This summer Global Handmade Hope was fortunate to have an intern from France named Tiffany. Tiffany is a getting a masters degree in Intercultural Management and wants to work in the Fair Trade field. What can I say, other than she was an absolute joy to host. While Tiffany gained college credit and some hands on experience we gained some much need and appreciated help.
Some people asked me why I would invest so much time and money in training an intern and why would I take her around to the national trade shows. My goal was simple, to pay forward the opportunity that I had received when in college. I can still remember being in college and the summer internships that I worked. Those experiences provided me with realistic work expectations and ultimately helped me secure my first job with NCR. I hope this internship will benefit Tiffany in the same manner. In addition, as I mentioned, GHH could benefit from some added help.
TIffany joined me in Atlanta and we hit the ground running exhibiting at two trade shows. We then headed back to Chicago to spend some time before we headed off to exhibit in New York. Within the first week of Tiffany’s stay in Atlanta I asked her to write a short blog about her thoughts. Then at the end of her two month internship I asked her to write a follow up blog. I gave TIffany no direction other than to write about her thoughts and experiences. I am happy to share with you Tiffany’s blogs.
My internship at Global Handmade Hope
My name is Tiffany, I am 21 and I am a French student. I just finished my first year of Intercultural Management and International Business Master’s degree after graduating in Applied Foreign Languages at the Universite de Haute-Alsace in Mulhouse in 2012. My university professors gave my promotion and myself the opportunity to make a summer internship either in France or abroad. As I wish to work in the fair trade field of activity after my studies, I thought that getting some experience would be a great bonus on my resume and would help me to find a job later on. I contacted around 80 different North-American companies, and Global Handmade Hope was in the end the only company that accepted to give me the chance to do a two-month internship.
During my first day of work, Cynthia Glensgard, the president of the company, was very friendly and did not hesitate to answer any of my questions. She told me about the history of the company, showed me the different products, explained me how and where they were made and told me the history of the artisans who work for the company.
I was very glad to learn that the company works with artisans in Colombia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and even in Turkey. There are many ranges of products including melon seeds or orange peels necklaces, ornaments, tagua rings or even cana flecha cuffs. I thought it was very interesting to see for instance that some rings are actually made from the seeds of nuts or that we could use orange peels to make bracelets. What is great about Global Handmade Hope is that this is not only a fair trade company. It actually also offers handmade, sustainable and natural items.
My internship is really an amazing experience. During two month I will be participating to different trade shows (retailing and wholesaling) as well as to the everyday tasks of the store in Chicago. This enables me to experience every aspects of running a business and to learn the basics of fair trade. The internship is not finished yet but I already know that working in the fair trade is what I want to do, and I am very grateful to Global Handmade Hope for having given this great chance.
MY INTERNSHIP AT GLOBAL HANDMADE HOPE
Working during two months for Global Handmade Hope was a great experience. This was my first internship and I felt comfortable within the company. Cynthia Glensgard, the president, and Sandra Ocampo, the employee of Global Handmade Hope, were very friendly and helpful. They always answered all of my questions and taught me many things which I will be able to use later on in my future professional life.
What was very interesting is that my tasks were both computer-based and practical-based. For instance on the one hand I loaded new products on the web for the company, and on the other hand I prepared many orders and tagged lots of items.
The best part of the internship was the trade shows. We did two shows in Atlanta, GA, one downtown Chicago, IL and one in New York City, NY. My favorite show was the one in New York City, it was the most dynamic, exciting and profitable one of my internship.
Participating to these shows enabled me to create a fair trade companies’ network for my future professional life. I was very glad to see that the fair trade companies’ mainly support each other. There is actually a business competition between the companies, but they all share the same values of trade and deeply respect each other.
Global Handmade Hope gave me the unique opportunity to spend two months learning what I was curious to know about in a place I wanted to discover. Doing fair trade in the United States was the perfect match for me, and it would have never happened without Cynthia Glensgard.
Moreover, the internship enabled me to discover amazing cities : Chicago, Atlanta and New York City. It offered me the unique experience of living in the United States and learning about the American culture, which is, I must admit it, very different from the French culture. Nevertheless, once I began to get used to this culture, I started understanding it; and discovering new cultures is always very enriching.
The cherry on the cake was to see that Cynthia Glensgard trusted me more than I believed in my own abilities. She let me run the booth during the whole four days of show downtown Chicago and she also let me manage her store on my own during one whole week although I had only started working in it a few days earlier. She also always congratulated me when she appreciated my work.
For all these reasons I am very grateful to Global Handmade Hope for having accepted me for a summer internship. I really recommend this company to anyone who is interested in learning more about fair trade. Its commitment to help artisans all around the world is very strong, so do not hesitate to take part to this great cause-related movement for a fairer and better world !