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The life of an intern
Oct. 17, 2016

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

DASSEL, MN – “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Walsch

Based on this philosophy, Laura Holm of Dassel is perpetually living life to the fullest. Since she graduated from high school in 2005, Holm has explored careers in management, nursing, and marketing – and is now pursuing her pilot’s license.

“I’m always interested in new things and discovering them,” she said.

Holm was born in Georgia, and her family moved to Cold Spring (near St. Cloud) when she was 8. Holm’s first job was managing Caribou Coffee, first in Crosslake and then back in Cold Spring.

“At the end of the seven years at Caribou, I met my husband on Match.com – which workaholics use to meet people,” she noted.

Since her husband, Zach, was a farmer, she packed up and moved to the countryside of Dassel. Although Holm hadn’t heard of the community before, she quickly became involved in volunteer work.

“If you ever drive through Dassel, I’m the lady driving around in a Kubota with a giant Saint Bernard named Maggie watering all the flower pots in town,” she noted.

Chasing her dreams

Holm credits Zach with giving her the opportunity to go back to school and chase her dreams.

“Being an adventurous person, it was hard for me to pick just one degree,” she said.

Since she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 9 and was familiar with the medical field, Holm settled on nursing.

She enrolled at St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC), and worked at the St. Cloud Hospital in the cardiac procedure recovery unit while taking classes.

After becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN), she decided to try something new. Holm switched to the sales and marketing management program at SCTCC, and fell in love instantly.

“I loved all my classes and my professors,” she said. “I have always had a huge creative side.”

To get more involved, Holm became president of the DECA chapter, and took first place internationally in sales at the DECA competition in Orlando, FL.

Through DECA (an international association of marketing students), she heard about an internship opportunity at Dayta Marketing in Waite Park, and decided to apply.

“Dayta picked eight out of around 160 applicants, and I was one of them,” she said.

Holm started in January as a social media management intern, and was in charge of creating and maintaining social media platforms (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterist, Instagram, Twitter, and blogs) for about 10 clients.

“Dayta made sure to give each intern a wide variety of clients, from agriculture, banking, forestry, bakeries, to online-dating companies,” she noted. “You were learning on a daily basis, just because you had to keep up with what was happening in your client’s industry at all times.”

Holm learned to tailor her marketing style to fit her clients’ unique cultures.

“Just think about it, a bank isn’t going to have graphics or tweet like a donut shop would,” she said.

She also learned how to juggle between multiple clients, and found ways to make her day more efficient and organized.

Every day of Holm’s internship was fun, too.

“Dayta realizes that if your team enjoys the workplace that they stay motivated and believe more in the company as a whole,” she noted. “We have music jams randomly to get everyone pumped, and hang out after work to grow friendships.”

Holm added that management was always excited to hear interns’ new ideas, and she learned new techniques on a weekly basis.

For Holm, the most challenging aspect of the internship was blog writing.

“I have never been in love with writing,” she said. “I would rather take that picture that says 1,000 words, or make the graphic that enticed people to keep reading. In the end, though, it became interesting to see what blog topics I would be given, because it was something new I got to learn each month.”

Always learning

Holm graduated with her sales and marketing management degree in May, and is looking forward to getting a “big girl job.”

“I would love to be in marketing or design,” she said, adding that she’d ideally like to work for a company she knows very little about, because it would be an opportunity to learn.

For her DECA competition, she purposely chose a product she knew nothing about – firefighter boots – and it was one of her greatest experiences.

“I now know more about firefighting than my husband, who is a volunteer firefighter for Dassel,” she half-joked.

Holm noted that a person can never know enough, as there is always something more to discover.

“Right now, I’m actually pursuing getting my pilot’s license,” she said. “My husband’s whole family is in agriculture some way or another, and I wanted to learn more about it. Being an ag pilot has recently become one of my dream goals for the next year.”

For others who are in search of their dreams, Holm gives this advice: “Never settle for an easy job or internship . . . Be patient at the beginning and don’t give up . . . Try going for an internship that is completely out of the ordinary – you are guaranteed to learn so much more that way!”

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