Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Summer officially arrived on the calendar this past week, although it seems the concept of Michigan having four defined seasons is a thing of the past. Our weather patterns seem to get whackier with each passing year, which is great for breathless television meteorologists warning on a near-daily basis the approach of the next storm of the century, but not so much for those of us planning outdoor parties or events.

We’re adding to the summer fun this year by moving the Chamber’s annual Vine & Dine event from its customary September date to July 20. And to add to the excitement, we have moved the food and wine extravaganza to the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, which will give guests a new, art-themed experience.

There is no doubt that Vine & Dine is a great party, and we hope it is going to turn into an annual not-to-be-missed summer affair. But it also supports an important cause in Oakland County through a partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

By earmarking a portion of the proceeds from Vine & Dine to Gleaners, the event over the years has provided tens of thousands of meals for those in need in our county. According to Gleaners President DeWayne Wells, demand for their services is increasing as the state continues its slow economic recovery, especially in suburban communities.

The Chamber is excited to provide a new option for those planning to stay closer to home this summer. What could be better than a terrific summer party that also benefits an outstanding local charity? For more details on Vine & Dine please visit the Chamber Web site at www.bbcc.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Being an intern doesn’t mean administrative aide

A large amount of internships are what students call “file cabinet jobs.” We are lured to these internships by well-known corporations with the promise of gaining vast experience and materials for our portfolios.

Some students spend years with a company that does not allow them to use their learned skills. It is important, especially in this job market, to find an organization that adds to your knowledge.

This issue is not always the company’s fault though. Many students are under the falsification that the bigger the company, the better the resume’ builder. From my experience, those mogul internships sound impressive, but what do they add to a portfolio? Again, from my experience, unless you can photograph filing papers and entering data into a computer there isn’t much you can add to a portfolio.

This year I will be a senior at Central Michigan University studying public relations and public policy. For my profession, internships are key in that they determine whether an organization will hire you in the future.

In 2008, I entered the world of internships. I didn’t do this because I had to, as I was only a freshman in college; I did this because I wanted experience. To my dismay, my first two internships were “file cabinet jobs.”

This time I knew I had to search for a company or organization that hired interns because they actually wanted the assistance. I searched for weeks until I found my current internship.

When I was offered the position with the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, I had a feeling I was finally going to get away from the file cabinet. The public relations and marketing materials were extremely impressive and I knew I could gain a lot of experience from this organization.

My first task was to give my input on their website on how they could make it more user friendly. I was blown away. For the first time someone actually appreciated my input and not my filing ability. The even more shocking part was that the organization used my suggestions.

It is rare to find a company that respects the knowledge and experiences of an intern. All four individuals on this mighty team have shown more respect and interest in my ideas than any place I have ever worked for. The word mighty may be an understatement as their dedication to the chamber is second to none.

I have been with the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber for just over a month now and couldn’t be more pleased. Since then I have had the opportunity to write, design, and collaborate on publicized materials as well as attend events. I have also met dozens of community leaders providing a great avenue for networking.

It is internships like this one that are needed by so many students, by available to only a small number. To all of the students out there searching for the perfect internship, don’t play a part in the generation of exploited workers. Take the time to investigate your organization and know what they want from you.

By: Vincent Cavataio