Meet the Intern Who Has Been Named CEO of a 5,000-Person Company for a Month
My name's Savannah Graybill, I'm 27 years old, and I'm the new CEO of Adecco Group North America, a human resources solutions provider that employs about 5,000 people.
Well, at least for the next month anyway.
Confused? I thought so. Let's take a second to back track and get you all up to speed.Two weeks ago, I traveled down to Jacksonville, Florida, to Adecco's North American headquarters to compete head-to-head against six seriously incredible finalists in a week-long boot camp.
The prize? A once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity to shadow Adecco CEO Bob Crouch and many other top Adecco executives for a month.
The boot camp was intense: It was jam-packed with activities, competitions, presentations, and seminars during which each finalist was evaluated on their leadership qualities and their embodiment of the Adecco core values.
At the end of a chaotic, but amazing week, I was selected as the winner of the internship, which pays $10,000 for the month. I felt honored to receive the gig, especially considering there were over 2,000 applicants and all of the finalists were wonderful. We all had an amazing time bonding and I wish they could continue the journey with me.
I'm a little bit of an unconventional intern. I graduated in 2010 from American University and shortly after, I was encouraged to consider either Skeleton or Bobsled as a sport and loved Skeleton.
I took a leap and haven't looked back.
Since graduating, I started working on my MBA from DeVry University's Keller Graduate School and I've spent the past four years on the US National Skeleton Team and I'm an athlete in the US Olympic Committee's Athlete Career and Education (ACE) Program.
Last spring, I joined the program as a way to start preparing myself for my eventual life-after-sport, and to find a part-time, flexible position that I could take on while training.
Instead of worrying about my future, I decided to do something about it. The ACE Program helped me to get my résumé together and perfect my interview skills. Adecco is a sponsor of the USOC and that's how I learned about the CEO For One Month internship opportunity.
The first week on the job has been pretty overwhelming.
As an athlete, I'm used to hard work, risk, and travel. After all, I hurl myself down an ice shoot hitting speeds of 75-plus miles per hour, so there's not a whole lot that scares me. However, the corporate world is completely foreign to me. I've never seen the inner workings of a business, or worked so closely with such important people.
Because of such, the most nerve-wracking part of starting this internship is being unsure of what my role will be and where I'll fit in. I'm obviously very, very green in this situation and although I certainly don't want to be a passive observer, I clearly don't have the experience to be fully engaged either.
I do feel like I added value to some of the client meetings I've attended thus far and luckily I've had fantastic leaders and mentors who have made me feel comfortable, who have answered all of my questions, and who have challenged me along the way. I don't think I've been pushed so far outside of my comfort zone in quite some time, but I'm excited to roll with it.
This week had a pretty heavy travel schedule (four major cities on both coasts) and my first meeting of the internship was at eBay Enterprise. (Did you know that the holidays happen in Kentucky? The employees in the Louisville factory are the ones who pick and pack your orders!) As you can imagine, a lot of planning goes into their busy season and it was an eye-opening experience to see what it takes to make this happen. After that, I was off to the West Coast for a series of other meetings.
Fortunately, I wrapped up my first week in Colorado Springs to meet with executives from the USOC. At last I was on home turf. After breakfast, we headed to the Olympic Training Center where we took a great tour and I even got to challenge Adecco's CEO Bob Crouch to a little competition. It was a fantastic way to end the week before jet-setting back to the East Coast.
The most important lesson I've learned this week came from the President of Adecco Staffing, Joyce Russell.
She always says that no matter what company or line of business, it's all about the "who": the people. When it comes to building a team and creating a sense of community with one's organization, it's not always about finding someone with the perfect skill set, it's about finding the right people. The people who best align with the company culture and values, and to whom you can offer the best experiences and opportunities are the ones that often succeed the most for a company.
Next week's adventures include a live TV interview with WJXT, a local news station in Jacksonville, meetings in North Carolina and Michigan as well as a quick weekend trip to my home town. I'm definitely looking forward to the interview on Monday. As a broadcast journalism major, all things television related are right up my alley.
If you're interested in following my month-long journey, feel free to check out my Twitter (@savannahjane1) and Instagram (@sgraybill25) accounts.
Savannah Graybill is a graduate from American University (2010) with a degree in broadcast journalism. She is a resident athlete at the United States Olympic Training Center and is training to compete for a spot in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. As Adecco's intern CEO, Graybill will write about her experience every week on Business Insider.