By Daniella Mohazab, Clorox IT Intern
First things first, I am a Communication major interning in the Clorox IT department.
When I told my peers at the University of Southern California that I applied for (and accepted) an internship program in a Fortune 500 IT department they laughed. I’m not sure whether it was with me or at me.
I laughed because it was completely out of line from my course of study so far. I’ve taken media communication courses, marketing courses, entrepreneurship courses and, thankfully, an economics course. But I was convinced to try out this internship by Kate Grasman, a director in the Clorox IT department. Kate told me the Clorox IT internship program isn’t only for engineering majors, that I have the education and knowledge to hold my own and grow within the program. So this summer, I’m working as one of two IT Project Coordinator interns at The Clorox Company.
After my first day, I quickly realized that my education did, in fact, prepare me for the program. I also realized I would be supported and taught by my managers here.
A professional education
I work with the finance team within the IT department. Before coming to Clorox, I had no idea each department has its own finance team: lesson number one. I work under two exceptional leaders, Carol Wright and Tiffany Gann. Both Carol and Tiffany have guided me through the department’s financial processes.
My first task was making a calendar for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. (I had no idea before this what a fiscal year was — lesson one-and-a-half.) My managers used this experience to teach me about the finance department structure and also the software it uses to track finances.
After completing the financial calendar, Carol and Tiffany brought me onto a new project: designing a dashboard for business relations developers to easily view and analyze their current, past and future spending. This larger project has pushed me to understand deeper aspects of IT department finances — how to look, organize and analyze them. The project also uses my communication skills to present data in a precise way for project managers, as well as my new finance abilities.
The Clorox IT internship program gives all interns a “buddy.”
I’m lucky mine is Sergio Hernandez. He took me to Clorox’s Oakland headquarters (I’m based in Pleasanton, California), toured the building with me and introduced me around. Because Sergio is a member of VetNet, the Clorox employee resource group for military veterans and supporters, he’s a social butterfly with friends everywhere.
He arranged for me to sit down with a member of the design team and a member of the marketing team who explained to me how they design and market Fresh Step® cat litter, my favorite Clorox product — after Clorox® disinfecting wipes, of course.
The internship program has also fostered relationships among the IT interns.
We’re working on a group project in which everyone has a role that showcases his or her skills, and which we’ll present to senior folks in the IT department. This project so far has offered us all insight into how to work with other people, especially people we’ve just met, and how to create a strong project with them.
Growing beyond the work
The Clorox internship program holds events for the interns.
One of these introduced us to a number of members from the Clorox executive team, including CEO Benno Dorer, CFO Steve Robb and CMO Eric Reynolds, as well as senior vice presidents. We enjoyed an open discussion with them about career advice and how they lead the company with such a strong people focus. This was a rare and eye-opening experience. Never would I have thought that as a corporate intern, at a company so large, I would have the opportunity to sit down with top executives.
This internship at Clorox has pushed me to grow as a student and as a member of a team. This company values each team member and prides itself on inclusion. I have experienced for myself the strong company culture and can vouch for why Benno Dorer is the most-admired CEO (according to job site Glassdoor).
Benno told us interns that being a leader is about the team not about one’s self. He selflessly runs Clorox to meet its business goals while ensuring the wellbeing of employees.
I feel lucky to have this experience, especially as a student still in college, and to learn from employees of a loving and successful company.