Summer 2019 Libra Intern Challenge Winner
New York, August 9, 2019 – As part of the Libra Internship Program (LIP), the summer 2019 cohort participated in an Intern Challenge. In small groups, interns developed an innovative idea and written proposal that could contribute to Libra or one of its companies. Through the project, interns worked on professional development skills, such as time management, collaboration, public speaking, proposal writing and entrepreneurial/structured thinking. Ideas ranged from innovative human resources strategies to new social responsibility initiatives. Finalists participated in an oral presentation, judged by a committee of Libra employees. Teammates, Sophia Lima, an accounting intern placed in Kennebunk, ME, and Katerina Zouganeli, a hotel operations intern placed in Wanship, UT submitted the winning proposal, Engaging Intern Alumni to Enhance Libra Branding. Their idea focused on how to develop structures for continued engagement between Libra and its intern alumni through community service, professional and social opportunities. Learn more about the winning team below.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves
Hi, my name is Sophia Lima, and I am an accounting intern at White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, ME. I’m an accounting and finance major at the University of South Dakota, involved in various business, student government and cultural organizations on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling and trying out new restaurants.
I’m Katerina, an intern at the Lodge at Blue Sky in Wanship, UT. What I love about my job is that I interact with people from all around the world and learn about so many different cultures. At the end of my internship, I’d like to travel in several places and make new friends. In my free time, I love reading poetry.
How did you come up with your idea?
Katerina and I came up with this idea by being deeply impacted and inspired by our orientation in New York, learning of all the projects that Libra is involved with and recognizing the potential of further impact by continuing to engage alumni of the internship program. We commonly shared the belief that current interns should be an important asset for the Libra Group and should continue to contribute even after the end of the internship. For example, before starting the internship program, Katerina volunteered with the HOME Project in Athens, Greece.
How does your idea align with Libra values?
Our idea most strongly aligns with Libra’s value of the importance of family and giving back. Recognizing the larger role that every individual plays in their community, we wanted to continue alumni contributions of giving back, even after their internship ends.
What did you learn from the experience?
Sophia: For me, one of the main skills I learned from this experience was time management. We had to balance the work of our placements along with developing our proposal. Additionally, this experience made us think in depth about values and innovative ideas to improve an already strong structure. Lastly, the experience helped me recognize the impact and importance of the internship experience for me, currently and in the future.
Katerina: The intern challenge proved to be a strong step in our professional lives. We felt competiveness, understanding and a sense of creating something new. It was the first time that we both realized how important Libra is to us and how unforgettable this experience is for someone who has never been with this group before.
How did you prepare for presenting in front of Libra employee judges?
Sophia: It was challenging to work in real-time with the time difference between us, but we managed to find some common availability in our schedule. We established an outline to smoothly flow our ideas together and practiced a couple times to make edits and be prepared for the presentation.
Katerina: Emotions played a big part in presenting. We practiced as to not let them gain power over us and drift from our main points. After the first few seconds of presenting, our confidence grew.
What did you find most challenging about the project?
Sophia: The most challenging part of the project was thinking of an idea to improve an already strong organization focus on continuous improvement. Thankfully, we had the time to observe and learn before having to submit an idea, and we had other interns in our cohort as well to collaborate with and generate even better ideas collectively.
Katerina: The most challenging part about the project, in addition to presenting, was considering the implementation behind this project. Putting thoughts on paper is easy but executing an idea can prove challenging. We tried to be realistic and take into account potential costs, personnel and other means of achieving this project.
What advice would you give future intern cohorts for preparing for this project?
Sophia: Be observant and stay open to thinking of ways to improve current processes you see in place or recognize something that doesn’t exist that could be helpful. Also, lean on your cohort to work together. This leads to better ideas than any one individual could develop.
Katerina: This is your chance and your time to make something happen. Be a team builder and work with others. It is helpful to see things from a different perspective. In the end, you may find others’ ideas better that your own.