6 Riveting Questions with our Remarkable Rayna Rosenthal
Our Account Services Intern Rayna Rosenthal has been with COHN for two summers and counting. This summer has been a little different, however. As COHN’s first-ever totally remote intern, Rayna has been crushing her internship from home, and we recently invited her to extend her internship with us for the third time! As such, we wanted you all to get to meet the unsung hero of the COHN team: Rayna Rosenthal.
1. First, tell the people a little about who you are, what you’re into, what you’re studying, what you want to be doing a year from now.
Hi! My name is Rayna Rosenthal. Student by day, intern… also by day. I have been with the COHN team since June 2019. What first started as a Content and Strategy position has since transitioned into Account Services, after extending my internship three separate times.
I am beginning my senior year at the University of Denver where I study Strategic Communication and Marketing. This means I am in both the media school and the business school, which allows me to learn from different perspectives and a variety of teaching methods. After I graduate in March 2021, I hope to continue working in the agency setting as an Account Executive or similar role.
In the perfect world, I would love a position that combines Strategy and Account Management because not only do I love interacting with clients, I also like to be involved in the behind-the-scenes work of pulling off a successful campaign.
2. Now, tell the readers what you’ve been up to over the last 18 months in your role as COHN’s incredible star intern.
Since COHN is a smaller agency, I get to wear many different hats. One day I might be working with PR, another with New Biz, and even some strategy here and there. My primary role this summer has been on the Account Services side, where I have learned the ins and outs of timelines, budgets, estimates and direct client interaction. I have worked on over a dozen accounts, and my days usually consist of both client and internal calls, working on projects and, of course, administrative work.
Right now, one of my largest projects is managing the Our Response: Ability account, which is a COHN branded initiative to give back to the local community through free professional services. Client outreach, partnership management, social media strategy and internal communications are essential to the success of this project.
3. One year ago, you were prepping to study abroad in Morocco. Tell us about a memory from that time that you won’t ever forget.
Woo! It’s been a year? No need to remind me. I feel so fortunate I was able to experience my full study abroad program now that many others had their program cut short or not at all. In September 2019, I boarded a plane to head to Meknes, Morocco. In my time there, I was challenged every day. I experienced a new culture, which meant every day I was experiencing a different language, religion, political system, food, gender roles, music, educational system, etc. I was outside of my comfort zone, but that allowed me to beautifully fail. Let me explain that further.
One of my favorite memories was going on a solo trip to Rabat. This certainly wasn’t the smartest idea, but I went at a point where I felt both comfortable with my surroundings and my language abilities. However, once I got there, I couldn’t figure out how to buy my train ticket home. The machine was in Arabic, a language that I was trying to learn but nowhere near proficient. I kept trying, letting people pass me in line, considering calling my program director, on the verge of giving up. Instead of doing that, I conversed with an attendant in French. This was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve had to do in a foreign language, but I figured it out. I got on the train, and wouldn’t you know someone was in my seat. This was typical of traveling on trains in Morocco and something that I picked up on through experience. I was exhausted physically and mentally, so instead, I stood in the standing-room-only train car for 2 hours and watched the sunset over the Atlas Mountains.
Oh, and trekking through the Sahara on a camel wasn’t too bad either!
4. But really, tell me something unexpected you’ve learned about yourself and your career during your time as our intern.
I really like people. No, really! I enjoy the ups and downs of working with different types of people. Collaborating is an important life skill that is reiterated in the higher education environment, and I was able to experience that in a professional role through my internship at COHN.
As an account services intern, I have seen the link between the account side and the rest of the agency. Facilitating client needs, presenting ideas and monitoring work performance of colleagues are typical job responsibilities of an account manager. However, doing it well means being a leader, excellent communication and interpersonal skills and a high level of organizational abilities. I hope to continue fostering that skill set throughout my internship and into my career. As someone in Generation Z, we are already placed into a box due to our “insufficient communication skills.” I have hopefully broken away from that stereotype and proven to be an effective communicator and a people person.
5. What’s a remote internship like? Do you like it better or worse than last summer? What has been the biggest challenge? What has been the most surprising benefit?
Working from home in a college environment certainly comes with its own challenges. However, it has also been one of my most productive summers. No longer is the workday 9-5. I can log into my email and work on assignments at 8pm on a Thursday. Although I am still available during the regular working hours, more flexibility has been helpful for me to balance my internship, school, and lifestyle.
One of the biggest challenges that I think we are all facing are the distractions. Whether that be family, friends, pets, or outside disturbances, there isn’t a boundary between the workplace and home anymore. Luckily, COHN has been great at understanding that balance.
6. What are 3 things you can hang your hat on during your time at COHN? Your biggest achievements, lessons learned, interesting tidbits, etc., that you will talk about in future job interviews?
1. Both the COHN team and myself recognized my abilities to provide quality research and present it in a digestible manner. This usually took the form of a competitive analysis that I prepared for the strategy team. What started as a one-off project for Bishop-Wisecarver has since morphed into my strategy niche. I was able to provide decks for a multitude of clients including Valley View Hospital, COHN and IOTAS. My work was also featured in new business pitch decks such as the Colorado Ballet and NextHealth Technologies. In an industry where data drives decision making, I was able to see how my competitive analysis research played a larger role in the strategy and brand development of our clients.
2. Account management is just as much about client communication as it is internal communication. Pulling in the right team members at the right time to pull off the campaign and meet deadlines is essential to successful account management. I learned this primarily through my role with Our Response: Ability. Being able to own and control this “client” helped me see budgeting, estimating, timeline management, creative direction and client outreach in a real life position. And I hit every deadline.
3. One of the most exciting parts of my COHN experience last summer was the Black Hawk Summer Concert series. I worked alongside the Account team and managed over 10 events promoting our client, Visit Black Hawk. In this role, I exemplified leadership qualities by overseeing the brand ambassadors, many of which were nearly 10+ years older than me. I was in charge of filtering the applications, hiring them for the role, facilitating communication as it related to the event, execution and direction the day of, and following through with payment. I also was responsible for coordinating with other vendors, the venue, and our client. Over the course of the summer, our booth engaged with over 10,000 attendees.