Southeast Missouri State University seniors Gabby Bernier of St. Louis, Missouri, and Drew Slade of Fenton, Missouri, are interning this summer at Maritz, a sales and marketing services company in Fenton.
“So far I have learned how to work with clients, how to work with a team to meet deadlines, the processes that go behind choosing images, merchandise or copy to include for a deliverable and have a clearer understanding of the roles of an interactive designer when working for a large company,” Bernier said.
Slade says he’s been able to learn a lot already as well. Gaining hands on experience and working for such a large company handling a variety of clients has been valuable, he said.
“As part of the strategic merchandising team my main role is to monitor analytics for Reward Sphere, our redemption website, by finding trends and abnormalities to allow for some direction in our campaign strategy,” Slade said. “Other than that I have been researching best practices for print and digital format publications. I am also learning a bit about their asset management and how to move a campaign through the production process.”
Maritz designs and operates employee recognition and reward programs, sales channel incentive programs and customer loyalty programs. The company has four departments including Maritz CX, global events, travel and motivation solutions, where Bernier and Slade are working. The motivation solutions department works with marketing, human resources, and sales and channel marketing executives to provide consumer loyalty, channel loyalty, employee engagement and sales incentive solutions to Fortune 100 companies. Clients include companies like Southwest Airlines, Hilton, Caesar’s Entertainment and Wells Fargo.
The department creates websites that “are basically stores where consumers or employees can shop using rewards points they have built up over their years of service or being an active consumer of that company. So basically, we manage and create content and designs for these RewardSphere sites like Southwest Airlines (Southwest Rewards) and Hilton (Hilton HHonors),” Bernier said.
“So far I have been taking a lot of smaller projects on that have fast turnaround times, like eCards for Caesars Entertainment and auction bundles for IHG,” Bernier said. “I did a really cool project my second week where I helped design a Maritz bike jersey for the Bike MS race happening later this summer.”
Bernier is a graphic design intern working with the finance & hospitality creative group, while Slade is a strategic merchandising intern working mainly with automotive and pharmaceutical clients. They are two of 23 interns in the motivation solutions department.
Maritz has created a community of interns that meets weekly for lunch, often hearing from speakers or focusing on discussion topics. These interns are also split into groups to work together on various research projects they will present at the end of the summer.
Both Slade and Bernier say they have always known about Maritz. They both grew up in the St. Louis area and were happy to find internships close to home in their area of interest.
“My mother worked there when I was a kid, and family friends have been there over the years as well. I saw an opening on their website and decided to give it a go,” Slade said.
He says the application process to the hiring was fairly quick. He applied over winter break and had an interview the last day before classes resumed. Just a couple weeks later, he got the call he was hired.
Bernier said she heard Maritz was looking for a graphic design intern, so she applied online as well and went through a three-step interview process.
“First was a phone interview, and the next week they called me to interview in person at their headquarters in Fenton,” Bernier said. “I interviewed with Jay Moore, who is my current Creative Director. About a week or two after that interview, they called me again to come in and meet the team for a third interview. I interviewed with eight different people and was hired shortly after.”
The internships started quickly after the close of the spring semester, only giving the interns about one week off before getting to work. However, Bernier began her internship a week later than the rest of the interns because she traveled to Scotland with a Southeast art class.
Bernier is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design and a minor in fine arts entrepreneurship and plans to graduate from Southeast in December. She is actively involved with Catapult Creative House and works at the Missouri Innovation Corporation during the school year.
Slade is a mass communication major, advertising option, and creative writing minor and plans to graduate in May 2017. He is a member of Phi Delta Theta and has served in a few chapter positions. He also was a resident assistant in Dearmont for a year and was involved with the Residence Hall Association.
Both have an entrepreneurial spirit and are interested in opening an agency that handles branding and marketing for new businesses. Bernier says she wants to stay in St. Louis for about a year after she graduates and then hopefully move west to Colorado or Washington depending on where the job search takes her.
“I hope to come away from this job with a real idea of how to be an incredible analyst,” Slade said. “Learning the programs, what goes into making an effective strategy for a campaign and the actual work that goes into a campaign are all things that I am hoping to leave with and be confident in. The networking opportunities that have been presented to me throughout the course of the internship have also been invaluable.”
Bernier added, “I’m really here to learn as much as I can about the industry and about what I need to do in order to prepare myself for finding a job after college.”
Slade said, “Being able to put my education into practice is a pretty cool opportunity.”