A Day in the Life of a United Airlines Intern- Michaela Hrbacek

I work for United Airlines as the Community Affairs Intern. The community affairs department focuses on building and maintaining partnerships with non-profits and building employee engagement and volunteering programs. Employee engagement in volunteering helps work culture, promotes team building and passionate community members, and most importantly benefits those served by volunteers.

United Airlines has over 82,000 employees living on 6 continents. The employees, as well as the customers, are global, which means always being respectful and culturally aware of those around you. There’s a huge variety of careers at United—there are pilots, flight attendants, operations & logistics, corporate support, and so many other roles. United wants their employees happy with the work they are doing, so moving around and changing career paths within the company is very popular and even encouraged.

As the intern in the department, I ran the Adventure Bear program, which is where groups of employees visit nearby children’s hospitals to distribute our Ben Flyin’ teddy bear and activity books. On top of that, I have aided in building out employee volunteer activities with local non-profits in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, and Newark/New York.  My day-to-day activities usually include a lot of communications—I’m either on my e-mail or on the phone, talking with my coworkers in different regions around the U.S., or talking with outside organizations and coordinating events and programs for employees.

While I’m cooped behind a desk most of the time, I get to do really cool things out of the office as well. Just last week, I went to the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball Gala, which included huge companies like Boeing as well as political and celebrity figures like Rahm Emmanuel and James Corden. It’s really cool that I was able to go to the Gala, and sit second row, as an intern. We also do big volunteer events that I get to help logistically set up, and then execute day of. We did a food packaging event where almost 300,000 meals were packed by the top officers and executives at United. It was great to see their passion and commitment to underserved communities. It creates a great company culture, and definitely rubs off on the employees.

I’ve really enjoyed my position at United as a Community Affairs Intern. It’s been great to develop my communication skills—making sure I am concise and clear, getting all pertinent information out there without adding in confusing details. I’ve also been able to develop my skills with Microsoft Office, and most significantly, my excel skills. I’ve been able to work with many departments within the company—government affairs, environmental affairs, and PR, just to name a few. It’s nice to be able to network and create awesome opportunities. I’ve had a great experience so far, and look forward to continuing my work here. The flight benefits don’t hurt either.

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