Summer Internship Spotlight: Ziyanda Siyabulela (MiM’23): Management Intern at Gifftid Ltd
Each year, Georgetown McDonough students spend their summers in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world working in corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations. Meet a few of our graduate and undergraduate students in our 2023 Summer Internship Spotlight series.
Tell us about your summer internship.
Gifftid Ltd was a great place to intern. I got the opportunity to work closely with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Grace Almendras Castillo, who is a huge social impact champion. Gifftid is a startup that helps ensure that social enterprises focused on climate and women’s health are financially sustainable. I led one of the company’s largest and first university partnerships with Georgetown McDonough’s Business for Impact. In addition, I supported the meetings, research, and workshops with our pilot client.
How did your internship relate to your professional or personal interests?
The internship opportunity was embedded in service and social impact—which is my passion. I am now a full-time analyst at Heidrick Consulting where our clients are executive leaders, so my internship gave me the tools to approach my full-time job and know how to create a professional atmosphere amongst tenured industry professionals.The internship propelled my leadership, advocacy, and ambassadorship aspirations forward.
How did you find the internship?
I landed the internship by connecting with people in my network and raising my hand amongst experienced professionals. I joined Gifftid through my business partner, who is the co-founder and Africa Lead at Gifftid and the CEO of our South African-based company.
What’s the most interesting or impactful thing you worked on during your internship?
The most impactful thing was being able to solidify our deal in Canada and bring digital skills training to underrepresented communities in South Africa. I was able to use global resources to create programs and offerings for a South African child who had never used or seen a personal computer. Directly linked to that, I was asked to be a youth digital ambassador that advocates for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through Digital 2030, which is an educational initiative by our corporate partners, Digital Moment.
What did a typical day look like?
I began my day replying to emails and creating a priority to-do list. After that I would get on a call with my business partner to make sure we are aligned and have all of the information that we need. Then, I would delegate tasks based on priorities and what was discussed with my business partners. Typically, huddles, meetings, and goal alignment sessions would follow as well. I would do a lot of project management, reaching out to partners to ensure that we are all on the same page, and research about the industry to identify opportunities to discuss in those meetings.
What advice do you have for other students?
When there are any opportunities that you are approached with, be present and be curious. Do not just take information as-is—ask questions and challenge yourself. This way, you can really get a grasp of how well the opportunity aligns with you and your goals. Do not be afraid to fail at something you are trying for the first time. Be brave to raise your hand, even if the opportunity is unpaid, and see the priceless value of learning something new and getting better as time goes!