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How to Make an Impact as an Intern

Intern Impact at Athene

October 11, 2021

It is a misconception that time limits your involvement in a company as an intern, but there are ways to overcome this obstacle. Nina Norton, Athene intern, took advantage of the opportunities her internship provided through the following:

  • Forming connections and celebrating differences with Employee Resource Groups (ERG)
  • Engaging actively through volunteering
  • Value of an in-person internship

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 2021 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.

Often, interns may feel limited by the time constraints on their stay at a company or by the learning curve that comes with onboarding at a company. I found that, if you’re willing to put yourself out there and engage actively, you can make an incredible impact in a short period of time.

During my time as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) intern at Athene, I had the opportunity to make an impact in the company. I knew I wanted to get involved beyond my day-to-day tasks, and I wanted to use this opportunity to build a network for myself that I can utilize throughout my professional and personal career. Following Athene’s BEAM values (Believe in your co-workers, Engage actively, Act like owners and Make it happen), I enabled myself to be successful. Athene allowed me to do this through various employee resource groups, volunteering and an in-person work experience.

Forming Connections + Celebrating Differences with Employee Resource Groups (ERG)

At Athene, there are eight employee resource groups. These groups are designed to create a smaller community of individuals that want to do more to advance the company’s DEI goals. The ERGs work to promote inclusivity through a specific focus area. The ERGs include:

  • Advancing Abilities Partnership (AAP): Increases awareness and enhances partnerships with people with disabilities.
  • African American Athene Connection (AAAC): Brings awareness to the life of African Americans at Athene and increase knowledge and opportunities.
  • Athene Military Veterans Organization (AMVO): Offers the ability to network with other corporate military veterans and/or family members and collaborate to support those who have served.
  • Athene Asian Alliance (AAA): Celebrates Asian cultures in the workplace and builds connections in our communities to attract and retain Asian employees.
  • Bermuda Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Promotes and celebrates diversity and inclusion in the Bermuda office and the local community.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning Employee Resource Group (LGBTQ+ ERG): Works to foster an inclusive work environment where sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the individuality encouraged and respected.
  • LiveWell: Encourages healthy behaviors and provide activities and resources that empower our employees to live well.
  • Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN): Provides opportunities for women to connect with and support each other through personal and professional development.

Within these ERGs, employees strive to educate employees and volunteer in the community to help create an inclusive environment at Athene. One of the best parts about the ERGs is that they allow interns to join for the summer. I was involved in AAA and WIN, and I learned about different cultures and found co-workers that shared the same values as me. The ERGs showed me the power of community and how Athene values what each individual brings to the company.

Engaging Actively Through Volunteering

Athene stresses the importance of giving back and engaging actively in the communities where we live and work. During my short three months at Athene, I was able to volunteer internally and externally. I spent an afternoon volunteering for Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity with my fellow interns where we learned about the communities of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and how rewarding it is to give back. Beyond the intern event, Athene hosts many internal events you can volunteer for including Stuff the Bus, which is an annual book drive on behalf of United Way that Athene leads in partnership with SHAZAM, another DSM-based business. Being on these various committees and attending events allowed me to meet people from different departments and dive deeper into the culture of Athene.

Value of an In-Person Internship

I was beyond thankful that my internship was in-person this past summer. Athene could provide this experience because when considering returning to the office during COVID-19, they did it in a way that prioritized safety. While there were a lot of factors that contributed to the decision, the key driver was: the power of in-person collaboration and socialization. Being able to be on the campus enhanced my relationships with co-workers. I had the opportunity to work with executives directly including the SVP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the EVP of Human Resources. I was able to get lunch with other interns, my department and staff from different departments. The Athene campus is set up for a highly collaborative environment, and I took advantage of that opportunity.

My biggest piece of advice for interns joining a company for the summer is to show up and get involved. Go to work every day willing to listen and learn. At Athene, I had the chance to work with smart people who were willing to give me immense amounts of knowledge. It was my job to absorb this information and put it into action. An internship is an opportunity for personal and professional development and growth. Because I committed fully to Athene and my internship, I left feeling confident and was offered a full-time offer starting the following May. I am excited to continue my career with Athene and grow more in my professional and personal life.

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 2021 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.

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.

Nina Norton

Nina Norton is a DEI intern at Athene USA. She is a senior at the University of Iowa, majoring in HR management, with a minor in Chinese and certificate in international business with an expected graduation May 2022.