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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Student starts a nonprofit after canceled internship

Spera holds up a Facebook page that she helped redesign. PHOTO COURTESY OF KAITLYN SPERA

Marketing major Kaitlyn Spera ’21 expected to spend her summer working at Quality Value and Convenience (QVC) until her internship was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Spera said she was nervous once her internship was canceled because she could not find another one for this summer.  

“I applied to all these places and they all got back to me saying that because of coronavirus, they weren’t hiring anymore,” Spera said.

Knowing that she could not waste her summer, Spera said she started to reach out to small businesses in her area that were struggling because of the pandemic, offering them free marketing services.

“I figured that I could use what I know from marketing to help them,” Spera said. “I just put out a post on Facebook about it, if anyone needed my help. Then all of these businesses in my area got back to me.”

Spera said she was not expecting 40 businesses in the Malvern, Pennsylvania area to reach out to her, so she had to make another Facebook page to keep her nonprofit organized. 

Originally, Spera said she was planning to manage her clients’ social media pages, but when she began working with them, they wanted her to do more. 

“I am offering advice for [my clients] on certain things they can do to increase their engagement or reach, creating their social media pages, or getting more people [to view] them,” Spera said. 

Spera’s first client was Independence General Contracting located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shannon Bickert, co-owner of the company, said she has no time to keep up with her marketing.  

“Now you get into all these crazy new apps with all of the pictures and videos and things like that, and I just can’t keep up with them,” Bickert said. “I don’t think a lot of people can keep up with them.”

Bickert said Spera’s experience and background in marketing has helped with the company’s social media pages, website and merchandising. 

“Kaitlyn is young, she’s hip,” Bickert said. “She knows those things. She is able to take pictures in better quality than I [can]. She just knows what to take.”

Lacey Russo, owner of Solace Sleep Consulting located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, said she wanted to work with Spera for help with more creative marketing initiatives.

“I think she is younger and probably has better ideas than I have, so I thought this is a great opportunity for me ,” Russo said.

Much of the work Spera has done so far has been in organizing and planning, but she formally started working with all of her clients on June 1. 

“I am in the process of scheduling Zoom meetings to learn more about [my clients’]  missions and what their goals are,” Spera said. 

Spera said her success is opening opportunities for other students as well. 

“I obviously can’t do it all myself, so I put [a request] on LinkedIn if anyone wants to help me,” Spera said. “A lot of different students in the same position as me reached out wanting to help.”

Spera said she is now helping others guide businesses in their areas, and she is excited to see how things will progress.

In the end I just hope that I have a positive impact on my community and the businesses in it and help them generate more sales or become more well-known in the area” Spera said. 

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