By Meghan Cooney
LaSalle University, Class of 2024
Walking into your first internship you can be filled with many emotions and questions. What’s the workplace going to be like? What are the people going to be like? What will I be doing? Will I be good enough? Am I ready for this? Walking into Communications Solutions Group, or CSG as it later became known to me, immediately soothed all those fears and worries that a new intern might be feeling.
As a rising senior at La Salle University, getting an internship was critical to my professional journey. But little did I know that CSG’s internship would provide me with the experience, guidance, and overall environment that would give me the confidence to continue my journey in the public relations world.
Here at CSG, we have a very specific clientele; we mainly deal with fire departments, school districts, and municipalities. The majority of our clients, however, are fire departments, which is a group that I never really thought of needing a PR team. As my time at CSG went on, I realized just how important PR is to helping fire departments gain volunteers, promote events, and raise funds. Many fire departments in our area rely on volunteers and have done so for over 100 years.
On my second day here at CSG, I had the opportunity to go on a live drone video shoot for Deptford Fire Department. This was such an amazing day, unlike anything I had ever had the opportunity to go on, and I could not be more grateful that our Social Media Specialist Jessica Lis let me tag along for the day. On this shoot, we traveled to over five different fire companies in the area to get different shots of the stations, volunteers, and apparatuses. I remember setting up the shots at the various companies and thinking about how much detail went into each shot. Jess and the entire CSG team there that day were determined to make everything perfect so we could provide the best content to help their fire department on the path to recruiting volunteers. I knew then that this company was something special; from my very first day here at CSG, I have seen nothing but relentless dedication to helping our clients and making sure that everything we provide for them is of the highest quality.
Throughout the rest of my journey here at CSG, I have been tasked with many different projects. Someone asked me many months ago what my favorite part of studying communications is. Was it writing, graphic design, or editing? I could not give them an honest answer because I enjoy doing all three. Here at CSG, I had the opportunity to put my love and knowledge of all three to use. Some projects I worked on included writing up press releases and volunteer spotlights, editing together reels, and designing many graphics for social media. I got to watch as all my little projects contributed to a bigger part of many different campaigns.
The one campaign that I held very near and dear to my heart while at CSG is the new Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company campaign. This one is special to me because I got to see the beginning steps to get it off the ground. I had the opportunity to travel all the way down to Ship Bottom, New Jersey, with CSG’s President Leza Raffel to assist her in the company’s first visioning session. Here I got to hear from Ship Bottom’s current volunteers about the company, what makes it so special, and why people should volunteer. From there we were able to work with them to create a brand, a website, and recruitment content to help them on their journey. I was lucky enough to have a hand in most of this process, creating media lists, writing website copy and a press release announcing the campaign, and more. To see the process of one of our campaigns from the very beginning was an amazing experience that I will forever be thankful to be a part of.
From the moment I stepped into the office that Monday morning in June, I knew I was in the right place. I was immediately welcomed by all the lovely, professional, hardworking women who all excelled in their own individual fields in the office each and every day. From the beginning of my first day to my last, our Public Relations and Marketing Manager Kellie Dietrich was always there, providing me with a helping hand. With each new project, I would receive critiques or comments that would help improve my work and provide me with new lessons and information. The advice, experience, and new informative lessons I received from this internship are priceless, and I cannot thank CSG enough for this amazing experience. To Leza, Kellie, Jess, Cassie, and Linda, thank you for helping me believe in myself and for welcoming me into the CSG family. I will miss our Monday morning meetings more than you will know. Communications Solutions Group will always be the company that provided me with a steppingstone into the professional world and for that, I will be forever grateful.