Building Culture and Learning From Your Co-Workers: A Conversation With Julia Pontius
By: Connie Reyes Lopez
Julia mentions LinkedIn in the interview, you can check hers out here, and connect with her!
Most of you have probably experienced hunting for an internship! Coupled with the vast amount of choices and competition, it’s never quite smooth sailing; your chances of landing your dream internship the first time aren’t always high! However, it’s possible, and fellow USF colleague Julia Pontius can show us how and what it is like!
Meet Julia, a senior working on a bachelor of arts in communication studies who has been working at her first internship at Narvar for over a year now. She loves it!
Q: From what I understand, Narvar is an e-commerce tech company that helps with customer experience. How do you answer what Narvar does when people ask?
Julia: Narvar’s motto is to simplify the lives of the everyday consumer. Narvar’s the middle man of the retailer and customer, so we focus on strengthening that relationship. We provide a tracking experience for customers of online retailers and market for them as a company.
Q: What are your responsibilities? What do your days look like?
Julia: My role has changed. Narvar lets me do what I like and lets me not do what I don’t like. For example, I started with social media, then did a lot of events, and now I do marketing analytics and campaigns. We just expanded to the United Kingdom, so I’m doing a lot of work with that too!
Q: Do you think your ability to wear different hats is due to the team being small?
Julia: I started as the 40th employee, and now we’re at 200 employees. In the beginning, Narvar didn’t have an organized role for me, they just wanted some help. It was kind of all over the place. I enjoyed it because I never got bored. Now I have a defined role, which is marketing.
Q: I saw on LinkedIn you’re a “Women at Narvar Network” member. Can you talk about that?
Julia: What we do is connect women at Narvar. What we want is more women in leadership at software companies. Statistics show almost all vice presidents are men, like ours. So what we do is host events— such as women speaking series— where women speak on how they’ve gotten to where they are.
Q: What classes and skills do you think have been the most helpful as an intern?
Julia: In the real world, you work with different people. You don’t end up liking everyone, and when you’re the lowest on the totem pole, sometimes people will take credit for your work. In classes, I’ve learned how to be assertive and better communicate. When I get angry, my natural expression is to be mad and treat someone poorly. We know from classes that isn’t how you get what you want. Knowing how to deal with conflict is important.
Q: Why did you decide to intern at Narvar?
Julia: I didn’t have any professional experience and had no idea what Narvar was. I applied there, looked up what they were, and realized “this is a cool company.” I went in for interviews, clicked with the vice president and senior director of marketing, and got hired. I walked into the office and felt welcomed. People were happy I was there and wanted to learn from me. I think that’s very indicative of what company you’re interning for.
Q: What have you learned from Narvar? How has Narvar prepared you?
Julia: From the get-go, people invested time in teaching me and didn’t have to. I feel like what I have to offer other companies is a lot of experiences with software and programming. I got to put it into practice.
Q: How did you find this internship?
Julia: I used different outlets to find internships. The main ones I used were LinkedIn, and Indeed. I get many job offers on LinkedIn of companies just saying, “Hey come work for us,” so I think keeping a strong LinkedIn is important.
Q: What advice would you give to students looking for internships?
Julia: When you’re going to interview with a company, know the company like the back of your hand. Understand who you’re talking about. What I’ve also done is talked to people and asked, “Hey what was your journey to get to this point?” Learning from the path they took, and learning from their mistakes is helpful.