Reflection – Field Experience

Jessie Stone He – Professional Development Coordinator & Dana Poynter – Senior Vice President Global Association Management & Compliance

Working for Elavon and with Dana was an invaluable experience that put some the ideas and information I learned in the classroom into actual practice in the real world. This experience also improved my skill set beyond what can be taught or done in the classroom. I benefited greatly in working with Dana as she hold a high and influential position in Elavon. She showed me how important it is to evaluate what you’re doing and how you’re communicating and make any necessary improvements/changes to make sure you are filling in the gaps and things do not fall through the cracks. This has been an unforgettable experience that has allowed me to grow in both my professional and personal skill sets. And another bonus to this assignment is that Dana wants to be a mentor to me and help me along with my future endeavors which I am very excited about and looking forward to!

Of all the tasks and assignments I was given during my field work, the one that was has stuck with me the most was the task of evaluating the communication processes currently in place within Dana’s team and Elavon as a whole. This is because I had the opportunity to take the skills analysis, problem-solving and critical thinking I have gained through classroom and college experiences and not only applied but grow and further develop those skills. It also reiterated the high importance/necessity of good and effective communication across departments and employees in a company to help ensure success. It also gave me the chance to delve into an almost consultant like position looking, learning, discussing and analyzing Elavon’s communication process the way I did. Taking on this consulting role was so rewarding and definitely opened my mind up more to the possibility of pursuing a consulting career some day (Professor Lynne Quigley had planted this idea during this past Spring semester). Dana gave me a good amount of freedom to come up with my recommendations and her positive feedback helped to boost my confidence level in both my analytical/problem-solving/critical thinking skills as well as in myself and the knowledge I have gained over my three years at IC.

Another memorable experience for me was Dana asking me to create and develop the one page name sheet (one of the suggestions I made). I felt a large sense of responsibility for this task in creating a template that could possible be used at a real company. It wasn’t making something for a class project, or computer generated scenario where there isn’t so much at stake. I was doing something that could (and should) benefit this global entity and help improve their communication channels. I took the assignment very serious and really looked at what information was the most important for me to pull from the larger document (that is quite overwhelming and a bit confusing to look at) and present to the employees. My goal was to make this one page memo straightforward, simple and user/reader friendly to help facilitate interactive conversations among employees during the company wide conference call/meeting. While I imagine this template I developed will probably look very different than what I created, I got the opportunity to play a vital role in the development process of this memo to help improve Elavon’s communication methods. It was something that will be used in the future for a real company and it was a truly incredible to have gotten to play the part I did to help make it a reality.

Doing this entire field experience virtually through weekly conference calls and daily emails was both interesting and useful for my future career. Today’s business world is global and that has been made possible with modern day technologies such as the internet, conference calls, video chatting, etc. Dana’s team consists of people all over the United States and parts of Europe. I accomplished and learned a lot through my weekly calls with Dana, never once stepping foot into an office. I believe knowing how to conduct yourself over the phone and familiarizing yourself with doing business/accomplishing tasks virtually is an important and necessary skill for business students to gain. We live in virtual/digital age that has changed the way business is conducted today. I got to experience firsthand completing tasks and assignments based on conference calls and how much one can really accomplish this way. It is a meeting; we are just not in the same room. From doing this virtually, I also improved my listening and notation skills as it was imperative for me to not only pay attention/listen to what Dana was saying, but also to take notes of our discussions and the tasks she gave to me.

These are just a few of the many valuable experiences and lessons I learned during my field work at Elavon. This has been an amazing opportunity that has really benefited me, my education and my future career plans. My field work experience was an extremely valuable tool to my professional and personal life and I am looking forward to continuing my work with Dana and helping Elavon while she mentors me with my future along the way!

Defining Experiences