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Millie Finch, Intern, on her first speaking gig!

06 July 2022

In May, I received an email from Jayne Cullen at 106 Communications explaining that as an intern at 106, I would be speaking at the ISE Conference. The topic of discussion was how brands and businesses can leverage cultural trends to connect with Gen Z talent and under-represented audiences.

A series of initial thoughts occurred to me: what on earth is the ISE? How can I possibly speak in front of an audience? What do I have to say?

I was nervous to say the least and refrained from dwelling on it as I began my internship in June. But as the date grew nearer, I could no longer ignore the prospect and collated my thoughts with fellow intern Blessing Simeon. What was initially an interest-peaking discussion title, started to gain some form and substance. We designed our first survey and sent it to graduate recruiters to gain an understanding of what challenges they may face; with a particular focus on their use or lack of use of social media.

Meeting in Brighton Pret a Manger, myself and three other women, Praise, Blessing and Ife, prepared to travel to the venue. I would not describe myself as feeling out of place, but I was definitely a newbie, having not had a lanyard around my neck since sixth form! We huddled at the back of a hall for the last few minutes of a talk on the mental impact of the pandemic on students and it dawned on me the challenge and opportunity we were about to face.

Once miked up and positioned on platform, we settled into place. Employers, media suppliers and career service representatives started filtering into the Empress suite and without the support of Henry Davies and the ladies I shared the stage with, I’m sure it would have been far more daunting.

Chaired by Henry, our discussion included a breadth of valuable takeaways, as the generous feedback confirmed. We spoke about how businesses can use consumer marketing as inspiration for their own experimental attempts; M&S Romford’s TikTok account was one such example. The merits of influencers was another hot topic and we made it apparent that it’s an area recruiters should harness if they want to attract diverse audiences. We spoke about the characteristics of Gen Z, and how sensitivity and awareness of these is crucial for a business’s social media strategy to be effective

The feedback was bountiful and I can say I am proud of myself for speaking in front of an audience – something I was very apprehensive about. This is just one of the achievements 106 Communications has helped be with in my internship facilitated by the 10,000 Black Interns Programme thus far.

^MF

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