Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not Just a Job...

I am just barely past the halfway mark of my internship and I have come to the realization that this is not just a job. This past week I volunteered, conducted an informational interview, and participated in a team building event with professional chefs.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy. http://www.grpg.org/Gardens.shtml This area is in the process of transforming from desolate land (homes were removed from this area because of the noise from the SJ airport located next door) to a beautiful garden for the community. We had a group of 7 people which consisted of interns and new grad hires. The garden has so much potential as I learned that it carries 2,600 varieties of roses. I had no idea that there were that many different types of roses!
Our first task was weed-picking! I have no prior experience gardening but they handed us shovels and buckets and we were on our way. Don’t get me wrong, this was not a glamorous experience but I did take before and after pictures of the patch of land that I was working on and it was pretty fulfilling seeing that I had actually made a difference in just a few short hours. Our next task was pruning, which is essentially removing the dead parts of the rose. That was easier because we could stay standing while doing it and it didn’t involve much elbow grease.  
Although this experience has not caused me to grow my “green thumb”, I did enjoy spending the day outside making a difference.
There is a huge emphasis at Brocade on personal development. You can pretty much e-mail or ping anyone in the company to have an informational interview or knowledge share on a project. It is awesome how accessible everyone is and you can see why the sum is greater than the parts through knowledge sharing.
The internal audit / compliance team also had a team building event this past week. We had a Farm to Fork Teambuilding event where we had team bonding over a meal prepared with locally grown ingredients. We broke up into 4 teams and prepared an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. It was a really fun experience and we had guidance from the professional chefs that work in our cafeteria. Here is a link to some pictures: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BladeRunner-Cafe/205855869436231?sk=wall
Through these three experiences, I am realizing that the employees are Brocade's greatest asset and that's why these events were possible.
On the work side of things, I am moving along in my primary project and starting to develop the action steps that I need to take in order to execute. I am creating a SharePoint site as a collaboration tool and a place to store our team documents. We were previously using a different application to store our documents so I’m also in the process of figuring out the architecture for the site as well as a way to organize documents to meet our team needs and also comply with information classification standards. It has been a challenging process learning about all the different types of documents that my team deals with and risks associated with the levels of access, but my manager has been great in guiding me along the way. Every time I have my 1 on 1s with him, he fine tunes my plan and always has a really clear vision of what he wants which is definitely helpful. I also learned that my final presentation here is on 8/30 and I will be presenting to the CFO and his direct staff. I’m already nervous thinking about it but it will give me a lot of visibility and an awesome opportunity to share what I have learned in this internship.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First day at school -- I mean, work

This blog will outline my internship experience at Brocade. Brocade is an industry leader in data center networking solutions and services that enable organizations to manage their most vital information assets. I will be interning in the Internal Audit and Corporate Compliance Department. I am very excited to work at Brocade and it was named as one of the top 10 places to work in 2011: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2011/04/22/125-best-places-to-work-unveiled.html

The first day at work felt like the first day of school. I was nervous and eager at the same time. The first half of the day was dedicated to orientation before we were cut loose to meet with our teams.

I had lunch with my team and got to know a little bit about everyone. In the afternoon I met with my mentor/buddy and went over my intern development plan for the summer. The purpose of the buddy program is to act like a compass, and help provide guidance and support throughout my internship process. My manager put together a wide spectrum of projects leveraging different processes to evaluate controls and compliance and to provide me with an overview of Internal Audit, SOX, and Compliance at Brocade.

In addition to my projects, I learned that I would also attend workshops / seminars with the UDP program. The UDP program is the Brocade University Development Program whcih is to help train and provide support for their university hires make an impact and accelerate in their careers at Brocade. These workshops and seminars would consist of leadership, soft skills, and other types of traning.

This was my first time working in Silicon Valley so it was interesting to see the culture unfold in front of my eyes -- the casual dress code of engineers, and a much more relaxing atmosphere compared to public accounting.