By John Cogswell
When people ask me what I do at my internship with The Clorox Company, my answer might surprise them. I’m not filing papers all day, leading projects no one else wants, or going on coffee runs. Instead, I am responsible for writing stories for the company’s intranet, quarterly newsletter and annual report. I’ve toured manufacturing facilities, attended training sessions for Clorox employees, participated in the company’s community outreach efforts and even shared a lunch with CEO Don Knauss.
Yeah, I’m glad to say I haven’t had a typical internship experience. During the past three summers, I have interned with the Corporate Communications department of The Clorox Company, building my professional portfolio and gaining valuable work experience.
I started interning with the Corporate Communications department in May of 2011 after finishing my freshman year of college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. During that first summer, I worked directly under Kathryn Caulfield, the company’s executive vice president of Global Corporate Communications, who went out of her way to ensure my internship was a meaningful experience. From the beginning, individuals around the company showed such willingness to teach me about their work responsibilities, which made every day interesting because I was constantly learning about different areas of the business. Plus, my assignments were more than just “busy work” intended to keep me occupied. In my first couple months with the company, I was writing feature stories for the company’s intranet, which communicates information to thousands of Clorox employees worldwide. With each assignment, Kathryn and others in the department worked with me to improve my writing skills, increase my knowledge of the company and ultimately grow my skills as a professional communicator.
Two years later, my manager and coworkers continue to invest themselves in my professional growth, encouraging me to ask questions, take on new projects and participate fully in team meetings. It’s a great feeling coming to my internship every day knowing I’m a valued team member expected to make meaningful contributions. Additionally, every day is exciting because I never know what new opportunities or challenges might present themselves!
It’s crazy to think in less than a year I will be entering the “real world.” While I don’t know where I will end up after graduation, I am certain my time with the company has prepared me well for the start of my career. Already, my internship is serving me well in classes at TCU because I have real-world experience that I apply to projects assigned by my professors. Through the Clorox internship program, I have not only gained quality work experience and a great portfolio, but also a strong confidence in my ability as a professional communicator.
Looking back, I’m proud to have interned with a company that challenged me to grow and trusted me with work that really matters.
John Cogswell is a senior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, pursuing a degree in strategic communications with a minor in business. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, playing tennis and spending time in Lake Tahoe with his family.