“Beyond learning things about HR and Operations I have learned what it means to work in a team-oriented environment, life lessons and what it is like to have people that genuinely have your best interest at heart and want you to succeed.”
– Emerging Leaders Intern Phoenix Saunders
For the past 4 months, 10 students from NC Central University have been interning in Capitol Broadcasting divisions through the inaugural Emerging Leaders Program. A partnership between CBC and Leadership Triangle, the program combines hands on learning in departments aligned to their interests along with workshops led by LT coaches. The program will culminate with a graduation ceremony on December 16. In the final weeks leading up to that conclusion, Capcom is profiling the individual outstanding students.
Phoenix Saunders is interning with the Durham Bulls in the Operations and Special Events departments, as well as CBC Human Resources. Robinson is a junior at NC Central, pursuing a major in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources.
DBBC Assistant General Manager of Operations Scott Strickland has served as one of two mentors to Saunders, and he has enjoyed seeing her progress.
“Working with Phoenix has been terrific,” he said. “From early on in her in-person interview you could tell she was very mature and that characteristic has held true through her internship.”
Saunders was thrilled to be admitted into the first class of Emerging Leaders.
“I was extremely excited when I learned that I was accepted into the program,” she said. “It was a huge moment for me because this is my first internship. Being accepted into this internship meant I was taking all of the necessary steps to working towards having a successful future. I also knew this internship would teach me a lot (gaining experience and leadership training).”
She reached out to apply for the joint CBC-Leadership Triangle program because she wanted to grow and saw a multi-faceted way to do that as an Emerging Leader.
“I saw the opportunity to have an internship that was directly correlated to my field of interest, HR,” said Saunders. “Gaining HR experience was my number one priority when looking for internships. Getting to work in my field of interest and being able to receive leadership training that would benefit me in my future career was an added bonus.”
Corp HR Recruiter/Generalist Na’Tasia Robinson worked alongside Strickland as a mentor to the NC Central junior.
“Phoenix has been awesome to work with!” said Robinson. “She is smart, a team player, has great attention to detail. She has a strong work ethic. She is creative and solutions oriented. She is a fast learner, hands-on.”
Strickland also applauds Saunders’ ability to work as a contributing team player.
“Another element that deserves praise is how easy it is to form a relationship with her,” he said. “She quickly formed bonds with her coworkers, which is something we stress due to the hour and event demands we have at the DBAP. It is imperative you get along with your coworkers or you will not enjoy your time here and events will suffer. Within just a few days into her internship she had developed those relationships as if she had been here for years!”
Robinson shared the same sentiment.
“Everyone has enjoyed working with her this season,” said Robinson. “She managed the Employee of the month program for the seasonal employees for the Bulls for the 2022 season. She is organized and I wish we had a position right now that we could hire her into.”
Saunders says she has learned a great deal through this semester-long program.
“My favorite experience that I like most about my emerging leaders internship so far is getting to meet new people through my internship, gain experience, learn more about leadership and receive mentorship,” she said. “Getting to receive a mentor through the program has really helped me figure out what my career goals are and has added another level of support throughout my internship experience.”
Strickland, Robinson and the Durham Bulls staff have worked to show Saunders the meaning of being a part of a work family, a trait indicative of the overall CBC culture.
“We have tried to teach Phoenix the importance of trying to find a second home rather than just a place of employment… A second family as opposed to people you work with,” said Strickland. “If you can find that in your professional career, we feel strongly that will only help your overall life. We also wanted to show to Phoenix the overall importance of a greater cause. An intern at the Bulls in operations/special events/HR isn’t just that, it is so much more. You aren’t just doing responsibilities and tasks associated with a baseball team. Our company is involved in so many elements of our community and we have a responsibility to the community at large.”
There are several key takeaways Saunders will take from her time at the Bulls. When asked what some of the key things are she is learning, she responded, “EVERYTHING.”
“I’ve learned so much from this internship,” said Saunders. “I gained experience in HR learning the hiring process for seasonal and full-time employees, how to complete job postings, recruitment at job fairs, expense reports, and topics relating to diversity equity inclusion and belonging. I’ve also learned the operation side of the Durham bulls. Beyond learning things about HR and Operations I have learned what it means to work in a team-oriented environment, life lessons and what it is like to have people that genuinely have your best interest at heart and want you to succeed.”
Strickland says the program has been as impactful for him as it has been for the students under his mentorship.
“To me, what makes a program like this great is when it is a two-way street,” he said. “Phoenix has been a tremendous addition to our office culture and daily environment. We gained just as much from having Phoenix here as she has gained from being here. A definite win-win!”
She is a big fan of the Emerging Leaders experience.
“I would definitely recommend this program to others,” said Saunders. “It is a great program to be a part of.”
The Bulls staff looks forward to seeing the heights Saunders will reach in the future.
“Phoenix is just a great person,” said Strickland. “She has accomplished so much at such a young age and we’re excited to see her continue that growth and development. Phoenix isn’t just someone we know from a program, she’s one of us!”
Thanks to DBBC’s Scott Strickland and Corp’s Na’Tasia Robinson for these Capcom photos.
Check out the previous Emerging Leaders Profiles: