From Intern to Paid Media Strategist: Andrew Welden
Published by Spinutech on October 25, 2022
About a month into his internship with Spinutech, he had been tasked with writing and sending out a report that would be emailed to the various stakeholders working for a particular client. Andrew sent a draft of the email to a member of the account service team to review and they sent a copy back with edits. What he failed to recognize was that some of their edits were comments written within the actual text. He assumed they were all copy changes.
Out the email went, with the edited copy. Comments and all.
Within an hour, Andrew was writing a follow-up email apologizing for the error, with a corrected report soon to follow. It was a lesson learned the hard way, but hardly a fatal mistake.
After all, by that time the following year, he’d be a paid media strategist at Spinutech, having made the leap from intern to full-time team member in the span of a year.
The experience of his internship — mistakes and all — is what helped prepare him for that role.
Having the Courage to Ask
As an undergraduate at the University of Northern Iowa, Andrew was familiar with Spinutech because co-founder and CEO Marc Reifenrath, himself an alumnus of UNI, had been a guest speaker in several of his business classes.
So when he was invited to attend an American Marketing Association (AMA) conference in Des Moines, he made a beeline for the Spinutech team members who were in attendance, introducing himself to Brian Allen, Vice President of Marketing.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Andrew admits, recalling asking about an internship opportunity.
Taking the initiative paid off, as Andrew kept in contact with Brian and was eventually interviewed by Marc for an internship that would begin in the summer of 2019.
Choosing Your Own Path
At the start of his internship, Andrew was told he’d have the summer to dip his toes into each of the different departments at Spinutech. He could continue his internship through his senior year, but by then he’d need to choose a discipline in which he’d like to specialize.
As a result, Andrew got to do a little bit of everything, dabbling in paid media, SEO, content, social media, and email & marketing automation. He even lent a helping hand with web support and account management for certain clients, pitching in when there were ad hoc requests or fires — figurative, of course — that needed to be extinguished.
“It was cool to see how fast-paced everything is and how every day you have to be ready for any sort of request,” Andrew says. “It wasn’t just the same thing every day.”
Before the start of his senior year, he requested an end-of-summer review with leadership, wanting to go over how he could get better. It was also time for him to make a decision.
After spending his summer internship working out of the Des Moines office, Andrew returned to UNI to finish out his senior year while also working in the Cedar Falls office as a paid media intern. Now that he had narrowed his path, he was entrusted with more than a dozen small accounts, with team members providing support every step of the way.
“That was a whole year for [Spinutech] to take my limited experience and shape me into a strategist that would work well with the team,” Andrew says, crediting his team members for trusting him to do work and allowing him to grow his confidence.
“I felt like they gave me an opportunity most interns wouldn’t get. They trusted me to do my due diligence and do the strategy, and it was really rewarding.”
Finding the Right Cultural Fit
When the possibility of turning his internship into a full-time role at Spinutech became a reality, Andrew didn’t have to think much about the offer before accepting.
Not only did he feel prepared for the responsibilities of a full-time paid media strategist, but the culture at Spinutech was not something he was eager to leave behind. It clicked for him when he transitioned from the Des Moines office to the Cedar Falls office, at which he realized the culture was not limited by geography. Everyone at both offices welcomed him with open arms.
It was the support of those team members that was the difference for Andrew.
“I realized I could go work anywhere, but I’d rather go somewhere where they’re going to support me to develop professionally. And I already saw that throughout my internship,” Andrew says. “I just didn’t want to give that up.”
“I’ve been full-time two years now and I’ve never questioned whether I made the right decision.”