The planning phase was easy. Now that we are so close to the Convention, instead of a few calls a day and meetings about a project, it’s a steady stream of questions, full inboxes from 9 AM to 5 PM and the trials of implementation.
One skill, though important throughout my time at the Host Committee, has become crucial for the final stage of this internship: communication. Not many people outside of our office understand the dynamics and logistics of putting on a national political convention. On one side of the office, there is the Democratic National Convention Committee, which is an arm of the Democratic Party and deals with all political aspects of the convention. From the platform to the list of speakers each night, the DNCC is the half of our office that everyone sees. My side, however, is that of the Host Committee, the non-partisan organization that works on behalf of the city of Philadelphia. Not only do we share office space, but the Host Committee and the DNCC work together on a number of projects. As a result, there are counterparts on each side of the office working in concert and, unfortunately, sometimes against one another.
My supervisor, the Volunteer Director, is the perfect example of this dynamic. Her work with the Host Committee’s volunteers are unavoidably linked to those who are managed by the other side of the office. Their volunteer department is less communicative, and therefore DNCC volunteers are constantly contacting ours seeking answers we cannot provide. My supervisor is then responsible for a delicate network of communication, between her interns and her counterpart on the other side of the office, between her counterpart and her volunteers, between her volunteers and her interns. It may be difficult to understand for someone who has not worked in this setting, but the point is clear: communication is essential.
Almost half of what I’m learning in this role is how to communicate – professionally and honestly. Writing emails and answering calls in order to set expectations and meet deadlines can be more important than actually meeting those deadlines.
Disclaimer: this post was written on July 14th, 2016 and mistakenly saved as a draft.