In Fall 2019, Connect For More began an internship relationship with the University of South Florida. Though we had previously hosted our very first internship via Research Associate Veronica Vasquez Ugalde back in July 2016 this marked an important milestone for us – we were finally able to contribute back to a local university system that many of the CFM Team members graduated from. What follows below is our intern’s perspective on the five-month practical experience.
In Fall 2019, I started my four-month internship at Connect For More (CFM)– a Tampa Bay-based consulting company focusing on nonprofit capacity & community building, board empowerment & engagement, organizational development, retreat & workshop facilitation, coaching & ongoing support, and philanthropic advising.
During the internship, I got the opportunity to be guided by a seasoned leader, Liz Wooten-Reschke CFM President/CEO and lead consultant. Liz was also a USF MPA graduate and serves on the USF Alumni Association board. The company size of CFM (less than 15 team members) was ideal for me because I had gained experience working in bigger organizations and therefore longed for a sense of belonging in the workplace.
From the get-go, I enjoyed how I felt empowered and engaged by Liz. She always provided me with the space to speak my mind, constructive feedback and was eager to learn from others. She promotes a culture of understanding, and I personally always felt like if I needed to, I could blatantly speak my mind and she would guide me without judging. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to remind me that “the truly educated never graduate”. As a result of my internship experience, I now understand the power in leveraging all resources out there for the betterment of the community and oneself.
As a young male this opportunity helps me to personally get in touch with topics, I was rumbling with such as courageous leadership, vulnerability and self-care which are essential to my well-being as a future leader. I broadened my network, gained a lot of valuable and transferrable knowledge from my internship experience. Tasks were directly applicable to the non-profit sector and relevant to the Nonprofit Management and Leadership course was taking.
Despite it seeming that I might seem out of place in the company as a younger male, it did not hinder me from creating meaningful relationships with others on the team. Not only were my relationships great, during my internship I also got the opportunity to participate in the USF Women in Leadership Fall Symposium where once again I was able to learn a lot and create additional mentoring opportunities by other great women within the USF community. However, this wasn’t even the best part of my internship.
I asked to be put in charge of the social media and web presence, a new responsibility that forced me to get out of my comfort zone research and find creative solutions to positively impact the organizations online presence. Liz was completely open to me stepping into this role and encouraged me along the way continue to integrate my graduate studies with what I was sharing into the work at the same time.
My internship experience was not all work, it included fun. As a college student, I appreciated all the very thoughtful knowledge, gifts, lunches, networking events, and football tickets offered as part of my CFM team membership. As an MPA student, with the goal of working for the public sector and being a consultant someday, I couldn’t have had a better place to intern at with a clear understanding of my goals. I truly could not have asked for more!
Interested in serving as an intern with Connect For More? Looking to working in an open environment with people that care about your personal & professional success? Check out our posting on Handshake. We’re currently recruiting for Spring 2020 and looking for a motivated student (graduate level preferred) interested in learning more about the non-profit sector, philanthropy, and small business growth/management.
Are you a nonprofit looking for an excellent team member? We strongly recommend reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request Solomon’s resume and references. The entire Connect For More team enjoyed working with him and would love to keep him engaged in the important work in our sector.
Solomon Mukasa MPA is a recent graduate from the University of South Florida College of Arts & Sciences, School of Public Affairs. He also achieved his Bachelors in Science (BS) in Business Analytics & Information Systems from USF. He joined the Tampa Bay community in 2016 but is originally from the East African country of Uganda. Solomon came to Connect For More with a wealth of volunteer experience including serving Academy Prep Center of Tampa and American Cancer Society. One of his most notable service leadership experiences includes the co-creation of the Swahili Students Association and leadership with the African Students Association at USF. He is also one of the newest Life Members of the USF Alumni Association.