6 years ago, I was completely overwhelmed. I finally stopped long enough to realize that I needed help in the studio, and I hired my first intern (link to “meet robin blogpost). I’m not gonna lie – it was incredibly helpful! I got more done and was less stressed because I had help. But this internship program has turned into not only a helpful resource for our studio, but dear friendships, an educational experience, and a tool to help clarify career paths. We have poured into each of their lives, answered questions, prayed for them, and have taught them whatever they wanted to learn while they were with us.
The most surprising effect of our internship program? How it’s turned into such a life changing experience – for us and for our interns.
Leaving a legacy is more important than anything else we do in our work, which is why our internship program has become such an important part of our work as team.
I got a lot of clarity on this a few months ago when I attended a work seminar where a supreme court justice was a speaker. He’s a well respected leader in our city, and he began telling us about his staff and team that help him execute his incredibly full schedule and list of responsibilities. He has a small staff of 3 or 4, but he also has anywhere between 20 – 30 interns every year.
He quickly explained it was not always like that – the justice before him only had a handful of 4-5 interns for the year. But for him, having a large internship program was a huge priority. He wanted his work to be more than just executing his full schedule and list of responsibilities. He wanted to leave a legacy.
He went on to explain that he wanted to personally speak into every intern’s life, to show them what it looks like to lead as a servant, to give them an opportunity to really discover the type of work they want to do with their lives, to enhance their portfolio and resume, to invite them to his church, to leave an impact in a way that went beyond a normal internship program.
When I heard these words, I had chills. This business – Nancy Ray Photography – is centered around glorifying God and inspiring legacies. We desire to leave a legacy in everything we do. This confirmed for me that having an intern program is so much more than getting help with my work in the studio. While that is an amazing benefit of our intern program, it’s not all of it. We have the opportunity to build relationships, to mentor others, to show them the wonderful and really hard aspects of this business, to demonstrate servant leadership, to equip them to discover the careers they do or don’t want. We have the opportunity to change their lives.
That’s been the most surprising and rewarding effect our our internship program, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.