BUILDING JOB SKILLS
Tatum Culhane’s Internship at AVB is Opening Doors

STORY JAKE FREDERICKS | IMAGE HANNAH ZIEGELER

NAME
TATUM CULHANE

HOMETOWN
Kalamazoo, Michigan

EDUCATION
Western Michigan University (WMU)
Advertising and Promotion Major, Management Minor

Expected Graduation: Spring 2019

POSITION
Sales and Marketing Intern at AVB

A DAY IN THE LIFE
I am lucky enough to be a sales and marketing intern at AVB, a leading regional construction company and development firm. I’m responsible for preparing all of our marketing materials and helping to get our properties ready for showing. I also serve as a liaison to the public and make sure that people are informed about new phases of development, different floor plans, and future showings.

LONG-TERM PROJECTS
AVB holds many different events throughout the year that I help prepare for. For example, phase two of our Whisper Rock community in Portage is launching soon, so I have to think ahead to get ready for that grand opening. Also, in the spring we have our Kalamazoo Parade of Homes, our largest event of the year, where we showcase new developments in home building and design. To prepare, I have to coordinate our communications strategy while making sure that the homes are looking fabulous in time.

SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

I have learned a lot when it comes to professional people skills. Facilitating open houses gives me an opportunity to work in the community and form relationships along the way. People usually assume that AVB’s motto, “Build Something Better,” only refers to physical structures, but I think it’s more about building real relationships with real people.

MENTORING
My coworkers have been nothing but supportive since I began this role. We work together on the different marketing materials and are constantly running ideas past each other. Even though everyone has different responsibilities, collaboration is everything. This has been important for me to experience because in college you are usually graded on the work you do as an individual. But in an office, what you can learn from others has an enormous impact on the final product. As an intern, I can’t possibly know everything about AVB already, so to do my best work, I need to know who to look to for help. At the same time, my coworkers know that there are some things that I am uniquely qualified to help with—we all understand that we are on the same team.

FINDING AN OPPORTUNITY
One of my professors at WMU suggested this position to me. She pointed out that AVB was a part of the Monroe-Brown Foundation and encouraged me to apply. I grew up in Kalamazoo, so I have seen AVB signs and communities my whole life and knew right away that it was a terrific opportunity. After that, it was as simple as going to the Monroe-Brown link to start my application. I was extremely fortunate to have been chosen and am making the most of my time here, trying to learn everything I can before I graduate and start a career.

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