The strategic communications and marketing double major presented at the Lenovo philanthropy board meeting as part of her summer internship with the multinational technology company.
Like many rising sophomores who participated in an internship this summer, Ariana Wilson ’23 spent her June and July working remotely, serving as a global communications and philanthropy intern with Lenovo. Recently, she had the opportunity to present the initiatives she championed during the past few months to the Lenovo philanthropy board, which oversees the philanthropy sector of the Fortune 500 company.
The strategic communications and marketing double major from New Albany, Ohio, has supported the multinational technology company’s commitment to providing smarter technology through the Lenovo Foundation, empowering diverse and minority populations with access to technology and STEM education across the globe.
“I presented my internship experience in a consultant approach addressing three areas of concerns: global effective communication/partnerships, employee awareness, and virtual volunteering,” said Wilson of her late July presentation. “During the first week of my internship and observation, I developed a question that was a guide throughout my internship: What is the level of awareness around the Lenovo Foundation and its efforts within the employees and communities they serve?”
Wilson’s presentation audience included multiple executives at the company, and the virtual meeting served as the capstone of her summer-long internship.
“At the start of my internship, I had minor apprehensions about working remotely. However, after progressing through the internship, I was able to remove all apprehensions,” Wilson said. “It turned out to be a valuable experience. Not only was I able to build global connections and attend professional development workshops, but I was able to enhance my time management and networking skills too.”
Torod Neptune, worldwide group vice president and chief communications officer at Lenovo, commended Wilson and her contributions during the past few months.
“Ariana did a masterful job presenting … and has done an even more phenomenal job for Lenovo this summer,” Neptune shared with School of Communications Dean Rochelle Ford. “I have consistently heard from both her manager and the broader CSR/purpose/citizenship teams – and the president and CEO of the foundation – about her strong performance. She’s been a great testament to the stature and influence of the Elon communications school on our profession.”
The rising sophomore first learned about the internship opportunity in November during a Unity in Communications initiative featuring Kim Hunter, chairman and CEO of The LAGRANT Foundation. Hunter, one of the public relations industry’s strongest advocates for diversity, spoke at a dinner event and discussed his interest in increasing the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations.
“I chose Lenovo because of its ‘We are Lenovo’ culture,” Wilson said. “Lenovo’s commitment to innovate, collaborate and provide affordable and high-quality technology to all is shown every day. I was also proud to see their continuous actions around diversity and inclusion as a global company, and the opportunity to continue my community engagement to underrepresented communities by supporting the Lenovo Foundation, and the company’s internal communication strategies.”
Throughout her internship, Wilson had the opportunity to work on multiple projects to enhance Lenovo Foundation’s communications and branding strategies, including Lenovo’s North America “Show Up. Listen. Act.” campaign. The campaign is in response to racial injustice toward Blacks and African Americans and the creation of the Internal Philanthropy Resource Hub, which increased employee awareness of the Lenovo Foundation and their engagement opportunities through volunteerism.
“As an intern, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to work in the development of corporate communications within Lenovo and its focus markets,” Wilson said. “I have gained valuable experience in global and local corporate giving and communications campaigns, specifically focusing on Lenovo’s philanthropy and sustainability efforts. Not only have I helped to enhance Lenovo’s brand recognition, but also its philanthropic arm in the global and local arena.”
Wilson said she has appreciated the encouragement and direction she’s received while at Elon, especially from Dean Ford and Oscar Miranda, assistant director of access and student support.
“Before and during the application process, I received a great amount of support from people in the Elon community such as Dean Ford and Oscar Miranda,” Wilson said. “I also went to the Student Professional Development Center to review my resume and provide feedback.”
In the future, Wilson plans to focus on corporate communications and brand management. Nonetheless, she cherished her opportunity to work with Lenovo’s philanthropy division.
“Since this was my first internship, I thought this was a great way for me to explore the corporate world, specifically a company’s philanthropic arm. Corporate philanthropy is a unique and essential field. As a part of Generation Z, I want to see how companies are being sustainable and giving back to communities,” Wilson said.
About the Lenovo Foundation
The Lenovo Foundation, previously the Motorola Mobility Foundation, is the philanthropy sector of Fortune 500 company Lenovo. The foundation focuses on advancing STEM education, increasing access for diverse populations and improving global communities.