This summer Catalyst Ranch, a unique meeting venue in Chicago’s West Loop, welcomed the first intern in its history, Jocelyn Hernandez.  Jocelyn is a Schuler Scholar who is currently studying at Denison University and preparing to study abroad soon in Ecuador! She was an incredible addition our team and kind enough to find time in her very busy schedule to share some of her thoughts about her summer at the Ranch.

Jocelyn1As I stepped off the Metra train after the hour and fifteen minute ride, so many thoughts were going through my head. During my walk to Catalyst Ranch, I found myself asking questions like “Will I fit in there?”, “Is this polka dot dress too flashy?”, and “What should I expect?” Throughout the summer I slowly started to answer these questions one by one.

Little did I know, I was just as curious as everyone else at the Ranch. Everyone here has many passions and those pursuits are gladly welcomed and encouraged by the rest of the staff. Whether it be performing stand-up comedy or acting in a play after their shift, everyone’s interests and talents add to the atmosphere here at Catalyst Ranch.

I slowly began to figure out how I fit into all of this. I was nervous that my lack of knowledge of the marketing and operations fields would be a roadblock to my work; however, it was my lack of knowledge that gave me a fresh outlook. Since everything was new to me, I was able to add a new perspective. This is what makes Catalyst Ranch the place it is: a combination of old and new perspectives combined to facilitate innovation. Soon I saw how much the eclectic physical space reflected the people who keep Catalyst Ranch moving forward every day.

Throughout the summer, I worked on many projects. I started off with simple research projects; then I transitioned into bigger projects like creating a marketing video. One of the most memorable projects from the operations side was researching food trends and incorporating that information into a seasonal menu to give our guests a variety of great catering options for their meals at the Ranch. Other projects include helping our Social Media Sorceress, Arin, take care of our social media platforms, especially our growing Pinterest page.

My most recent project was devising, filming, and editing a video that will supplement one of the resources we have here at Catalyst Ranch, Pogo’s Activity Arcade.  Every day I learned something new, from how to operate a small business to developing marketing strategies that work back to the simplest things like preparing snacks that will be enjoyed by our meeting attendees.

At the Ranch, I was able to try things I had never done before and everyone was right behind me, cheering me on. I was able to take projects and run free with them in the inspiring environment of Catalyst Ranch. It was that freedom that I was able to truly learn the most from. There are no limitations here at the Ranch!

This summer has been incredible, definitely one for the books, not because I got to venture into the city, not because I met a group of people who truly represent what creativity and imagination mean, not because of the incredible opportunity I was presented with, but because I got to do so many different things and learn from each of them.

I remember sitting outside the Haymarket Square Building near the statue that marks its history, calling my mom, freaking out because I knew so little about marketing, and I definitely did not know anything about the meeting and event industry. Now on my last day, I walk away from Catalyst Ranch reluctantly, leaving a place that has helped me grow.

Thank you so much, Jocelyn, for spending your summer with us at the Ranch! You were a tremendous asset to our marketing and operations departments. We will certainly miss your bright smile, your can-do attitude, and your hilarious stories at lunch time!