CSR Intern Reflections: A Summer of Growth

By Michele Robinson-Pontbriand | Director, Corporate Social Responsibility

SOURCE: Keysight Technologies

DESCRIPTION:

I greatly value the fresh perspectives that interns bring into Keysight. I always learn something new, not only from the outcome of their assignments but also from how they approach challenges and opportunities in those assignments. I always feel that I have grown individually through my partnership with Keysight interns. 

Conversely, I enjoy helping interns grow by exposing these leaders of tomorrow to corporate operations and the role that environmental sustainability, social impact and ethical governance can play in their future work. By assigning our corporate social responsibility (CSR) interns high-impact, oftentimes complicated, projects I am hoping to help them learn and grow individually while making a real difference for the company.

So, I was excited to read a blog post by our 2021 CSR summer intern that highlighted her own growth experience through this year’s internship. I was so pleased to recognize the duality of our personal growth through our work together this summer. We were both learning from emerging trends, navigating the changing CSR reporting landscape, and determining the best way to work remotely — both individually and as part of a team. As a result, she was able to experience the oftentimes changing and strategic nature of this critical business space, and I was able to get clear and actionable recommendations to support the continuous improvement of our CSR program. Overall, a win:win in individual and company growth! 

But don’t take my word for it. Read Lyle’s blog post below for reflections directly from our 2021 CSR summer intern! 

By Lyle Hoge — Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Georgia Institute of Technology

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intern at Keysight. My journey with Keysight as a CSR intern has been over a year in the making. I have always desired a fulfilling career where I could contribute to improving our world. After experiencing diverse roles in both the corporate and social sectors, I became fascinated by the intersection of business and social impact. When I learned about Corporate Social Responsibility in one of my classes at school, I became curious to see if CSR was a field where my different interests could align. In January of 2020, I saw an internship posting for the CSR internship at Keysight Technologies in Colorado Springs. The job description sounded almost perfect for me, but due to personal reasons, I could not move to Colorado for the summer (little did I know the position would become a remote one). One year later, I came across the Keysight CSR job posting a second time, but this time it was remote. I felt the same curiosity towards the position as I did one year prior. I eagerly applied and a few weeks later was offered the position – score! 

The Emergence of Environmental Social Governance (ESG)

I entered this internship with nervous excitement – I knew I would learn a lot about Corporate Social Responsibility, but I was not sure what my projects would entail and if I was well enough prepared. With the help of my manager and co-workers, I quickly began to grasp the ins and outs of CSR. Early on, one topic I learned a lot about was Environmental Social Governance (ESG) reporting. ESG reporting has arisen to help evaluate a firm’s social impact, environmental sustainability, and ethical governance. In the last few years, and especially this past year, the ESG reporting movement has gained momentum and has become a value driver for corporations across the world. Working in a quickly growing field was fascinating, and I was encouraged by corporations, investors, and customers alike becoming more conscious of environmental and social impact. I look forward to seeing how ESG continues to expand in the coming months and years. 

Within ESG, another learning was the scope of what is included under “E”, “S”, and “G.” I learned that “sustainability” not only includes environmental sustainability, but also business resiliency and continuity. As the climate crisis worsens and the global pandemic continues, ensuring security and crisis management plans are in place is crucial. Due to COVID-19 and the tragic wildfires on the west coast, Keysight has had to enact various crisis management plans over the past two years. Seeing Keysight seamlessly manage risk and ensure business continuity has been a unique opportunity and has increased my admiration for the firm.

Becoming Comfortable Navigating Uncertainty 

During my time at Keysight, I was assigned real, meaningful work. One of the most valuable yet challenging aspects of this internship was the autonomy I had over my projects. At first, the independence of my role was daunting, but I quickly learned to become comfortable navigating uncertainty. From researching environmental policy and required disclosures to fueling my creative side by recommending new CSR content presentations, I found fulfillment in contributing my own ideas to the team. Doing research on complex topics, thinking through creative solutions, and proposing my findings independently was an empowering process that grew my confidence in my skills and abilities. My projects gave me the feeling that I was never “just an intern” but was genuinely contributing to the future of CSR and ESG reporting at Keysight.

The Nature of Remote Work 

Aside from projects, this internship gave me the experience of working in a virtual, global context. Although many of my co-workers and fellow interns were on different time zones, we still found ways to connect and build meaningful relationships. From virtual networking meetings to fun events like a virtual painting class, we were able to experience Keysight’s supportive, inclusive culture even when working thousands of miles apart. The nature of virtual work also taught me valuable lessons about grit and intrinsic motivation. With no one sitting beside me at home to keep me on task, I sometimes found myself distracted. I asked a mentor for advice on how to stay focused, and he encouraged me to ask myself, “Am I proud of this work?” This question stuck with me, and I became determined to feel proud of the work I turned in at the end of my internship. I put my full effort into my deliverables and learned a lot along the way.

A Summer of Growth

As I get ready to leave Keysight and reflect on my internship journey, the word that comes to my mind is “growth.” Working as the CSR intern has been an exceptional growth experience. I have discovered more about myself and the type of work I enjoy. My manager provided the perfect balance of challenging me while also offering encouragement and support when needed. My passion for social impact, environmental sustainability, and the role corporations can play in improving our world has flourished. I am leaving Keysight with fresh knowledge and feel more equipped to enter the workforce post-graduation. Working as the CSR intern at Keysight Technologies not only made me a better employee, but also a more confident person.

Although I do not yet know where my career will lead me next, I know the lessons I learned at Keysight will stick with me throughout my future endeavors. 

Tweet me: .@Keysight's CSR summer intern shares how the experience supported her personal and professional growth: https://bit.ly/3DnMPRu

KEYWORDS: NYSE:KEYS, Keysight Technologies, Interns, mentorship, esg

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