Introducing the interns — Meet Natacha, Nelson and Mirthe
All good things come in threes, right? We are delighted to welcome three fresh faces to our team. Meet Natacha Liesenborghs, Nelson De Coninck and Mirthe Vercammen (from left to right), our newest interns! They arrived bright-eyed and a little pixelated (WFH situation, check!), so we sat them down for a little chat about their childhood dreams and hidden talents. We’ve added a little game down below, where each of them has created a collage that represents them. Can you connect each intern to his/her collage?
Hi, guys! Tell us about your studies. How do they relate to your internship?
Natacha — “I am currently finishing my bachelor in Communication Management at Thomas More. After two general years we get one year of specialization and I opted for Public Relations. During the first months, I received PR-related courses, such as crisis management, influencer PR, purpose PR and languages. I also learned how to get in touch with PR-experts. I started networking and I even created my own blog which allowed me to upgrade my copywriting and storytelling skills and step out of my comfort zone. Cool, right? There was no doubt for me; if I wanted to gain even more experience in the PR field, I was obviously going to opt for a public relations company.”
Nelson — “I’m already six years into my studies. I’ve changed majors two times because I have various interests that I wanted to learn more about. I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in China Studies and a master’s degree in Economics and am currently aiming for a second master’s degree in Corporate Communication. This internship incorporates a lot of the things I’ve learned so far. From writing press releases to tackling PR questions: it’s fun to put the things I’ve learned in theory into practice and further develop my skills.”
Mirthe — “I hold a bachelor’s degree in Communication Management with a specialization in Public Relations. I also started a bridging programma to a master’s degree at KULeuven, but it drained me and I lost a lot of confidence, so I switched to a bachelor-after-bachelor’s degree at UCLL. I'm currently studying Advanced Business Management - Digital Marketing & Communications. My first degree relates to this internship like a twin sister *laughs*, whereas my current studies have broadened my horizon in the digital marketing sector. I feel like PR and digital marketing complement each other really well these days.”
What is it about our agency that drew you in?
Natacha — “The purpose of the agency! You got me at ‘holistic approach’, ‘working for conscious brands’ and ‘leading the trends’. Sustainability is a value that’s important to me, so when I came across MARNIX and ALLY, I noticed right away that it was on the same mission as me. Besides, I immediately detected the trendy and innovating vibe.”
Nelson — “I first came into contact with M and A through my Instagram account. I mainly post about my colorful interior, design, plants and of course my two cats. I liked the agency’s fun but professional approach to influencer marketing and after a nice talk with M and A member Ineke at an event, I felt like MARNIX and ALLY would be a great place for me to gain my first work experience. So far, no complaints ;-)”
Mirthe — “S-U-S-T-A-I-N-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y. That says it all, doesn’t it? *laughs* No for real, I can feel the love for our planet through my laptop screen. Moreover, I landed in a team of kind-hearted and ambitious people who obviously adore what they are doing. So the overall positive atmosphere surrounding the colleagues and the brands is what drew me to MARNIX and ALLY.”
What are you most looking forward to learning?
Natacha — “I am keen to improve my copywriting skills, evaluate press relations, learn how to create adapted content and gain some more software skills for e.g. Photoshop and Prezly. I’m also looking forward to work in group for communication plans when launching a new brand or event. Overall, I am hoping to develop both my individual skills in blogposts and research, as well as team-related skills in the famous Press Dates.”
Nelson — “As an influencer in the interior niche I’ve experienced one side of influencer marketing and I’m really excited to learn all about the other side too. This is my first internship, so I’m looking forward to gain some hands-on experience and to be able to do this in a young, dynamic team is a big plus!”
Mirthe — “I am hoping to leave the student life behind, so what I really look forward to is improving my skills and gaining the confidence to finally take that big leap into adult life. I also look forward to meeting new people and adding more value to my personal network.”
How do you explain what you do to your parents?
Natacha — “Public relations is still a mystery to some parents but luckily, my parents are up-to-date! When explaining my work to others, I say that PR Managers are the crew behind every brand’s communication. All brands need public relations to broadcast them in advertising, events or press releases. Some people think it’s similar to journalism, but I’ve got my list ready to debunk that one. The tone of voice is very different in public relations, and we also work with influencers. Public relations is the necessary tool for each brand to be represented according to their wishes and values.”
Nelson — “I live on my own and due to COVID I rarely see my mom or dad, so I’m not even sure they know I’ve started my internship yet, haha!”
Mirthe — “Okay, so you know all of these brands you buy clothes, make up and shoes from? In public relations you help these brands gain more exposure and you connect them with matching influencers/audiences. But there is more: organizing the showroom, sending out PR packages, writing press releases, social media management, … I’d probably ramble on for another ten minutes after which they will likely ask me if it’s like working in the commercial sector, like advertising and I’d give up hope that one day they’ll get it!”
What makes your day?
Natacha — “To be honest, I love good food. If you want to make me happy, the key to my heart is cooking some delicious - preferably Asian - food. Since the lockdown, I learned to spend more time on myself. Something else that makes my day is reading a book and bingeing some YouTube. If we’re talking about a weekend or week, it would definitely be a city trip!”
Nelson — “My cats, obviously. They bring me lots of joy every day and even though they sometimes distract me while I’m working from home, I wouldn’t have it any other way. :-)”
Mirthe — “A beautiful thing that these months of lockdown have taught me, is to enjoy every single second of my day. Waking up to the first rays of sunshine, getting a cup of coffee with some frothed soy milk, doing my skincare routine and screaming along to my favourite feel good songs. All of these things (plus a constant positive attitude) get me through my day with a smile.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Natacha — “Growing up, I wanted to be pretty much everything. It started with being an actress, then evolved to becoming professional writer, singer or dancer. Each time a little less realistic ;-). More seriously, after giving up on the idea of becoming a dancer, I wanted to be a middle school teacher. I kept this dream alive for six years. Surprising, ‘cause I didn’t like going to school. It came from my passion to help, educate and inspire people and my urge to give insights and purpose. Just before I graduated high school, I decided I didn’t want the same routine any longer and I preferred working with young adults rather than kids. That’s when I came across communication studies, which would allow me to communicate with lots of people and share my passion for writing, sustainability and trends.”
Nelson — “I don’t remember having this one dream job I wouldn’t stop talking about when I was a kid. Something I do remember is that as a kid, I really liked singing and dancing. I used to want to perform for friends and family when they came over. The only thing that stood between me and world fame was that I was terrible at it, so now I only perform in the shower.”
Mirthe — “My love for animals has been overwhelming since day one, so initially, I really wanted to become a professional equestrian. After my ‘crazy horse girl’ period finally came to an end *laughs* I wanted to become a photographer, which has now become a great hobby of mine.”
Any hidden talents you would like to share with us?
Natacha — “I shouldn’t be proud of this, but I can crack about every part of my body. Furthermore, I have a golden memory. At school we would play the game ‘remember as much names as possible’ on the first day. I was always the best one, slaying every single name of the newbies in no time. It’s also nice when talking to friends and bringing up old memories in detail. I’d say I’m pretty fond of this talent!”
Nelson — “Unfortunately I’m still looking for them myself. If I ever find one, I will make sure everyone knows about it, though. ;-)”
Mirthe — “In my spare time (before COVID reared its head) I dance, more specifically modern dance and showdance. Besides that, I also love to dig into vintage stores for hours and hours on end to find the most beautiful and authentic pieces.”
Answer to the collage query: Nelson's collage is yellow and contains two cats, Mirthe's collage is purple and features a blue Togo, whereas Natacha's collage is green and showcases the Atomium in Brussels.