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Falling Into Place in Des Moines

Lily Badofsky Athene

September 12, 2023

Athene USA is proud to offer a comprehensive, fast-paced intern program for the next generation of talent in the financial services industry – all right here in Des Moines. Members of the 2023 Athene internship class were asked to share their experience and why a Des Moines-based company was the place they chose to spend their summer.

Lily Badofsky, a 20-year-old Iowa State University student, originally from Chicago, has enjoyed expanding her connections and life in Ames, Iowa. But this past year, she decided she wanted more and continued her adventure to Des Moines. Choosing to leave her hometown was hard, but Lily found she could make a ‘home’ in Des Moines.

New Home

My journey to Des Moines, Iowa started when I attended Iowa State University’s Business Career Fair. Athene stood out to me as an innovative company where I could see myself thrive. But more importantly, I could picture myself moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM) for the summer — and beyond if the opportunity presented itself — so I took a leap of faith, applied and here we are.

Outside of gaining invaluable career experience, getting familiar with Des Moines, and specifically, Downtown Des Moines (DSM), has been a whole journey within itself. Even though I am a short 45-minutes away, I’ve only been in the area a handful of times. I was a little apprehensive about moving to a new city where my connections were limited, however, I immediately felt so comfortable and overall loved the energy here.

There is a certain charisma here that is both fun and unique. I have enjoyed expanding my horizons. The Downtown Farmers’ Market stood out to me the most. From amazing food to hand-made accessories, there is so much to see every Saturday morning, as well as being the perfect way to connect to those living around DSM. Supporting local artisans and farmers is something I am passionate about, so I was pleased to experience the support the community has for The Market. My day is always made when I can interact with different Iowa natives and learn about their farms and businesses.

I also enjoyed going to Iowa Cubs games with my coworkers. With many attendees my age, I was able to meet other interns who were also working and living in DSM, and I appreciated learning about their experiences.

Community and Connection

In addition to loving The Market, I was fortunate enough to connect with the Des Moines Community through the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s DSM Intern Connection Program, the Athene sponsored Big Grove social and attending events at Smash Park with other Athene interns. Social networking events are a perfect way to enhance your professional and personal connections, as well as get to know the area. Connections and community are most important when creating the foundation in a new home. DSM is very up and coming, and I was lucky to experience firsthand the personal and professional growth offered. With all of that, I would suggest anyone interested to take the leap and see what your options could be in DSM.

Finding the Right Fit in Des Moines

Outside connecting with the community, it is important to love where you work. As I was researching the companies at the career fair, Athene’s culture stood out to me — I could tell the company prioritized their employees, and my experience has reflected that. Athene encourages and places importance on strong workplace connections; just from my short months here I have developed friendships that I can carry through the remainder of my college and professional life. There are so many ways to get involved at Athene whether that be through social events, volunteering or employee resource groups.

My advice for other young professionals thinking of leaving their hometown or moving to Des Moines would be to do your research — attend your school’s career fairs, ask for recommendations on cities and companies and trust your gut! Find what draws you in and remain open-minded.

If you’re interested in an internship with Athene during summer 2024, learn more at athene.com/internships. You can also read about fellow Athene intern Jordan Anderson’s experience in a previously published blog as well as how staying involved in intern events via the DSM Intern Connection kept both interns engaged in their experiences.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive. 

Lily Badofsky

Lily Badofsky is an Information Technology Intern at Athene USA. She is a junior at Iowa State University, majoring in Finance and Business Analytics with an expected graduation date of May 2025.