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My Story (With a Touch of Goulash)

By Troy Harris, Draftfcb Chicago Summer Intern(subsequently voted MAIP “Intern of the Year”)
I was driving on 1-95 S to Miami for Spring Break 2K12 when I learned I’d be interning at Draftfcb Chicago later that summer. Let's just say I had a great week. As my start date drew near, I realized that beyond my heading into a new city and industry, and despite this being my third internship in as many summers, something felt different. I somehow knew this would be an experience like I'd never had before. 
Well, the rubber hit the road quickly.  By my third day I'd been tasked with following through on a lofty suggestion I'd made in a room full of co-workers and executives I barely knew. My idea was to create some sort of program that would increase the levels of collaboration and creativity among employees, looking to help achieve the elusive "start-up" agency feel everyone spoke about. I've always had a passion for project management and my team liked the thought. So before I knew it, it was my long-term intern project. Shortly thereafter, I was given advice from President Michael Fassnacht to simply "make it happen." And so it began. 
Over the next 10 weeks I recruited some of my fellow interns in different fields and began to create and plan what we coined as “Goulash: where passion meets conversation.” Between formulating a structure for the event, soliciting advice from employees, and meeting all of my deadlines for the Milk PEP account team, August arrived before I could blink. On my last day, “GoulashLIVE” was ready and it was GO time. The flyers had been printed and posted for days, presenters were prepared, and I delivered on my promise to the agency…and it was a fun and huge success
[Ed. Note:  GoulashLIVE included a creative director turned fitness guru who exercised the audience; an account supervisor who became a “Werq” instructor and demonstrated the dance; a CI guy who gave financial advice; a senior strategist who described the ComicCon experience; and a fellow intern playing a live acoustic guitar performance of music already up on iTunes.]
After all was said and done, I was happy to have brought everyone in the agency together (even if it was for just an hour) to learn about some of their co-workers' passions. And meet some coworkers that they might never before have met. The path wasn't easy or clear at times, but the good memories and fun with my team and intern class made it all worthwhile. Though I'd never been in advertising before or in Chicago for more than a weekend, I felt welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed my time. 
What I appreciate most about Advertising is the free flowing creativity and ever-present good energy that surrounds the industry. In a time when too many people don't appreciate art and undervalue the process behind quality work, this summer interning at Draftfcb was refreshing to say the least, and something I won't soon forget.