Robert's Exciting First Week as an Intern at ElementIQ

Robert Sparling
November 13, 2020

Onboarding: How did I get here as an Intern?

In 2018, I had an important choice to make either continue with the job I was at or take a chance.  I chose to take a chance and flip a coin.  I went travelling with my lovely wife and explored the world  and started to realize that life was completely different than working a dead end job.

It was until one morning, I met this guy in Costa Rica who was a Digital Marketer working on his laptop in the hostel I was in.  I started asking him questions about it and what a lifestyle he was living, travelling and working all at the same time.  This got me really thinking that this could be me and I would really love this type of a career.  It was until that moment that everything changed for me.

I now had a completely different outlook on life and couldn’t wait to get started when I got home from travelling.  Knowing that life is all about choices and risk taking I took that risk and joined a company where I learned so much on my own.

Then, hit COVID-19 in late February.  I got laid off and life really threw a curveball at me. It got me thinking it’s time to head back to school and further educate myself.  After three intense months of virtual online learning at BrainStation I graduated with a Diploma in Digital Marketing.  Now it was time to get my foot in the door.

Fast forward a couple months later through multiple interviews and here I am as an intern at ElementIQ.  To top things off even more I had a daughter who was a couple months old during all this and it definitely kept me on my toes.  This proved to me that as long as you have a goal and stay motivated you can do anything.

I felt like COVID19 hit us on the west coast and everything shut down but for me when it hit us I raised up and pushed through and took it as motivation.   Now I am ready to dive into ElementIQ and continue my journey as a Digital Marketer.

person a sunset standing on a rock by water

Photo by Canva

Day 1: The Journey Begins

As my first day was right after Canadian Thanksgiving weekend my belly was full and I was ready to get started.  I joined a Zoom meeting at 10am and met my fellow intern Brian and our mentor Andrea who welcomed us with open arms.  I was introduced to programs that ElementIQ uses like TeamWork, Slack, Passcamp, Humi.  I also set up our email account with ElementIQ and was officially welcomed in.

Now, the rest of the day was 1 on 1’s with the team and introducing myself and learning about everyone’s role and what they do with the company.  I felt like this was a great way to get to know the team and figure out everyone’s role and personalities.  I was told about a team gathering that was going on tomorrow at “The Hive” for rock climbing.

Now, this was a challenge for me as Day 2 of being with ElementIQ I was asked to go rock climbing with the team.  It was a tough decision due to COVID19 but I was up for the task and wanted to meet everyone face to face.  A risk worth taking and further implementing that don’t be afraid to take risks in life.

Day 2: My very first huddle

The excitement from the night before and very little sleep I was thinking about my first daily huddle in my dreams.  What is a daily huddle? Since working virtually we have a daily huddle every morning talking about our Wins (What was our big win yesterday?) and our Big Rock (What is it today that will be a challenge for you?) and Blockers (What is it today that prevents you and needs to be discussed?) and Chatter (Anything to chat about for today?).

It being only 15 minutes long we get all of these questions answered so everyone has a good feeling on how their day is going to go.  Afterwards, I had my 1 on 1 with another intern Brian and learned we both went to the same school (Brainstation) to get here and he actually knows one of my good friends from school (It’s a small world ain’t it?).

Next, we watched a webinar about “Rand Fishkin” on Influencer Marketing and SEO.  Rand Fishkin is founder of Moz and his new business “SparkToro” which is an amazing tool for Digital Marketers tracking consumers movements online.

I learned a lot of valuable information and was glad to know that ElementIQ keeps us updated on webinars that are important to us.  Next up, I was introduced to ElementIQ by Andrea who let us know more about programs ElementIQ uses and how to use them (TeamWork, Slack, Passcamp, Humi).

As the day rolled on we met with Julia who gave us our first real task to do that was based on brainstorming for a client and how we can find them partnerships that make sense mutually.  After that, I spent some time on YouTube and looked at videos that helped guide me on the programs that we use.  After a long day of learning I was excited and intrigued to go Rock Climbing at The Hive and meet the team.  I have to say I’ve only rock climbed a couple times before and I was nervous but excited at the same time.

robert bouldering up a wall

Rock Climbing at The Hive

Day 3: Introduction to ElementIQ Channels and what to expect as an Intern 

Morning Meeting at ElementIQ

The busiest day of the week! It started off with our Daily Huddle and learning what everyone's wins and rocks were for the day.  The single most important information session of the week was right after this with Brian and Andrea.  I learned all the different channels that ElementIQ has to offer potential clients and who is in charge of them.  Paid Search, Local Search, Social Media, Recruitment Services, Analytics, Content Marketing, SEO, Hosting.  Knowing the different channels that ElementIQ uses and operates for our clients was very informative to me and knowing what to expect.

I learned the most important takeaway from this session with Andrea was “The 5 second rule”.  Anytime we look at a website or anything to do with Digital Marketing is to apply this rule.  If we cannot understand what it’s about in 5 seconds then we have a problem and need to change things.

the 5 second rule watch closeup

Photo by Canva

Afternoon Brainstorming

After this, I was asked to take a look at the case study page on our website and find a case study that I would like and write down the “pros and cons” of it.  Next, was another huge topic that I feel satisfied to be a part of which was the “Brand Brainstorming”.

This, for me, was the big win of the day as I got to deep dive and help out with ideas on how we want ElementIQ to feel to potential customers.  I spent an hour brainstorming ideas and coming up with “quotes” and “one liners” and ideas on where I think the brand should go to improve.  It was a great way to show my creativity as a fresh employee at ElementIQ.

Later in the afternoon, I deep dived into another session with Julia and Brian and we learned more about ElementIQ 90 day plan.  Julia who is in control of the business development side of things really showed us what was upcoming in the next 90 days.  I felt this was amazing to see what ElementIQ has in store for the next 90 days and was very grateful for it to be shared with me to help improve it.

Our Weekly Meeting on Thursdays

The end of the day ends with every Thursday we have a weekly meeting where we go over “News” to be talked about whether good or bad and gives everyone a chance to express themselves and let everyone know how their week has gone so far.  I really enjoyed this meeting as it gives me a sense of what co-workers have achieved and struggled with for the week.  The day ended for work but managing time with my daughter was an everyday task too after work that I always look forward to.  This day was a good example of what a day generally will look like on a busy day at ElementIQ.

Intern at ElementIQ

Photo by Canva

Day4: The Success Story of the Founder of ElementIQ

With a short week due to Thanksgiving I was on the final day of week one (Hurray).  I felt accomplished and definitely a successful week with everything that I've achieved.   I am also thankful with what ElementIQ has taught me so far in the first week.

person sitting on a stack books

Photo by Gaelle Marcelle on Unsplash

The Morning Session

The day started off with our huddle of course and everyone's Wins and Rocks and potential hurdles.  It wasn’t until after the huddle when the most important part of the day happened.  Me and Brian met with Founder Sam Araki.  Sam told us how he created and founded ElementIQ back in the days in Calgary.  What a story it truly was and inspiring for me to hear where Sam started to where he is now.  The biggest takeaway I got from the meeting was this quote by Sam:

“This company is bigger than me. It's not just me but it’s everyone involved in it that makes it so special”.

Coming from a Founder who really believes in his workers and doesn’t have that big ego that some founders have is really amazing to hear what kind of person Sam really is.  I highly respect Sam for everything he told us and where the company is now.  I also feel very honoured to be a part of this journey and chapter in my life and to improve my skills alongside him.

The Afternoon Grind

In the afternoon I got a chance to work on feedback from Julia on a previous task and it really was beneficial for me because I learned in order to find potential partnerships for a client we need to figure out everything about them first.   It’s the social media channels, the competitor analysis, the way a partnership would work with a certain client and how we can make partnerships mutually work together.  Next, I was assigned a task on creating a buyer persona.  That’s where I did some research in order to understand who a potential buyer persona could be for a company.

I then had my first weekly meeting with Andrea on how my internship is going so far.  This was my chance to give feedback on how I thought the internship has gone so far and I’ll tell you what I was super impressed with how much learning and information I got from the first week of onboarding.  I was stumped on the question “Is there anything negative about your first week?”.

Well, definitely I have had no negative experiences as it was all positive experiences.  This goes from the teaching point from Andrea and the team to being challenged on strategies and ideas to learning everyone’s stories and how they are here and what they do for the company.  This all settled in nicely to me as everyone at ElementIQ seems like a close family and that’s a family that I am very grateful to be a part of.

elementiq team bouldering hanging from a wall

Rock Climbing Group Photo

So what can you expect as an intern at ElementIQ in your first week?

If you made it this far in reading my post then first of all, I have to say thank you.  This is the story of my journey as an intern in my first week.  Ultimately, being invited into a closely family oriented team is highly engaging to me.  Being welcomed with open arms and not being afraid to ask questions or to be wrong is what we want here at ElementIQ.  Make yourself comfortable and known with the team and respect will follow.

I think for any intern coming into a new challenge and career development in any company is to understand who the company is and what they are made of and the clients they work with.  I felt like this week truly let me know those answers and I am directed in the right direction for weeks to come.

One thing also to note is that my internship seems to be entirely remote and at home during COVID19.  That being said, expect this in the near future and just the challenge of working remotely is a challenge in itself.  It requires getting used to and planning out your day even more so.

For me, this has been a great experience as well as I get to spend more time working from home then commuting in a car or transit for 30 minutes to 1 hour each way to work which in turn gives me more time with my wife and daughter.  It’s a win-win plus I get to control the heat whenever I want (Now that my wife is reading this I’m doomed haha).

So what’s next for me as an Intern?

Stay tuned as this is only one piece of the pie (I'm hungry now).

First week as an Intern at ElementIQ

Photo by David Fedulov on Unsplash


I will continue this journey as an intern at ElementIQ and will continue to give you updates along the way as to where I am and what I've learned along the way.  That is the most exciting part of being a Digital Marketer is each and every other day is not the same as the day before.  Doesn’t that sound exciting to you?

If you have made it this far I thank you for being excited just as much as I am.  Please Stay tuned!

Also, if you are interested in becoming our next intern please do apply below to join our amazingly awesome funky team.

“To Live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all”. -Oscar Wilde

headshot of robert

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