There’s a lot of really cool things happening in Memphis right now. This past weekend, CodeCrew hosted its second annual hackathon for middle school students in downtown Memphis. Sponsored by the Grizzlies foundation, this year’s theme was “Memphis Pride” and attendance doubled from the previous year. CodeCrew has only been around for a year and a half, but they are already doing amazing things in Memphis.
Currently, Memphis City Schools struggle to provide adequate technology and computer science education to its students. In order to fill this need, CodeCrew has developed a program that empowers underrepresented kids in Memphis through practical, hands-on computer science training.
Volunteering at the hackathon was truly a unique experience. There were thirteen teams of three to four kids, and each team had a coach. The challenge was to create an Android app that showcased a landmark, restaurant or attraction in Memphis that could be used by locals and non-locals alike.
To add to the challenge, teams only had two days to complete the app. Let me tell you, these kids are smart. As a coach, I wish I could say that I did more; these kids really knew what they were doing. I was there to guide and answer any technical questions, but the finished product was totally theirs. After their time was up, the kids pitched their apps to the judges. The judges then selected the top three apps and those teams received prizes.
In addition to the awards, the coaches came together to select an MVP. This was a really special award, given to only one child. When the MVP was announced, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The award went to Keonia Guy, a young lady who was involved with CodeCrew all summer, but did not have a computer of her own. To aid her in her pursuit of computer science education, the MVP award came with a free laptop! It was an honor to be a part of such a great program.
More than a month after the announcement of ServiceMaster’s relocation to downtown Memphis, excitement continues to build in the community and among city leaders.
On Wednesday evening, the ServiceMaster intern group gathered at The Racquet Club of Memphis to attend a conversation with the Mayor – an event put on by the New Memphis Institute and Data Facts. Mayor Jim Strickland was met with a full house of young professionals. Of those in attendance, some were native Memphis, others were interns experiencing Memphis for the summer, and many more were simply young professionals looking to launch their careers in Memphis.
Mayor Strickland spoke about the growth that is happening in Memphis. He also highlighted the efforts to revitalize downtown, including ServiceMaster’s renovation of the iconic Peabody Place. During his talk, he thanked ServiceMaster for recognizing the potential that Memphis has to attract a younger workforce as well as recognizing Memphis as one of the leading mid-sized cities for technical growth.
ServiceMaster is excited about the future of Memphis and is excited to play a key role in the city’s continued growth.
From a native Memphian’s perspective, Mayor Strickland’s speech brought forth feelings of both great excitement and great pride. Mayor Jim Strickland’s heart has been tied to Memphis for much of his life and he is doing everything in his power to drive Memphis’ growth and development.
As Mayor, Strickland knows what needs to be done and is dedicated to being “brilliant at the basics.” If you’ve ever heard him speak, you’ll know that picking up the trash, paving the streets, and cleaning up the blight are all top priorities for Mayor Strickland. His goals are practical, his plans are clear, and his methods of implementation are working. Mayor Strickland is an incredible leader and figurehead for the city of Memphis and his work makes me excited to launch my career in my hometown of Memphis, TN.
Yesterday, ServiceMaster teamed up with the New Memphis Institute to host a panel discussion titled Leading in Memphis. The panel consisted of four key figures in the Memphis business scene; these figures were: Susan Hunsberger, SVP of HR at ServiceMaster, Jamie Smith, SVP and CIO at ServiceMaster, Terri Lee Freeman, President of the National Civil Rights Museum, and Calvin Anderson, SVP and Chief of Staff at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. Though they are not all native Memphians, each plays a key role in both their organization as well as this city.
The list below details some of the main takeaways from the panel’s discussion:
Always continue to read and never stop learning. The minute you quit reading and learning is the minute you become complacent. Learning leads to growth and growth leads to success, both for the individual and the company.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
There’s value in every job. Whether you work for a multi-billion dollar corporation or a small-town mom and pop shop, there is value in every job. There is something to be learned from every position you hold and every person you meet. Always look for the value in what you are doing and apply it to different aspects of your life.
Be intentional and diverse. Watch different news channels and learn from different sources. Become well-rounded by listening and learning from different people. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
It is okay to take risks and fail. The valleys in life are where individuals grow the most. If you are continuously successful then you can get complacent and limit the career paths that you would otherwise be able to pursue.
Memphis is intertwined and accessible, take advantage of the opportunities available to you. Memphis is a tight-knit community and there is always an opportunity for personal or professional growth.
Not being from Memphis, my roommates and I are trying our best to experience everything that this city has to offer while we are here. When we first arrived, we wrote down a bucket list of things we wanted to see and places we wanted to eat and hung it up on our fridge.
So far, these have been my top three experiences from our Memphis bucket list.
Visiting the Pyramid
On our first weekend here, my roommates and I ventured downtown to visit the Bass Pro Shop inside of the Pyramid. Even though I wouldn’t normally choose to go to a Bass Pro Shop, it was amazing to see what they had done with the space. From the fish ponds to the alligator tank and the bowling alley inside a restaurant – there were so many things to look at.
It was also well worth the 10 dollars to ride the elevator to the top of the Pyramid. The top offered incredible views of both the Mississippi River and downtown Memphis.
One Friday after work, a handful of us interns decided to go to the Germantown Commissary for dinner. It was one of the many barbecue restaurants on our list. Even though it was hot and slightly crowded, this ranks up there as one of my best memories so far. I’m not sure what I liked more, the food or being able to hang out with my newfound friends at the end of a long week.
So far, I think my favorite Memphis experience has got to be Huey’s. Huey’s is a local Memphis joint famous for their burgers. We’ve been kind of overloaded on barbeque, so I was excited to eat somewhere different. I think we were all hungry and a little sleep deprived, but it was so much fun. The food was great and they even gave us some free potato skins! It was so nice to spend time with friends after a long day at work.
This summer has been filled with a lot of exciting experiences, but my favorite part about all of it has been the amazing people that I have had the chance to meet and become friends with.
How in the world is it already July? The past five weeks have been so busy and hectic, but I have loved every second of it. Besides meeting people from all over the country, one of my favorite things about this internship is the ability to get exposure into multiple departments within ServiceMaster. It has allowed me to picture myself in different roles, which is needed since I will be making big decisions about what I want to do after my upcoming senior year of college. Some people I know are working in one company, one department, getting very little exposure to life outside of their assigned job. At ServiceMaster I get the opportunity to learn across the enterprise at all ServiceMaster has to offer.
This is my second summer internship at ServiceMaster, and it’s been just as great and eventful, if not more, than last summer! Last summer, I worked in Terminix marketing and worked on projects geared toward Terminix’s innovation line of services. There, I was able to learn how to do marketing research. This summer, I am working with the American Home Shield (AHS) sales and customer relations management teams. With the AHS Sales, I am finding potential target clients. I am also working on an AHS and Terminix cross selling project with a fellow intern, Ford Aur (fun fact: he still doesn’t know how to use a conference phone so don’t ask him). Our goal is to create more effective methods of communication between AHS’s account executives and Terminix’s branch managers to create more opportunity for the company and its customers. I have learned the importance of collaboration, as well as the how communication plays a critical role in a company’s success – both internally and externally.
In the last five weeks, there’s been many learning moments, but there is one in particular that has had the greatest impact: working with Velvet Graham, senior director of events and community relations, and her team, including another fellow intern, Lucy Newton (fun fact: she is Super Woman). I have been able to go behind the scenes of the company’s annual We Serve Day – a day dedicated to giving back to communities across the country. I’m amazed at all the work that Velvet, Lucy and their team are doing to make this day great for everyone involved, and I am thankful I can be a part of it. At school, I work in marketing for the Athletic Department and I play a role in making the game-day experience unforgettable. Watching all of the work come to life at one of the sporting events is something I have always loved, so I am glad I have been able to be a part of something similar here at ServiceMaster.
Five more weeks to go and I am so happy I decided to come back to ServiceMaster for a second time around. I have learned more about myself in a matter of weeks and it’s made me love the company even more!
As interns, we work hard. We decided to reward ourselves with a midweek outing to the KIX on Beale concert at Handy Park. We’re glad that ServiceMaster has decided to stay in Memphis, because downtown Memphis is where it’s at!
What’s normally expected from an internship? Learning fundamentals in your field, finding out if this is the right industry for you, making a connection or two, and maybe even the glorifying task of running coffee for your boss. Well, thankfully, I haven’t heard of anyone doing that last one just yet, so let’s hope to keep it that way. So, what about the other stuff that’s happened here? There’s been free food. Check. There’s been entertainment such as a catered baseball game or two and even some exclusive suite treatment at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. OK, so check. There’s an incredible HR staff. Check. There’s definitely been top to bottom exposure for us interns. We’re talking all the way up to even exec’s folks. Part of me recalls, actually, an impromptu visit from the CEO last week. No big deal. Check. We’ve even been able to witness the largest corporate announcement in Memphis in a generation in a grand ballroom at the Peabody Hotel… with free food. Check.
Alright, so maybe all of those things aren’t on your typical internship expectations checklist. I’m not really sure of anyone who came into this summer with such an outlandish agenda. You know, actually, you may go as far as to say it seems more like what we’ve been treated to is something only the best could be allowed to take part in. Well, that may be a step too far from a modest perspective, but maybe it’s not… Who’s to say no? All the same, it’s truly been an unprecedented experience, and, as each day passes, we continually build our acumen, in respect to the “real world,” through various facets in expected and unexpected occurrences. Take chances and seek opportunities. Weeks one through three, it’s fair to say ServiceMaster has undeniably earned its keep, and has ventured well past the expectations of a run-of-the-mill internship program.