Passing The Torch – A Look Back at My Internship at PIE

PIE is going to be welcoming in their new intern next week, and in honor of passing the metaphorical torch, I thought I would share my story as PIE’s first intern.

Throughout life I’ve been confronted with tough choices. Do I go to college instate or take out ridiculous loans and go to my dream school? Do I take a full-time job that leads me to Florida or do I intern with W+K’s incubator experiment? Do I take a job with a famous ad agency or try my hand at an up-and-coming startup?

At the center of those tough decisions is PIE. The best decision I ever made because it lead me to my next tough decision and validated both past and future decisions. A feeling I’m sure any startup would attribute to the incubator.

Here is a place that exposes a world that was once exclusive. Here is a place that wants its startups to succeed but will push them to discover whether or not they can. A place that believes in you, invests in you, educates you, and pushes you to learn through action while giving you the support you need from past alumni and respected members of the tech community.

Like PIE, my internship was an experiment. I was the first ever PIE intern, so my responsibilities weren’t clear-cut. I came on board in PIE’s third year of its program and with the first iteration of PIElette. I was given a brief rundown of the program – its schedule and expectations – and told to jump in where I saw fit. And so I did. Whether it was holding down the PIE fort with admin assistance, writing recaps for guest speakers, acting as a TA by guiding the learning experience of the students in PIElette, acting as a co-liaison between each startup and W+K, or providing materials and documentation for the rebranding process, I was always ready for the next task and to soak in EVERYTHING. I would say half of PIE is listening to those who are wiser than you (whether you’re an intern or a startup) and the other half is acting on those things learned.

The internship had a lot of the same gains a startup receives in the PIE program –education on building a business from scratch, a growing network to the Portland tech community, and the ongoing mentorship of some really smart people. The power trio – Kirsten Golden, Program Manager, Rick Turoczy, Managing Director and co-founder, and Renny Gleeson, co-founder and W+K Head of Global Interactive Strategy. These three have accomplished something amazing with PIE.

I’m proud to have been a part of the process, grateful for the second family that I left with, and excited to continue living the startup experience with Orchestrate, a PIE alum.

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