Cambridge Local First

Ashley Ann Thomas’ CLF Spring Internship Reflection

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My name is Ashley Ann Thomas, and I am a junior studying mathematical economics at MIT. During the Spring of 2020, I worked as a marketing intern at CLF. My tasks included highlighting local businesses on social media and reaching out for membership renewals. Participating in this internship has not only strengthened my skill set but has taught me the important role that small businesses play in our economy.

I had experience in marketing, but no prior knowledge of sales before this position. I learned how to craft better emails in order to get more recipients to respond to my email. I also learned some cold calling techniques that helped me engage the member in conversation. These tasks have certainly improved my communication skills.

In addition to learning new skills, I broadened my understanding of the importance of local businesses. Before this internship, I thought that local businesses delivered the same services as corporations, but at cheaper costs. Through interacting with the CLF community, I quickly learned that small businesses did a lot more than that. Local businesses play a very important role in the functioning of our economy. They create 2/3 of the new jobs and generate 44% of the economic activity in the U.S. In addition to this, local businesses fuel innovation because their small size gives them more agility. Finally, these businesses contribute to the community’s sense of identity. They keep town centers vibrant and build social relationships between community members by advocating for local causes. These new insights have deepened my understanding of role local businesses play in our society.

After seeing the passion these owners had for their craft and the hard work they put into their venture, I was inspired to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey this summer. I will be a part of the Sandbox program at MIT and working with a partner on developing an innovative nail polish product. I hope to use all the skills and resources I learned from CLF to make this idea a reality.

In conclusion, I have gained a tremendous amount of insight by being an intern at CLF. I gained news skills, a new economic perspective and a better understanding of how local businesses function in our community.

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