This month’s community member for Voices of the Leader Dog Community is Ethan Wilson. Ethan was an intern in our communications and marketing department this summer. We did our best to give Ethan a variety of experiences – both in a work capacity and in learning about Leader Dog capacity. Ethan began his internship while we were still having people work remote if possible. Luckily, the pandemic eased up and he was able to get some face-to-face experiences during his internship.
As a young professional entering the work force for the first time, I think I have been spoiled as far as the types of people I was able to work with. Everyone thoroughly enjoys what they do here at Leader Dogs for the Blind, and it shows in the culture of the work atmosphere. At least for me, it was impossible to have a bad day once I had the chance to come into the office.
One of the first things I was able to do was help promote the Dollar for Dogs campaign. This was a very interesting experience for me because up until now I had only made mock advertising campaigns for classes in college; it was nice to see how implementing a strategy works in the real world. It was fun to walk around town with Dave Bann, Leader Dog’s corporate engagement manager, who taught me how to do in-person cold calls by walking into local businesses and asking them if they would like to participate in the program.
Probably my favorite thing I participated in this summer was the Bark & Brew 5K race. This gave me the opportunity to work hands-on with our volunteers and gave me the chance to meet other people who liked to support Leader Dog. Growing up knowing about Leader Dog [Ethan has a family member who works at LDB], I always heard about the volunteers, but I did not realize how essential they really are. To me, it seems like Leader Dog could not do public events like Bark & Brew without all their volunteers.
Another reason I enjoyed the day a lot was because being at a big event that gets the community involved is the kind of thing I would like to do in my future career in advertising. I want to be able to use my skills for a business that makes an impact on the community, and Bark & Brew was a perfect representation of that goal.
Another notable thing I worked on this summer was producing a marketing video for the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) conventions. I was tasked with making a 10-minute video that explained the services Leader Dog provides to their clients. This was a lot of fun for me because I am an ex-film major, and I was able to use some of that creativity and passion for filmmaking while in an advertising job.
It was very rewarding to do the work and have people pleased with it because I don’t think making that video was a planned part of my internship and it only happened because of the skills I have with editing software and film knowledge.
Being new to the organization, I had not had the chance to interact much with clients. That all changed on issue day [the day when clients meet their Leader Dog for the first time] when I got to film some of the clients receiving their dogs.
Meeting LDB client Caleb was special to me because he is young like me. I think it was the age similarity that made me relate the most to him, and I realized that I could have been sitting where he was. It made me appreciate that all the work I was doing for Leader Dog was to serve people like him or anyone else who is young and visually impaired.
Overall, I am very thankful for the extensive amount of opportunities the Leader Dog team has provided me in the few short months I was here. I leave Leader Dog with not only a better understanding of how to act as a young professional, but an understanding of the inner passion and drive it takes to be a successful professional.
Would you like to be considered to write a future installment of Voices of the Leader Dog Community? If so, please let us know! All emails will be answered, but we can’t promise everyone will have the opportunity to participate.
Read more about our Voices of the LDB Community initiative.