Wow! That’s the word that came to my mind when I was typing up this post. Honor’s intern hustle journey is impressive, to say the least. Across undergrad at George Washington University and now law school at Howard University, she has gained experience from seven different internships. I love how she shares exactly how she got each one of her internships and how she found confidence by asserting herself more as time went on. A lot of insights in this one. Read on to learn more about Honor’s extensive internship experience, including an internship with The White House.
Name: Honor Williams
Education: The George Washington University, Major: Communication / Minor: Sociology, 2015 & Howard University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2019
Did you have a dream job or specific career path in mind when you started college? If yes, what was it?
Yes, I knew since middle school that I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer.
What internship(s) were a part of your Intern Hustle?
- October 2011 – August 2012: Council of the District of Columbia
- June 2014 – August 2014: American Psychological Association
- June 2014 – December 2014: The Donne Belle Agency
- January 2016 – May 2016: The White House
- June 2017 – May 2018: The Recording Academy
- January 2018 – May 2018: Senator Cory A. Booker
- June 2018 – August 2018: Viacom
How did you get your internship(s)?
- Council of the District of Columbia: I hand delivered my application to the Office of Youth Programs at DC City Council.
- American Psychological Association: applied online.
- The Donne Belle Agency: applied through GW job posting site
- The White House: applied online
- The Recording Academy: followed instructions from job posting for a different position. I interviewed for a GRAMMYU representative position; however, I did not receive that position. My interviewers were so impressed that they offered me the internship instead.
- Senator Cory A. Booker: met a member of his staff at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference and kept in touch. When the office was looking for a press intern for the following semester, he forwarded my resume along.
- Viacom: applied online.
Name the top three highlights from your Intern Hustle.
- My top highlight was being able to help with the Nordic State Dinner during my internship at The White House. President Obama invited leaders from the five Nordic countries to The White House for an arrival ceremony and state dinner. I informed my supervisor about a week before the event that I would be interested in assisting; however, she did not know if I would be able to help. On the night before the event, at about 7:00pm, I was informed that I would be able to assist with the guests’ reception prior to the dinner. I ran out that night and bought an evening gown. I got my nails done the morning of and went to work. At work, I was excited ALL day. The arrival ceremony that morning was cancelled because of the rain. My office received the guest list for the dinner about an hour before guests were set to arrive. I changed into my evening gown and my supervisor walked me through West Wing over to the East Wing. The other interns, my supervisor, and I took photos in the East Wing (The East Wing is where the First Lady’s office is housed) and walked down to the tent outside. The dinner was held in a massive tent set up on the South Lawn of The White House. Mrs. Obama’s office received a private tour of the venue. I also saw the Trolleys, which were going to be used to carry guests from inside The White House to the tent on the South Lawn. After the tour, the other interns and I proceeded to the State Dining Room, where the guests were waiting. My task was take the celebrity guests’ belongings prior to them taking a photo with the President and First Lady because they could not have their phones when meeting with the President. I was able to talk to almost every guest there! After all the welcome reception, the guests proceeded to the South Lawn. The interns and other staff and I had our own version of the state dinner in the Navy Mess (a dining facility next to The Situation Room). Interns were unable to sit in the Navy Mess so we took our meals to-go (in White House official to-go boxes). We walked back through The White House back to The East Wing and ate in the Calligraphy Office.
- My second top highlight was working the last White House Easter Egg Roll during the Obama administration. I woke up at 3:00am. to get to The White House by 4:30a.m. When I arrived, it was pitch black outside and it pouring down raining. The ground was wet and muddy. As the sun rose, it stopped raining and guest started to arrive at 7:00am. As the day continued, I was able to sit inside the VIP section next to the stage, which included better meals and places to sit . When the second group of guest arrived, all the surprise celebrity guests arrived including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Anthony Anderson, and Lala Anthony. In the afternoon, Mrs. Obama ran a race around The White House complex with the kids. Seeing all the children’s smiles all day was the best part of the experience.
- My third top highlight was attending the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. I got to stand in the mosh pit in the stage for the show. It was literally our own personal party for the evening!
What is one of the biggest challenges you faced during an internship and what did you learn from it?
One of the biggest challenges I face during my internship with Senator Cory Booker was asking to be included on projects. During my internship, I would always stay at my desk, remain silent during meetings, and only complete tasks I was given. I was too shy to ask to work on other projects or events that I was interested in because I did not want to seem aggressive or to step out of an intern’s place. As time progressed, I was told by several people in the office that I needed to speak up and assert myself more in meetings and when asking for more work to do. The longer I was there, the more confidence I gained. I learned to be more confident and assertive in the workplace and in stating what I want to accomplish in my career.
What is the most unexpected skill you gained from an internship?
The most unexpected skill I gained was the ability to adapt and thrive in uncomfortable situations.
What internship advice do you have for college students?
Be strategic in your career. Create a career goal and make a plan to achieve that goal. Follow the paths of people you admire. Apply to positions that help you progress towards your goal.
Did your desired career path shift at all based on your internship experience(s)? If yes, in what way?
As a result of my internship, I have become more interested in working on a campaign and working in policy. I learned how it important making a social impact was in my career. Now, I seek out positions that enable me to incorporate social justice initiatives into my role.
Were you offered a job as a result of your Intern Hustle? Tell us about it!
I was offered a position as a result of another intern I worked alongside during my internship at The White House. A fellow intern turned down a roll to work on the 2016 presidential campaign but he referred me to the person that hired him and I received the job!
And for the final question…What’s your party trick?
I have become known as the one-person card committee. I always give people I work with handwritten thank-you cards. For my professors at school, I always buy a thank-you card for the whole class to sign.
(I’m a thank you card person, so yes girl!)
If you’re interested in learning more about internship opportunities with Honor’s most recent company, Viacom, you can check out their careers page here.
Do you have a #myinternhustle story to share? Or do you know someone else who does? Email me and I’ll send you the details on how you can apply to be featured.