Career Connections


Isabelle Armstrong

Major: Event Management



Company/Organization: Des Moines Arts Festival
Company/Organization website: https://www.desmoinesartsfestival.org/
Destination: Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: Summer

Advisor/Coordinator Email: rmcclain@iastate.edu

I was responsible for...
My main areas of focus were; the Community Outreach Program, musicians/bands, and food vendors. I worked closely with my supervisor on the collection of paperwork and payment for musicians/bands and food vendors along with creating contracts for them. I was the main person in charge of the Community Outreach Program. I helped with the creation of the application and the selection of the the non-profits that would be apart of the 2019 Festival. I was then in charge of creating all their contracts, gathering insurance requirements, and working with each non-profit to improve their interactive arts related activity to be up to the standards of the Des Moines Arts Festival. During the Festival I was in charge the Creative Zone where all the non-profits were located and assuring that everything was running smoothly and coming up with quick solutions for problems that occurred.

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishment was watching the Festival come to life. You spend months planning and making sure everything is good to go, so it is very rewarding to watch it actually happen. Setting up for the Arts Festival was a week long process with very long and hot days. When it finally came time for all of the artists and non-profits and food vendors and bands to come on-site it was so exciting. It was very rewarding to have non-profits come up to me and compliment me on my work and say they would like to connect with me in the future. Overall, my greatest accomplishment was being recognized for my hard work and being part of the creation of an amazing festival.

I learned...
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my experience was to overcome all the barriers you've set for yourself. If you think you're too weak to set-up a giant stage, think again. Jump in and do it. Be open to trying new things and just go for it. You supervisor will recognize your ability to be flexibility and explore new experiences and will start to challenge you more. In the end you will gain experience in areas you never thought you would. So then, when it comes to the future you will have specialized experience and skills you can offer. Also, a positive attitude is everything! The 2019 Des Moines Arts Festival took place on the hottest weekend of the summer. I worked 16+ hour days outside in a heat index of 111 degrees. Staying positive and making the best of the situation is really what got me through it all.

Advice for others...
Focus on what you really want and chase it down. If you see a posting for your dream internship, go for it! I chose to do my internship going into my Junior year and I'm so happy I did. It has made me hungry for more knowledge and want to pursue more experiences in the event industry. Make the most of the city your internship is located in. Go to professional development events, do a summer intern series, get coffee with your fellow interns. There are so many experiences waiting out there for you, have fun and try something new!

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