A Summer in San Francisco: Interning in the Financial District

Growing up in Lodi, my family and I never felt the need to travel around California since everything we needed was relatively close to us in Stockton or Sacramento. As I started to get older, my parents started to take my sister and I out more and San Francisco was one of those locations. Whether it was walking on the piers or shopping at the Westfield mall, every time we came into San Francisco, I told my parents that I wanted to work here. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the diverse people was what made me feel at home. My parents, both immigrants of this country, always told me to shoot beyond the sky, and that is exactly what I did. 

Although, it wasn’t as easy as it seems. Being a first generation student, my parents always supported me in my aspirations, but they didn’t know how to guide me. They knew I wanted to work in San Francisco, but we didn’t have any connections there. As difficult as it sounds, I applied to over twenty-five internships this summer, with no response. I followed up with companies by emailing, calling, and even messaging current employees via LinkedIn to see if they could even pass along my resume. But nothing. I was getting frustrated and even discouraged because I know my worth. I am passionate about helping people and am a leader through initiative, but why wasn’t that shining through? It was a number of things. I learned that in order to seriously be considered a candidate, you must be one of the first 50 applicants to an organization. This is because companies are looking to fill positions quickly. Time is money. Another reason was because I wasn’t putting in the proper amount of time. I noticed that I wasn’t articulating who was in my cover letters correctly. I wasn’t giving myself enough credit for all of the initiatives I had heavily contributed to at Pacific. I needed to set aside time dedicated just for internship hunting. At this point, it was already April, a little late for summer internship searches, but I submitted one last application to Digitas San Francisco for their Human Resources Intern position and it all began from there. Digitas gave me the opportunity to explain what it means to be curious, bold, and be open to new adventures. The interview process with Digitas was wonderful because I was able to speak about the challenges that framed who I am today. I was able to speak about what I had learned in my Human Resources classes and how this opportunity would help me further advance my personal mission. After the interview, I made it to the final phase within one week, and then was tasked with submitting a video of me exercising the company's core values. Within 48 hours, this video was due and I could never have done that if it wasn’t for my amazing friends who helped me film and edit pieces of it. Thank you, Jesus, Muhammad, Inez, Stephanie, and the PSWIB executive board! 

I’m here! Now what? At Digitas, I am the Human Resources Intern as part of a cohort of six others in different capabilities. Digitas is a connected marketing agency, under Publicis Groupe, one of the largest and oldest marketing firms worldwide. 

My day-to-day tasks consisted of working with the intern team on the intern project, based on Generation-Z. In this project, I was the account manager and was constantly in touch with our client, Sephora, making sure that we were headed in the right direction before the final pitch. I also developed a guide for our leadership team on managing remotely working employees, since we do allow flexible work arrangements and want to make sure those employees stay engaged with our organization. I also ran the company's Facebook page for our San Francisco office! I assisted in the coordination of diversity and inclusion events in San Francisco which consisted of me creating content for in-company events and promotions and joining Women at Digitas and VivaWomen of Color, the company’s ERG/BRG’s. Lastly, I provided additional support to employees on any HR related tasks. My proudest accomplishment was co-coordinating the company's volunteer day at Ocean Beach in San Francisco! 

Being in Human Resources is much more than payroll and benefits. Although we still answer those questions, we are driving, internal force, that supports each team facilitating conversations that lead to overall company growth. 

I am very grateful to have been selected for this opportunity. I missed my parents and sister most of the time, but I know that this is our American Dream.


Written By Maria Rios

President of PSWIB