Your Co-op Journey Starts at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Your Co-op Journey Starts at the End of Your Comfort Zone

By: Joselyn Hernandez | Beedie Business Student
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When I first started looking for co-op options, I was searching for companies specifically in the retail industry as my only professional experience in marketing had been in retail. However, I decided to fight the urge of conforming and look for organizations that allowed me to explore a different side of marketing. In my case, I decided to jump start my co-op journey with Goldcorp, one of the largest mining companies in the world.

Working for Goldcorp was nothing like I had expected. In fact, when I started my internship I thought mining was an antiquated and low-tech industry, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Working in the communications department, I got to learn about and share the otherwise obscure ‘social’ side of mining. Goldcorp believes that mining responsibly is central to doing business. They work closely with local communities to improve their living conditions (economic, social and environmental), and leverage innovations to reduce their environmental footprint. It is clearly a more engaging and dynamic industry than I initially thought with vast potential in CSR and innovation.

As any job, this position came with a few challenges such as my limited experience in marketing and internal communications, and my scarce knowledge about the mining industry. However, to me, these where not challenges but rather multiple learning and development opportunities. 

This internship allowed me to do vastly different things ranging from helping the external communications manager with their sustainability digital media campaign, to creating all the marketing material for an internal event myself. The dynamic environment of the workplace allowed me to push myself to learn more and challenge my skills. I started this co-op with little experience in marketing, and after completing my internship I am certainly more confident in my written communication and creative skills, also having gained relevant experience in PR, digital marketing and graphic design.

The constant support and coaching from my team was a key component in my success at Goldcorp. Not only did my team provide me with the right tools, training and resources to succeed in my role, but they also gave me endless opportunities to develop myself professionally and personally. During my internship, I was able to participate in Creating Choices, a women empowerment workshop, that encouraged me to use my voice and be confident in my abilities. This workshop prompted me to speak to the external manager and voice my interest in redesigning the corporate website of the organization. As a result, I had the opportunity to learn about the different components of website development; and I was made in-charge of the beta testing to evaluate user experience, functionality and content for the website. This initiative helped enhance my project management and organizational skills significantly. Simply voicing my interests opened opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and I understood the importance of being confident.

Further, the dynamic work environment at Goldcorp also allowed me to participate and assist in various marketing and internal communications projects. One project that aroused my professional interest was the Technical Summit, an internal conference that brings together metallurgists, geologist, mine engineers and senior leaders to drive innovation within Goldcorp. Within this project, I had the opportunity to manage the majority of the marketing material for this event, which included poster and booklet design and printing. This exercise helped in developing my creativity and visual communication skills as the task involved designing appealing posters that clearly communicate key points from the conference. This assignment instigated my professional interest in graphic design and advertising, which will hopefully, direct my next co-op.

In conclusion, I encourage you to be open minded when you’re searching for co-op opportunities. You will never know which organization, industry or position you might end up liking unless you try. This is how one discovers their future aspirational and professional interests. Working for Goldcorp was one of the most rewarding, challenging and enjoyable work experiences I have had so far. I couldn’t have asked for a better first co-op term, despite being worked to the bone.


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Posted on March 06, 2018