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Internships in the Time of COVID-19: How Brightree continues development of young professionals

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Brightree 2020 interns in a Zoom meeting. Top left, Kamryn Taylor, Marketing Sales Rep Intern. Top right, Briana Anderson, Marketing Intern. Bottom left, Lexi Mellott, Marketing Intern. Bottom right, Anete Foss, Graphic Design Intern. (Photos courtesy of Trish Nettleship)

Internships are a key stepping stone on the path to success for college students and recent graduates, but many have seen that important growth period deferred or taken away amid the COVID-19 crisis. Brightree, a software company based in Peachtree Corners that caters to post-acute healthcare, wanted to find a way to continue their thriving internship program in a safe, beneficial manner for both the interns and the company.

The 2020 Brightree Internship Program

“We had to step back and say, ‘How do we want to approach this internship?’ And it was a challenge, because most of our managers (who are part of the internship program) are used to managing people on-site. It was a huge adjustment,” said Trish Nettleship, Vice President of Marketing at Brightree.

Valid concerns were raised regarding working remotely with interns who may require additional guidance. Nettleship and other leaders felt strongly that providing learning opportunities in a real business environment was something that needed to go forward despite the extra challenges that a virtual internship program would present.

This is the fourth official year of the Brightree internship program, though Brightree has intermittently employed interns prior to that as needed. It’s typically a 10-week summer internship program from mid-May to late July, with all interns starting at the same time and collaborating on various work projects. Students in the program were treated just like any new hire, with orientation and being assigned a buddy to assist them and show how team dynamics work at the company.

A throwback to the 2017 Brightree Internship program. The interns were treated to a product overview presentation and received official Brightree backpacks and other goodies.

“(The internship program) has become more and more crucial to our business, quite frankly. The interns, they are younger, they are in college, they are coming in with a fresher perspective than what we have,” said Nettleship.

The Fabulous Four Interns

The number of interns that Brightree took on for the summer was reduced to four individuals, as opposed to the standard 10 to 15 people. Kamryn Taylor served as the Marketing Sales Rep Intern, Aneta Foss was the Graphic Design Intern, and the two additional Marketing Interns were Briana Anderson and Lexi Mellott.

“I was actually really grateful that Brightree was still having their internship,” said Foss.
Every day, the four interns met with the marketing team on Zoom for a daily stand-up to see what had been done on their on-going projects. Foss’ role was more visual and instructional, working on e-book informational guides and supplemental graphic design projects as they arose. Taylor worked directly with clients, as well as cold calling, hoping to walk through interactive tutorials of Brightree’s software offerings.

The two marketing interns “assisted the team in areas of marketing communications, marketing research, and digital marketing. That translates to researching the industry to provide insight for content for the blog and the website, and to provide insight into the brand’s digital footprint,” according to Anderson.

The main issues that came up had to do with longer task completion times simply due to working in different places, as well as having to relay complex information such as new software techniques over the phone versus having the luxury of a manager talking through it face-to-face. However, the four enterprising women rose to the challenge and steadily improved as the weeks went on.

“The company did a really good job, because they scheduled one-on-ones with each member of the team, trying to get to know me and I’m getting to know them. I could reach out to anybody if I needed help,” said Foss.

Taylor also expressed positive views about how the internship program was run. “I would say, despite being online, everyone has been really helpful and really good with communication,” she said.

Anderson had this to say about her time at Brightree: “I’ve learned so much during this internship, but I think the things that have meant the most are not the technical skills but rather what I’ve learned about what I want in a work environment. Brightree has shown to me how much I value the collaborative work environment. Everyone is involved in ideation and planning, even if they won’t be involved in the creation of assets until later down the line — and I love that!” Anderson said.

Another look back at the 2017 Brightree Summer interns as they presented a recap of their projects and experience to the executive team. Kensley, Marketing Intern (left) and Anissa, Business Analyst Intern (right). (Photos Brightree’s Facebook page)

What to expect

The future for these young ladies looks blindingly bright. Taylor is a rising senior from the University of Georgia who plans to continue her career in sales. Foss is a junior at Georgia State University with aspirations to land a graphic design position with a company similar to Brightree after graduation.

Mellott, a local graduate of Wesleyan School, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Georgia Tech. Anderson is entering her fourth year at Georgia Tech and currently deciding between the career paths of UX/UI Design or Marketing.

With the current state of the worldwide business marketplace so in flux because of COVID-19, it is encouraging to see a Peachtree Corners company standing behind the workforce of tomorrow, giving them a foundation to build on.

Kelsey Asher is a proud graduate of the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Communications. She has held a variety of marketing leadership roles for several small, startup companies in a variety of industries including publishing, construction and technology.

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Local Resident Opens AtWork Location in Peachtree Corners

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AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners, Georgia at 6185 Buford Highway, Suite E-100.

AtWork Peachtree Corners is locally-owned by Kamal Bhatia, an immigrant from India with decades of experience in hospitality and as the Senior Vice President of Operations of Atlanta-based Action Bartending School.

AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners.
Kamal Bhatia

“There is an incredible need for AtWork’s services in Peachtree Corners,” said Bhatia. “Since migrating here in 1996, I’ve witnessed Atlanta evolve and sprout new communities north of the city, including my own. Peachtree Corners has become a hub for thriving businesses, and my goal with this location is to be a key resource between companies and job seekers to support the continued growth of our local economy.”

Bhatia’s son and daughter will assist him in the business.

“This is an opportunity to create a legacy company to ensure our community is supported for generations to come,” he said.

For more than three decades, AtWork’s mission has been to connect people with jobs and jobs with people. With more than 100 locations nationwide, AtWork puts nearly 40,000 individuals to work each year in administrative, light-industrial, accounting and finance, hospitality, IT and management-level positions at some of the nation’s largest and most recognizable companies.

“We’re proud to open our doors in Peachtree Corners and provide a common place for both job seekers and growing businesses to turn for staffing solutions,” said Jason Leverant, President and COO of AtWork.

“AtWork will serve as a key resource to help employees thrive, businesses prosper and communities flourish. Kamal is the perfect partner to champion our mission and be a servant leader in her local community,” he added.

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Business and Birdies: PCBA to Host PGA Tour Championship Exec.

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Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta

Don’t miss your chance to connect and learn at the Peachtree Corners Business Association‘s (PCBA) After Hours Speaker Series. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and head to the Hilton Atlanta Northeast (5993 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092).

This event features guest speaker Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Urban brings more than just golf expertise to the table. He is a graduate of Clemson and UGA with a background in communications and marketing, and he’s passionate about using his skills for social good.

His talk, “Stewarding to Serve: How Leaders Can Leverage Resources for Community Impact,” promises valuable insights for current or aspiring business leaders.

Plus, the PCBA will be presenting a donation to Paint Gwinnett Pink, a local breast cancer charity making a real difference.

Ticket prices range from $25 for early bird members to $40 for guests.

Register today to secure your spot!

And click here for more PCBA news.

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Gwinnett Principals Tour Businesses with Partnership Gwinnett for Workforce Development

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A breakfast panel comprising (L to R) Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Lauren Croft, Chad Wagner, and Nick Masino (with moderator Andrew Hickey) discuss the importance of education and industry connection. // Photos courtesy of Partnership Gwinnett

Partnership Gwinnett, in collaboration with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), recently hosted its annual Principal Field Trip event. The program aimed to connect professionals in education and industry to support continued workforce development based on existing and future needs.

The day began with breakfast and a panel discussion featuring Nick Masino, President & CEO of Partnership Gwinnett; Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools; Chad Wagner, President of Peachtree Packaging; and Lauren Croft, HR Director at Peachtree Packaging.

Principals and Industry leaders gather for a group photo at QTS during Partnership Gwinnett’s 2024 Principal Field Trip

“Our principals and educators play a critical role in shaping the future workforce of Gwinnett County. This event provides an opportunity to bridge the gap between education and industry, ensuring our students are prepared and ready for high-skill and in-demand careers,” stated Dr. Watts.

In addition to having lunch at Gwinnett Technical College, principals visited several industry partners, including Price Industries, QTS, Peachtree Packaging, Mitsubishi Trane HVAC, Aluvision, CleanSpark, Nextran, WIKA and Eagle Rock Studios. These visits allowed educational leaders to engage with local businesses and understand industry needs.

“Supporting this event underscores our commitment to investing in the future of our workforce. By partnering with GCPS and Partnership Gwinnett, we can ensure that students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in today’s job market,” said Wagner.

PFT attendees tour operations at Peachtree Packaging.

Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest public school district in the state, serves approximately 182,000 students across 142 schools. The district’s diverse student population, representing 191 countries and speaking 98 different languages, benefits from career pathways and college and career readiness programs that support career exploration, industry certifications and internships.

“With thousands of students graduating each year, GCPS significantly contributes to the 2.6 million labor draw within a one-hour drive of Gwinnett County,” said Partnership Gwinnett Director of Economic Development Andrew Hickey. “As these graduates enter the workforce, they bring essential skills for high-skill and in-demand careers, ensuring a strong future for the local economy.”

Learn more about the work Partnership Gwinnett does here.

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