By Talia Owens
Makalah Hampton is a name that those involved with LITE in its early stages will easily recognize. Her involvement in LITE started when she was a student at Power Center Academy. Makalah saw that there was a lack of performance art opportunities in lower income areas so she created “Dare to Dance,” a dance showcase designed to expose lower income students to the world of performing arts. Makalah is now a rising sophomore at Tougaloo College where she is studying Mass Communications. This summer, LITE matched Makalah with an internship at Startco, a business accelerator in Memphis, and I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her experience there.
Q: Where are you interning this summer and what exactly do you do?
A: I intern at Start Co. which is similar to LITE but it’s on a bigger scale. They help launch businesses and they provide founders with mentors and investors and things like that. My role there involves me helping wherever I’m needed. I also am focusing on media - I help with blog posts and I got to help make a website last week.
Q: What is a typical day like at Start Co.?
A: Everyday is different. One day I might be helping with the founders or one day I might be sitting in on like a talk about press releases. It’s kinda just whatever the day is.
Q: What is the best part about working here?
A: Oh wow. I just feel like I’m getting a heads start on everything. I’m meeting with new people all the time. They bring in people to speak so I might be talking to somebody from FedEX one day and I might be talking to somebody from Archer Malmo, which is a public relations firm. So I just get to meet a different group of people and everyday is different and I think that’s just really cool. It’s not a very strict environment. It’s very relaxed.
Q: What special skills have you picked up during your time at Start Co.
A: I think time management is definitely one thing I’ve gotten better at. This is my first job so the work experience itself is definitely one thing that I’ve gotten as well... you know with school, you have time management but now it’s like I have a boss. I’m answering to somebody now so I have to be even more on top of things.
Q: How do you think this job differs from like other jobs people your age?
A: When people talk about their first job, they often talk about how they hated it. My job isn’t fast food or retail like other people my age so I think I have a great first job.
Q: Do you see yourself working in this field in the future? Was it because of your internship or was it prior exposure?
A: I never had prior exposure before this job. But this internship has definitely helped me to know that this is what I want to do.
Q: Has this internship opened a new realm of possibilities career wise? Has it made you see communications in a new light is there a specific direction you wanna go into?
A: Yes at first I wanted to do something like broadcasting, but now like I really like public relations and marketing so yeah, I think so.
Q: How has your experience with LITE and your internship kind of like change the course of your life?
A: Well, I feel like it’s really pushed me to get out there and start reaching out to people, meeting new people. Before, I was doing those things, but I wasn’t really doing them on this scale.I feel like this pushed me to branch out. You know...Be me, build my brand.
Q: If you could give any advice to a person who has an idea but doesn’t know where to start or what to do, what kind of message would you give them.
A: I’d tell that person to just go for it. If you plan it out and you have a strategy for something you should just get out there and do it.