Drinking from the Firehose at Team Rubicon

Membership intern Alexis Knott speaks on the pace, community, and ethos of Team Rubicon.

For the last six months, I have worked alongside an awesome team. Hailey, Marann, and I formed the HAMmers on the Field Operations team. We weren’t quite the Intern Dream Team that came before us, but proved we were equally as awesome. Pat Ross acted as our fearless leader, giving us constant reminders to come up with our own solutions and check our grammar. Intern turned full-time employee Kate Browne joined later guiding us through my first international mobilization: Op Condor Flight in Ecuador. These are the people with whom I had the pleasure of kicking some disaster ass, albeit, remotely.

Interns extraordinaire Marann Finger (left) and Alexis Knott (right) helped deploy Greyshirts to over 20 operations during their tenure.

Interns extraordinaire Marann Fengler (left) and Alexis Knott (right) helped deploy Greyshirts to over 20 operations during their tenure.

“Your first two weeks are like drinking from a fire hose.” 

Marann provided the best introduction to this team and how we operated to support responses throughout the world. When Marann first told me about this fire hose of information, tasks, to-dos, and projects, I didn’t know what she meant. Then she and Hailey pitched me head first into the duties of a TR intern. Closing out operations, responding to feedback, and both of their gleeful assertions that I set up a “personnel planning tool” on my own made up my first official day. I didn’t know how to do anything, but I had to push back against the blast of water headed towards me and learn. It helped to have my fellow interns nearby to correct my mistakes and give me important advice after the fact.

Six months ago, Alexis joined the TRibe of Greyshirts as a membership intern at Team Rubicon's national office.

Six months ago, Alexis joined the ranks of TR as a membership intern at the organization’s National Office in Los Angeles.

“Use we, not you. You’re part of the team now.”

The first volunteer support huddle of my internship, Pat corrected me after I marveled at the amount of work membership did. Saying “your work” wasn’t accurate. It was “our work.” I was on the team.

Interning at TR gave me a sense of community that other work experiences have not afforded me. I have the National team, who were always accessible for questions or friendly ribbing. Working closely with Hailey and Marann expanded to everyone else. Everyone from the IT team who sits in front of the interns, simultaneously exchanging questions and nerf gun darts, to Comms or TRaining walking over with a question on member reports or the member experience with Module 1.

And of course by virtue of working for membership, I connected with TR Nation, 35,000 Greyshirts strong. It was a relationship marked by emails, operations, national projects like Clutch Proposition or NOC Knock, and large scale events like Run as One. These were (and are) projects that enable members to serve others and inspire a sense of purpose in ourselves.

Disaster response is a serious business, but we don't take ourselves too seriously.

Disaster response is a serious business, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

“Get shit done.”

This mantra rings throughout every aspect of TR and is the absolute requirement of being an intern. Marann, Hailey, and I formed an elite team knocking out projects, running endless (ENDLESS!) reports and occasionally asking one too many questions. We got shit done and proved we could finish a project anywhere. It calls to mind the weekend we began planning Op Condor Flight following the earthquake in Ecuador. I jumped on a briefing call, and quickly notified Marann to do the same. We resolved to begin looking for flights for a recon team before the rest of membership had caught up, and after a several long hours helped Kate Browne get a team together and ready to go the next day. We got our shit done.

We’re now cycling through to new interns. Marann and Hailey have recently left and I’m the last HAMmer standing. I get to help our new teammates, Allie Rose and Mkena, adjust during my last month while knowing the experience I gained learning from this team will serve me well as a TR member and an active citizen of the community. See you on the next one, TR.

So, a word of advice to new interns joining this fantastic team. TR is an extraordinary experience. It’s hard demanding work. You may drink from the fire hose for a while, but the sense of purpose, accomplishment, and comradery you gain will make it all worth it in the end.

Alexis served under Deputy Director of Membership, Pat Ross, during her tenure with TR.  Thanks for your contributions. Go forth and kick ass.

Alexis served under Deputy Director of Membership, Pat Ross, during her internship with TR.
Thanks for your contributions, Alexis. Go forth and kick ass.

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