another task of updating a Tettra with Industry Benchmarks from the year 2022. This document consisted of statistics and numbers concerning things such as mobile vs. desktop traffic by industries (i.e., media industry, pharmaceuticals, fashion, etc.). Although this was a simple task, by looking through these documents, I was learned new lingoes such as First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Although short, this week was no less productive than other previous weeks. tbk continues to teach and provide important resources for me to improve and grow within the industry!

Week 6: Seeing it Through

This week consisted of a lot of work for My Big Yellow Bus. We are starting to wrap up several tasks. Currently, most of the work is within the revision stage. This is where the account manager will suggest edits, and once completed, a senior strategist reviews it all for the final approval).

It’s exciting being able to work my way through the different stages of the website creation process. It is quite extensive and requires much collaboration between all parties involved. Working on this major project, I’ve learned a few important things to remember as I move forward in my career:

  1. Asking questions and needing help are not bad things. At the end of the day (especially as an intern), I need to remind myself that I am here to learn (and it’s okay to NOT know something). Everyone on the team is here to support me and wants me to succeed.
  2. Although sometimes it can feel like there are endless revisions, updates are actually a good thing. Working together and making adjustments when needed ensures that our team is producing only the best for our clients.
  3. Collaboration is key! Piggybacking on the first point, working together as a team is much more powerful than what we can do on our own. As they say: two heads are better than one. This way, everyone can bring their ideas and experiences to the table to make a positive impact!

There’s never a dull day working at tbk. Whether it’s the daily prep meetings or the internship checkpoints, we always do good work and get some good laughs in between, too!

Week 7: Responding to Reviews & Watching Webinars

This week consisted of a few meetings and a handful of miscellaneous tasks that needed to get done. There still were a few minor tweaks needed for the My Big Yellow Bus website, and more content uploading for OE Canada. Their website needed revisions for the descriptions and pricing of their products.

For Jiffy Lube®, one of my reoccurring weekly tasks is to respond to their Google reviews. If a negative review appears, both tbk and the specific Jiffy Lube® location work together to craft a response back to the customer. Although rare, this week there were a few negative reviews which gave me practice in crafting proper responses to complaints and negative feedback.

On Thursday, Kate Veinot, tbk’s Senior Integrated Strategist, hosted a webinar with Andre LeFort, tbk’s Vice President of Technology & Principal, in which they spoke about “How Accessible Websites Improve User Experience & Search Ranking.” This was my first tbk/AODA Online webinar and it proved to be extremely worthwhile.

The webinar went for around 40 minutes, and they left 20 minutes at the end for questions, which was an instant hit as questions kept flowing, asking them for their professional opinion on a whole variety of things (such as web accessibility rules, Google’s ranking, etc.). I highly recommend you keep an eye out for the next tbk webinar!

Week 8: Late Beginnings & New Meetings

This week was my reading week for university (woo hoo!). Since I didn’t have to attend any classes, it was especially exciting for me to be able to hop into a few meetings that I otherwise miss due to my class schedule, including the company performance update call.

The company performance meeting is for all tbk employees (or as many as can make it!), and it starts with a nice icebreaker. The icebreaker might not seem related, however, it’s a great way to have easygoing conversations with our coworkers. Afterward, Andre & Melissa, the two that run the meeting, go into detail about what the tbk team has been working on for the past week or two. This can include new clients, finished projects, or anything in between. Finally, after mentioning the fun updates, they highlight the efforts of individuals who went above and beyond in their job. Nish, one of my mentors, got a shoutout in this meeting for her work leading a website launch for Jiffy Lube®.

Listening in on this meeting gave me a big sense of pride in the company. It is evident how much everyone cares about not only their job but also each other. Celebrating and recognizing both big and small accomplishments acts as motivation for one another to keep doing what they do best!

Another meeting I was able to join was the weekly tbk managed services meeting, with Dana, Nish, Ashley, Jess & Amanda. It was a phenomenal experience for me to be able to watch and learn the dynamics of the team. It is evident that the more creative individuals tend to come up with great ideas and keep building on them. However, the more analytic and managerial individuals are the anchors within the team that help keep them on track and on-task. Both sides end up leaning on each other for different things, so it ends up balancing perfectly!

This week was a great learning experience for me as I was able to experience and witness some of tbk’s core values at play. This solidified my wants and needs for future jobs: I want to be working for a company and individuals that truly care about my well-being and want to watch me succeed, just like tbk. Similarly, the weekly managed services meeting allowed me to gain a better understanding of which position might be of interest to me in the future (whether more creative or more analytical) and allowed me to watch a healthy work group dynamic at play!

Week 9: Printing Business

Who would’ve thought I’d learn so much about Toshiba printers at a marketing internship? This week, I was put in charge of updating the Toshiba Colour and Monochrome e-Studio printer series on the OE Canada website. Here, I conducted my research about both series of printers, then wrote up unique captions and descriptions. I also had to update the photos, brochures, SEO captions, and titles for each.

Tasks such as these act as a reminder as to how something seemingly so small can make such a big difference – especially when it comes to digital marketing (with things like SEO, rankings, web traffic, and even web accessibility!). For example, adding something as small as “….-Multi-Function-Printer-Copier” at the end of the brochure PDF’s document name already adds more SEO value than before.

At the beginning of the week, tbk employees were asked to give their feedback on a ‘Great Place to Work’ survey. The survey gauges what the work environment and company are like – do employees enjoy coming to work each day? Are the employees making meaningful connections (and not purely just work-related relationships)? Seeing steps like these taken to constantly improve and receive real feedback from their employees on the business is great to see! This shows that not only does tbk make it better for their clients, but they’re dedicated to making it better for their employees too!

Week 10: New Business Ventures

A week ago, I was assigned an internal task for tbk, but due to other, more immediate tasks, it was put on the back burner. Client work always takes priority, but this week I had time to begin researching business development opportunities for tbk.

First, we broke the task down, so it didn’t appear as daunting. We started by looking at the London Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 new business achievement award recipients. Looking through this list gave us further knowledge about the new and upcoming industries and businesses within the London region. By looking through the finalists, award recipients, and their competitors, I was able to make recommendations for each regarding where they may need improvements (whether it was web design, UI/UX improvements, or other marketing initiatives).

I then began to research start-ups and companies outside of London (but still in Ontario) that also could be potential clients. I researched their LinkedIn, website, and digital marketing strategies. I also researched events and programs happening soon, which would provide valuable speaking experience or even networking opportunities.

Working my way through these business development opportunities gave me insight not only into businesses, clientele, and different industries, but also into organization management, planning, and research in the workplace. When preparing documents such as these, it’s important to keep everything concise yet thorough. One must keep in mind that the reader didn’t conduct hours of internet searching and read as many materials as I did, so what they see is what they get. Hyperlinking information, leaving descriptions and additional notes, as well as noting anything that may be important later is key!

Week 11: Website Maintenance Packages

This week was a big learning week for me. Starting strong, I was onboarded onto a new program, called Brightlocal, which is still in its testing stages. This is a program that allows companies to see all their reviews, ratings, and traffic from a different website (i.e., Google Reviews, Bing, Yelp, etc.) in one spot. We now manage Jiffy reviews in Brightlocal, where it is much more efficient to respond to a large number of reviews.

Next, I turned my focus to My Big Yellow Bus. I was able to help from start to finish when it came to the quality assurance of the new website. This entails different testing (on different technologies, such as iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows, etc.) to make sure that the website is responsive and everything works as it should before its launch date.

I began by creating the spreadsheet that will be used to record the quality assurance findings. This included questions such as, “Does the header and footer work? Is it responsive? Does it hover? Do the buttons redirect properly?” etc. Once this spreadsheet was complete, our team members began testing each page and component with different compatibilities to see its response.

Lastly, I was given a lesson on tbk’s Website Maintenance Packages. These help businesses see what things need to be improved on the backend of their websites (i.e., speed, traffic, etc.). Once the evaluation is complete, the team creates a document with web improvement recommendations. The clients are then able to pick and choose what they would like to get done. As this is one of tbk’s biggest sellers, after being onboarded on the process, I was given the task to create a new service page on the tbk website, to allow users and clients to see exactly what tbk can do for their business.

Week 12: Fine Tuning

This week was much calmer, with a focus on content uploading and the implementation of Brightlocal.

Since Brightlocal is still relatively new, occasionally the Jiffy Lube® team will come across an error or glitch, which may prevent us from completing a task. This has been a great learning experience since it shows the back-and-forth required to perfect a website as large as theirs. When we come across these issues, we make sure to follow up with the Brightlocal team, informing them of things that we’ve noticed and asking what the next steps are to correct them. Some of the weekly Jiffy Lube® tasks have consisted of updating store hours (with the holidays right around the corner!), as well as changing the promotions happening in each store on their website.

As for the content uploading, I was given the task to update tbk’s services pages with a referral component on each. These referral boxes are important because they encourage the individuals on our website to follow through and book a meeting with tbk. When an individual who is not affiliated with a company refers a friend, colleague, or family member to a company, it proves that their services and work are worthwhile. We put our trust in the people we know, and hearing success stories helps solidify the decision to do business with the business they’ve recommended. Hence, by implementing these referral boxes, we can show clients (who may not personally have a connection to tbk) that they can trust us!

Week 13: Organization is Key

It felt like I was working on something new each day this week!

Monday started with a few huddles (calls on Slack), and some more meetings (accounts and developers stand-up, sprint retro, and more internal tbk meetings). I was also given the task to write a document that included the best formats (i.e., MP4 or MOV? Resolution size? How many MB/GB? Fps?) for photos and videos for different social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Pinterest).

Tuesday consisted of uploading some content and blog posts, updating store hours, and organizing Slack groups (placing account reps, senior strategists, and digital leads on channel labels).

Wednesday had one main project: digging up as much information about buyer personas for one of our clients, Calian. This project allows for tbk to cater our work for our clients (such as newsletters, emails, marketing campaigns, etc.) more closely toward their potential customers. Without this, our work would be too general and generic, which makes it harder to connect with different demographics for businesses.

Thursday was more onboarding for Jiffy Lube®, where we created promotional boxes to later add to each Jiffy Lube® location’s website. We are switching out the promotion of tire switches to something more festive for the holidays: Jiffy Lube® gift cards! This is another example of how being more specific and keeping with the times keeps engagement high and increases business. I also had to organize the ongoing tasks in Asana by labeling them into their respective groups.

When Friday came around, I was primarily onboarding for two new projects that we’ll work on next week. The biggest one is a task regarding website maintenance. Some of our clients are due for updates, however, before we go ahead and fix the small issues, we must contact them and inform them of our recommendations and determine if they agree or decline. It’s like how our laptops and phones are consistently asking us to update to a new version; each version fixes glitches, increases speed, and allows for a more seamless user experience.

This week’s focus was organization. Keeping things tidy improves efficiency and allows for clear communication. There’s no space for misunderstandings or misplacements. Organization is the base of a successful business!

Week 14: The Final Stretch

Reflecting on this week, I’ve felt more in control than before. I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to approach more tasks with a better perspective – there’s less fear and feelings of uncertainty, and instead, those feelings have been replaced with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm to learn more.

The beginning of the week consisted of a 1-on-1 and group meetings, as well as the typical weekly tasks: responding to JiffyLube® reviews, updating holidays hours, and content uploading (just to name a few). One new task was uploading items to Tettra. Tettra is like a big, online textbook for your company. It allows businesses to upload commonly asked questions or step-by-step guides for common activities or items (i.e., how to create an Asana task, etc.). One of the managing tasks mentioned in last week’s journal was regarding website maintenance. The process that we follow is quite standard, so I was put in charge of uploading this process (with steps, guiding questions and template answers as well) to Tettra for future uses!

The latter half of the week was focused on our client, Bluewater. I had to go into both Time Harvest and Asana and create a list of tasks and time logs to match up with work that was already completed (duplicating and moving things from Excel, into the two programs).

Now the final stretch: one more week until the end of the year! Woo hoo!

Week 15: Wrapping Things Up!

As this was my final week of 2022 as tbk’s Associate Intern, I thought it would be best to wrap up the year by highlighting the things I’ve learned while working here at tbk!

  1. Be confident in yourself and your abilities—don’t sell yourself short! As I am still completing my undergraduate degree, I am just starting to break into the industry. I remember myself preparing for internship interviews, and I kept doubting myself, thinking I wasn’t qualified enough or I didn’t have enough experience. Looking back at all the work I’ve done here at tbk, I know for a fact that all those thoughts were wrong. I must remind myself that we all have different skillsets and perspectives. We all bring something valuable that no one else can bring to the workplace (I am an asset!).
  2. Work hard AND play hard. Working two jobs for the past year during school has been extremely rewarding. However, it’s easy to get burnt out and lose motivation when you get overwhelmed. Putting your heart and soul into your job is important, but making sure that you’re taking breaks, connecting with individuals, and making time for yourself is just as important! The team at tbk has made this especially clear, by always making time and accommodations for important milestones I didn’t want to miss (such as my sister’s graduation and a graduation trip to Florida).
  3. Ask questions and be curious. There is always room for improvement, no matter what stage in your career you’re in. If something comes up you haven’t learned before, go that extra mile to understand how to do it! There’s much more value in learning to do something yourself since it’ll grow your mindset and your skills.
  4. We are all human! At the end of the day, mistakes happen, we sleep through alarms, maybe forget about a meeting, or simply don’t have enough time for something. Acknowledging we all aren’t perfect and we make mistakes is an important life lesson that will follow you no matter where you go. But, most importantly, learning how to deal with these situations, and bettering yourself to become more efficient is what it’s all about!

I also wanted to give a shout-out to four incredible and inspirational women. Nishtha Paryani, Jessica Newman, Kharleigh Macapagal, and last, but certainly not least, Dana Buxcey. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with these four women, and I’ve been fortunate enough to learn so much from them. They exhibit such strength, motivation, and positivity every single day, and never fail to impress me through their attitude and work.

Aaaaand, lastly! Now seems like a good time to mention that I will be returning to tbk in the new year to continue the role of Associate Intern! Thank you to the whole tbk team for an incredible semester, and I cannot wait to see what next year holds!