As a recent high school graduate, coming to spend my summer before I start college in a professional corporate setting was something I couldn’t have ever imagined, but I am extremely grateful that I did. I am heading off to college this fall to study political science at The University of Southern California. Prior to joining the Signature Performance team, I had little job experience because most of my free time in high school consisted of numerous sports and clubs. I was nervous when I was approached with this amazing opportunity, but as I reflect on my summer, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

This summer, I have learned so much and have had a very impactful experience that is going to help me make some of my very own Signature Strides at USC and later on in my career. The three biggest takeaways from my internship at Signature Performance include taking every opportunity possible to learn, following your own set of guiding principles that revolve around your uncommon leadership skills, and using your strengths to improve how you lead and work with your colleagues.

Learning to Lead

I have always looked for ways to build my leadership experience and continue my passion for my future career in politics and public policy as well as advocacy. I have had a lot of leadership opportunities over the last few years, such as being the captain of my track and cross country teams, as well as being the social media coordinator for two nonprofits boards. 

During my internship at Signature Performance, my time was spent with the human resources department and the experience team. The work that I did with these teams has allowed me to expand my interest in all things business and leadership, as well as show me how I can grow my own career path. Although human resources and marketing doesn’t directly correlate to politics, working in these departments has helped me foster my own confidence in public speaking, research, and writing skills. 

Being able to anchor my habits to the Signature Way throughout my internship has been a tremendous learning opportunity for how I show up to work every day. The Signature Way, which is Signature Performance’s eight guiding principles, was made to assist Associates in making an impact. By learning and practicing these guiding principles, I am able to step into the next chapter of my educational journey by getting things done and making things better, which are two principles of the Signature Way. Embodying these principles has helped me hone in on the skill of intentionality.

Leading With My Strengths

By going to college, I have been able to put my future as my main focus and Signature has assisted me with that by helping me grow as my authentic self. Prior to coming to Signature, I was familiar with Gallup Strengths, but the perspective I have for my own strengths has grown immensely. Being my authentic self is something that has always been one of my priorities and getting to be a part of a strength-based organization has definitely benefited me. By analyzing my own natural strengths, I believe that I will be able to put my very own twist on my top five strengths and use them to accelerate myself in college. 

At Signature, I learned that my top five strengths are achiever, communication, woo, strategic, and self-assurance. A few of these strengths I have always strongly identified with, but there were others that I always questioned being talents of mine. Analyzing each of my strengths and how I use them subconsciously has enabled me to begin to be intentional. Intentionality is no doubt one of the most important things that Signature Performance has taught me. 

When it comes to being intentional with my strengths, it’s as though I am trying to figure out my own superpower. How I interact with people and carry myself has a lot to do with how I lead and take action. By owning my strengths and making intentional approaches to how I build relationships and handle my own tasks, I have not ever struggled being my best self at work

My Authentic Self in Action

Before my 1:1 strength coaching with Mark Mathia, Chief Experience Officer and Certified Gallup Strengths Coach at Signature Performance, I couldn’t really grasp how I had communication as a top strength. We discussed how I build bonds with the people around me with language. When I am in a flow I feel connected with the people I am leading and working with by not only talking to them, but listening to what they have to say. After knowing this, I began to be intentional with my communication strength and even step a little out of my comfort zone.

On the other hand, my achiever strength has always been a strength I identify with naturally. I am learning to be intentional with this strength because I often tend to overwhelm myself because I always say yes to new things, even if I know I don’t have the time for it. Learning how to say no and being honest about my workload has been a valuable skill I have been able to improve during my internship experience.

I have always told myself what you pour into an experience is what you will get out of it. This summer, I have brought my authentic self to work every day and I believe that has resulted in my personal growth this summer. I was able to become very involved in Signature’s workplace culture by attending the Pride Parade, speaking for orientation in conjunction with the human resources department, and taking on a lot of other projects that were a little out of my comfort zone.

Looking back at my experience at Signature Performance this summer, I wish I could have started sooner. I have been able to work alongside some of the most passionate people within this company. One thing that I feel made a very positive impact on me was seeing different teams and people work together to achieve a larger common goal. Whether it was making videos for Pride month or recruiting new hires, everyone I have been able to connect with has had one common mission in mind: making the lives of the people we work with better. Everything that is provided to Associates shows how much Signature wants to help people. Whether it is helping Veterans with their healthcare claims or supporting fellow Associates and their families, everyone here wants to make an impact on those around them and it shows.