Elsa Di Ruggiero ’11

After ten busy weeks, my internship with the Avon Foundation for Women has come to a close. My last week was just as crazy as any other, even though graduation was over. My team and I managed to get about 400 RepKits shipped, which had been my most time-consuming task for the past two weeks. On Thursday, the team threw me a farewell/thank you pizza party, which was an incredibly nice gesture. They also got me delicious cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and a thoughtful card!

On Friday, all the interns met with our HR supervisor for a goodbye lunch (on Avon!) and wrap-up meeting. 4 o’clock rolled around all too quickly, because I hadn’t had a chance to pack up my cube at that point. I rushed through my cleaning and said a heartfelt goodbye to the Foundation. Then, I was out the door for the last time L

This summer was different from my previous summers, but very instrumental in shaping my career goals and professional skills. I am so thankful to have met such a wonderful team within the Foundation. I have learned so much that I can take with me to my future employment experiences, but I will still be sure to keep in touch with the Foundation as I move forward post-graduation. I plan to volunteer at the New York Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in October, so that I can learn about the event that I did so much prep for and so that I can see my team members again!

See you all back on the Hill!

Hi all. I’ve passed through the 9 shortest weeks of my summer and here I am- in the last week of my internship. On Friday, the interns had their graduation ceremony. Each of the 24 of us had to present a Powerpoint for five minutes on any projects that we had completed throughout the course of the summer. I presented a fact sheet that I had made for the Foundation, and also gave a brief overview on what the Foundation is about, considering the fact that it’s very different from the functions of Avon Products. Everyone’s teams came to support their respective interns. One of my teammates even took a video of my presentation! J

The anticipation throughout the week was pretty intense, as our intern manager had us do a full run-through the day before the real deal. I’m not very experienced in the presentation department, so for the first run-through, I was so nervous that I barely remembered what I had said to the audience! I thought that I would have had the same issue when it came time for the actual graduation, but I ended up feeling calmer onstage during my presentation. Knowing that I had practiced A LOT and that my team was there supporting me really helped to calm my nerves. All of the interns presented beautifully and showed off very interesting presentations of a huge variety.

I expect this week to be busy, as I’m tying up lose ends on the many things that I still have to accomplish. On Thursday, my team is having a farewell pizza party for me, which I’m very excited for. They have been too good to me this summer, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities I’ve been given and the courtesy that I’ve been shown. I hope to update later in the week.

Here I am in the second to last week of my internship! I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by and how much I’ve accomplished in these short summer months! Last week was another busy one, as I attended my team’s potluck “Team Building” dinner on Wednesday and guest speakers on Thursday and Friday during the workday.

The potluck dinner was such a great way to get to know the other members of my team outside of the work setting. I baked my brownie candy cups, and everyone else’s contributions were also delicious. All in all, this party broke up our week nicely and really made me excited about my opportunities at Avon, but sad to leave at the end of this 10-week experience.

On Thursday, the interns heard from the Vice President of Corporate Strategy & New Business Development. Before the presentation, this was an area that I knew little about. However, I was very excited to gain insight on the important part of Avon Products that forecasts business strategies and analyzes tactics to become a stronger company and increase revenue. I’ve learned by now that the once-traditional business strategies are fading, and companies are in competition to utilize the latest models in order to succeed.

On Friday, the interns welcomed another speaker, the Manager of Global Training & Development to teach us about presentation skills and fears in the work environment. I learned that the most important part of a formal presentation is not actually what is said, but how one says it, and the body language that conveys the message. This gentleman allowed us the time to practice our skills by calling us to the front of the room at random, and giving us impromptu topics to present. A few of these topics included: Why should everyone carry an umbrella when it’s sunny? and Why should everyone visit the Beer Can House in Houston, Texas? These topics were purposely made to seem nonsensical, forcing the presenter to think on his/her feet and deliver the appropriate message. Time ran out before I got the chance to present, but I did learn a lot from the other interns’ presentations.

During this week, I am working hard on preparing my final project, which I will present to 100+ people at our Intern Graduation Ceremony on Friday. I am very nervous, but my superiors here in Human Resources and the Foundation are giving me plenty of guidance. I’m looking forward to finally sharing my accomplishments with the rest of the interns and our guests at the ceremony.

Last week was rather quiet at the Foundation, but I have been working on a few interesting projects here at my desk. I’ve been devoting most of my time to a press release that will be sent out to the local newspapers of this year’s 99 Avon Foundation scholarship recipients. The preparation process is long, as I’ve had to find the proper contact information for every publication, and our database is FULL of newspaper, magazine and internet listings. It certainly keeps me busy!

On Thursday, the interns welcomed a guest speaker, the V.P. of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, who talked to us about Avon’s mission to become a greener, more eco-friendly company. I was shocked to learn that every average American consumes 150 gallons of water per day, while the next set of consumers on the list are the British, at only 44 gallons per person, per day. His talk was very eye-opening and inspiring, and I was glad to see that Avon treats our consumption levels so seriously.

On Friday, I was thrilled to have been assigned the task of redesigning the “Foundation board,” which is a bulletin board in our department that displays pictures and mementoes to highlight the workings of the Foundation and all the good that it does for the general public. I’m pretty big on creativity and art projects; in fact, I have 4 self-assigned tasks going on simultaneously at my home in New Jersey. So, I was very excited to decorate the board with printouts from our breast cancer and domestic violence forums, walks, and fundraisers.

This week is going to be full of excitement, as my team will be having a potluck dinner on Wednesday at one of our co-worker’s apartments in the city. On Thursday during the workday, I will be lucky enough to accompany two co-workers on a “site visit” to a potential location of future official Foundation meetings. (I hear they treat you very well when you visit these places). On Thursday evening, I will be a guest at the “mark. Ultimate Party,” where there will be lots of food, information, and giveaways. For some extra information, mark. is the little sister brand of Avon, and the interns in this department are throwing this party to spread the brand’s name, and provide information about what they do.  So, it’s going to be a busy week, but a fun one! I’ll update when I get another spare moment!

Hello again! After reporting on Tuesday’s events, the rest of Week 6 went well, and was full of interesting tasks to complete. On Wednesday, I helped out with a fundraiser for the New York Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Avon’s associate team, which consists of about 50 members, hosted a silent auction in one of our building’s cafeteria. I spent an hour there, informing bidders of the rules and placing a few bids myself. The prizes were all donated from various companies and Avon associates. We had 3 Derek Jeter-signed World Series posters, flower arrangements, purses, watches, Rock Band, salon days, and lots of other worthwhile treats. I wasn’t there for the final hour of bidding, but I imagine it went very well and that Team Avon raised a lot of money.

On Thursday, the interns hosted the Dress for Success Suit Drive. For one day every summer, Avon’s interns advertise and post information and reminders to associates that their un-wanted, lightly-used suits, shoes and business accessories don’t have to go to waste. As a result of this drive, we received about 300 items in one building, and 400 in the other. All collected items will now be shipped off to a warehouse to be sorted. Eligible, underprivileged women in the “Dress for Success” program will be able to visit the warehouse and choose a business wardrobe for a new job, interview, etc. From this program, they will also receive interview skills and resume writing training. I had never heard of “Dress for Success” before this internship, and it seems to be a great way to help difficulty-stricken women get back on their feet.

On Friday, the interns held a picnic in Central Park as a little “team building” exercise. We all brought our own lunch and a dessert to share with the group. I brought chocolate covered strawberries, which ended up being a huge challenge when it came to preserving them from the heat. With a little hoop-jumping and quicker subway rides versus walking, the strawberries made it to lunch time and everyone enjoyed them. After lunch, we played “Catch Phrase” in the Park, but quickly called it a day soon after. It was too hot to stay outside.

Throughout this week, I will be working on my teammates’ varying project tasks, and a little project of my own, which I will have to present to the executives at the end of the internship. I’ve chosen to make a presentation on the Foundation and its mission, and then dive deeper by creating a “Fact Sheet” on some of our grant beneficiaries of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It should be a pretty worthwhile presentation.

That’s all for now; I hope to be updating later in the week.

While I haven’t spoken much of a normal day at the office (which I will address in future posts), I must comment on today’s out-of-the-ordinary series of events at Avon Products., Inc, and its philanthropic counterpart, the Avon Foundation for Women.

I spent my morning drafting and editing turndown letters for the sponsorship requests that regularly arrive at the Foundation. I always enjoy reading the stories of hopeful beneficiaries and organizations, but understand the Foundation’s physical inability to grant all requests, and admire its grace in declining on a positive note. I started a few friendships with my new neighbors in Human Resources, as my cubicle was recently moved due to some space limitations. I’m thankful for these new relationships, as this department’s printer is FAR more complicated than what I had been used to with the Foundation, and that is something that I’m always utilizing.

Following the more typical tasks of the day, I attended two development sessions hosted by the internship program side of Avon. At 11:00 AM, we welcomed the Director of the Supply Chain into our conference room. He spoke for an hour on the invaluable importance of the supply chain for successful business operation, and clearly explained (for the non-business majors in the room like myself) Avon’s process of turning raw materials (ie. makeup ingredients) into finished products, ready for the commercial market. The most successful businesses have efficient supply chains with minimal stopping points along the way, and Avon is always striving to improve its production process.

In the afternoon, the interns re-grouped for a Behavior Development Session, where I learned that I am an “analytical person.” Last week, our leader had requested that we each answer survey questions on our perceptions of our personal behaviors. She also required responses from 5 of our superiors to create a comparison between individual and communal perception of each respective intern. From this valuable workshop, I learned the importance of being volatile in the professional environment, as the ability to adapt and get along with multiple personalities is a positive and highly sought-after quality by employers.

We have a busy week ahead of us here, and I’m looking forward to reporting back at the week’s end.

Hello to my fellow Crusaders and welcome to the blog that will highlight my experiences interning with the Avon Foundation for Women this summer! Between my sophomore year transfer into Holy Cross and my junior year spent in Florence, Italy, I have had little time to spend on the Hill. However, throughout my college career I’ve been focused on my road to the future, and intent on securing an internship for the summer of 2010.

I was thrilled to accept the position as Development Intern for the Avon Foundation for Women while I was preparing for final exams and enjoying my last weeks in Florence. I stepped onto American soil on June 3 and faced a hurried recovery from jetlag, as I was scheduled to report to Avon Products, Inc. in New York City at 8 a.m. on June 7.

Since that day four weeks ago, I have come to understand Avon Products, the Avon Foundation for Women, and my role in its impressive operation. The Foundation sector of the company is closely linked to Avon Products, Inc. and welcomes unending support from its directors. The team within the Foundation tirelessly strives to emphasize the importance of early detection, screening and treatment for breast cancer and places serious focus on ending the delicate issue of domestic violence. To support its mission, the Avon Foundation for Women hosts walks and charity events to raise money and bring the world closer to eradicating these two major women’s health issues.

My role as an intern is all-encompassing; I have met with each of my 14 team members and learned about their areas of contribution to the Foundation. These info-sessions have provided me with a better understanding of the Foundation’s importance as I move forward in completing my project requests. I have spent much of my time telephoning potential sponsors, researching our causes, and carrying out administrative work. Outside of the Foundation and within my team of fellow interns, I have been a part of development workshops, guest speakers, and a field trip to our Research and Development Facility in Suffern, N.Y.

In my time remaining as an intern, I am looking forward to diving further into the Foundation to improve my understanding of its influence as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and to increase both my personal and professional development. Thus far, my experience has been unforgettable, and I am looking forwarding to updating as I continue to learn.