Making an Impact with Office Culture

Tori Ahrendt, Graphic Designer for Frontier

Tori Ahrendt, Graphic Designer for Frontier

The Problem.

When you’re a student looking for internship options in design, you never know exactly what  you’ll find. Are you going to do throwaway projects with zero impact on your portfolio? Will you be overworked, or worse, working for free? Perhaps, you’ll be a glorified errand runner, instead of a designer. Or, will you hit the jackpot and be given an opportunity to create work that has an impact on the trajectory of your career? I wasn’t alone in hoping I’d find the latter.

While opportunities for impactful internships are growing in the design field, they tend to be harder to find, as industry isn’t always quick to realize that students’ time is valuable and your big fancy firm does not provide an experience valuable enough to justify zero pay. 

The Hunt.

So, when I was looking for an internship, I spent plenty of time trying to find a paid position that would give me both tangible experience as well as the ability to pay for my food and rent. 

Eventually, my search led me to Good Marketers Group, which touted a learning experience in my field as well as the opportunity to create portfolio pieces that would help carry me into a design position. 

Also, it was a paid gig, and was my favorite choice from day one. Plus, the position was based in Victoria, BC, which was an exciting opportunity for me to discover what it would be like to live in a new city for the summer.

Staff at Frontier worked with us interns as we learned.
They guided us in the right direction as we developed, giving us more and more responsibility, and as a result, we started to develop confidence in our abilities.
— Tori Ahrendt

The Internship.

I applied with my portfolio of passion projects and student media work, and was lucky enough to get a position as a Design and Art Direction intern. 

When I moved to Victoria, I was not quite sure what to expect. Would the internship live up to everything it claimed to be in its advertisement, allowing me to create meaningful work, and challenge me to grow and become a better designer? The answer was yes.

My fellow interns and I were introduced to weekly team lunches, 32 hour work weeks, bad (and sometimes good) puns, fundraisers, and projects that had a real impact on real people. 

From the start, I knew the culture of Frontier was different. 

I was intrigued by the hardworking and knowledgeable people who allowed me, a newly minted intern, to collaborate on projects that were important for client success and create assets that would be published—where they’d be seen!


The Outcome.

Staff at Frontier worked with us interns as we learned. They guided us in the right direction as we developed, giving us more and more responsibility, and as a result, we started to develop confidence in our abilities. 

I’m happy to say that I’ve learned that Frontier’s interest in you as a person does not change from intern to employee. 

Whether making decisions as a team or as an individual, Frontier is all about offering people the support they need to grab hold of opportunities, make changes and grow. It goes to show that caring about the people you employ can really motivate professional as well as personal growth. It did for me!

The Insight.

By investing in its people, Frontier is continuously evolving, made more versatile by the skills and competencies acquired by staff who are encouraged to become experts in their areas of interest.

Frontier’s acceptance and support of the intern and the employee is what makes its culture so interesting and enticing. I’m grateful for the opportunity this summer, and for everything I learned during my internship. When your abilities are recognized, you can truly create impactful work—and Frontier is in the business of impactful work!