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Importance of Coming Together in Covid: Student Co-Op Review

My student co-op search was no simple one; I spent months patrolling the Northeastern University database looking for the perfect fit. I had hoped to work in the sports department of a large newspaper, and when it didn’t pan out, I had to pivot to other options. Eventually, I stumbled upon Armored Things, a Boston-based tech startup hiring co-op students in the area of social media marketing and blogging.

That was six months ago, and I knew very little about tech startups, and even less about ‘space analytics’. Yet I was drawn to the idea that Armored Things technology enables better ways for us all to be together in the spaces where we work, and study—and even how we watch pro sports.

My first blog, which was published a few weeks after I started, was a considerable accomplishment for me personally, mostly because I knew a lot of knowledgeable readers would see it.  I wrote about something I’m passionate about, trends in stadium innovation. Researching the topic allowed me to familiarize myself with Armored Things pro sports partners, like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks

During the full-time co-op, my colleagues always made themselves available to answer questions or help me with tasks that were new to me. I was able to be part of a team that saw an 86% increase in impressions on Linkedin within eight months, a 66% increase in follower growth on Linkedin, and launched a new website and brand. It was incredibly rewarding to see our social presence and influence grow.

A particularly impactful milestone for me was the all-hands (in person!) meeting in late September. Here are a few takeaways from the three-day company-wide meeting:

  • Company swag is real, and really cool! I would never have imagined an Armored Things logo on a bag of M&Ms, mask, or ring light! Jokes aside, the Armored Things branded items made me feel like the company was building its brand and that I was an important cog in a powerful machine.
  • My colleagues are interesting! I had the opportunity to put faces to names, and to get to know people outside of my marketing team. Every employee made a short introduction video, which aired between events. During these intervals,  I had the freedom to interact with colleagues in a more casual setting, where I learned more about people’s personal and professional backgrounds. 
  • Synergy! Listening to presentations from the other departments, particularly the sales team, helped me better visualize the company as a whole. My perspective had been entirely marketing oriented, but now I had a better understanding of how other departments rely on each other. 
  • Elevator Pitches, Love ‘em! I really enjoyed the sales pitch exercise, where each member of the sales team was tasked with pitching Armored Things in under 30 seconds. Also, listening to the sales team sessions deepened my knowledge of  how and where the software is used.
  • Our Friends & Fans! One of the more moving events from the hand-on meeting was the ‘Why I Invested’ appearances.  I got to hear from some of the early investors who truly believed in the product. This included Isiah Kacyvenski, a former NFL player who would go on to co-found Will Ventures. And Rick Grinnell of Glasswing Ventures, who has seen many companies like ours meet their Series A fundraising goals and go on to bigger things. Listening to investors speak with passion and conviction reinforced my belief that we were all working toward an important goal.

I came into the co-op with limited social media experience but will leave it with a bevy of new skills on multiple social media platforms. My first week, I lacked confidence. After my first formal “corporate social share ”, my friends lifted me up by liking, commenting, and resharing it. Six months later, and without their help, I had played a major role in boosting Armored Things social media presence across multiple platforms. With each passing week, I familiarized myself with the Armored Things language. I wrote reports, engaged virtually with customers, helped build a social media presence, and published blogs relating to topics previously unbeknownst to me. 

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity Armored Things presented me. I have learned so much about the world of social media, technology, and myself over the course of these last six months. As we all return to the office – and for me, school – in different ways, I can say with confidence that I landed in the right spot, even if it’s not where I intended to. 

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