It was November. It was cold and dark out I remember. I was going about my ordinarily mundane antics of making ramen and reading up on 20th century American history when I got a phone call from my mom. She explained to me that there was “this programme” that she thought I should apply to: 100 Black Interns (now 10,000 Black Interns). I looked through it, I thought it looked promising. Given the misery of the first lockdown being revived with the then-recent showing of Part 2, I thought: “I’m bored, I have nothing to do and what have I got to lose?” so I made an application to see where it would end up. In a twist of fate (and 5 months later) I ended up with an offer from Edelman!

Honestly, I had no expectations when it came to walking through the “gates” to a new chapter in my year, because I didn’t know what to expect. I tried to get as best of an understanding as I could for what my first day at Edelman would be like so I could prepare myself for something completely new (we’ve all been there, checking YouTube and socials). But no amount of thinking or imagination could have truly prepared me for what the reality was; being greeted directly by Ruth Warder (Co-CEO of Edelman UK) on my first day, and having lots of unfamiliar faces reaching out to greet me. The friendliness with which I was embraced was like being welcomed to a club or society, worlds apart from the cold entry and largely superficial interactions I was used to at some previous workplaces.

Here at Edelman, I feel like my team, and everyone else who I have had the honour of speaking with, genuinely loves what they do. Everyone seems invested in the work they do, and they do it with passion. My first line manager Caitlin, as well as everyone at the Nissan desk, gave me that feeling. The team always came in looking determined and relaxed, ready to tackle the charades of the new day, using their experience to deliver to clients. Even when the ship was being rocked by waves of pressure, everyone kept their cool and worked things out by talking it through quickly and effectively.

Now that I have left this team, I expected to feel a little bit more isolated and for that ‘warm embrace’ period to fade. Yet again I sit here astounded that I have not in fact been forgotten, but actually, I’m still given the same level of attention, respect and communication as before. This suggests to me that having a solid community is truly what the company is about; this being quite similar to their pride in being experts at building positive relationships - I can certainly vouch for this personally.

So with this, I look forward to carrying on being a part of this amazing work culture and want to thank everyone for their never-ending kindness. Signing off now!

Damian Alvarez is currently one of ten young professionals interning at Edelman UK through the 10,000 Black Interns initiative.