An internship of meaningful work and invaluable experience

Published December 13, 2017
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Nicole Belair, far left in front row, has been a valuable member of the Sylvia Group team as the agency's Marketing and Communications intern.
 
By NICOLE BELAIR

Marketing and Communications Intern

There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than the first day of anything — school, a new job, an internship, you name it. But what’s even more difficult is taking on something completely unknown. With that in mind, you can understand my nerves as I walked into Sylvia Group headquarters for my first day as an intern at an agency specializing in insurance, employee benefits and financial services.

I had learned about the position from Amelia Alburn, the internship director at UMass Dartmouth, who thought the job would be a “good fit” for me. I knew nothing about insurance except that I had it, but my education in marketing and English made me feel qualified enough to put myself out there. Boy, am I glad I did.

When Sylvia Group offered me the Marketing and Communications internship, I happily accepted — but then terror set in. While my duties would primarily be within the marketing department, I still needed a basic understanding of insurance, benefits and financial services to succeed at my job.

Over the course of my first few days, I met with nearly every individual who works at Sylvia Group. Though more than 30 back-to-back meetings in two days was slightly overwhelming, it was an incredibly beneficial, positive experience. Learning about each role painted the bigger picture for me, helping me understand the inner-workings of the company and the industry. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and eager to talk to me about their various responsibilities. They seemed to genuinely care about my own personal background as well, and they assured me that they would always be willing to answer any questions I would encounter along the way. Any anxiety I had about entering into an industry previously foreign to me quickly dissolved.

During my year at Sylvia Group, I've worked closely with Vin Sylvia, the agency's Director of Marketing and Communications. Like the rest of the employees here, Vin has made me feel incredibly welcome. He trusted me with challenging projects, gave me many opportunities to learn the basics of the industry and validated that this was the career path I would like to head down. I felt treated as an equal, not just an inexperienced intern who might have been in the way.

People often joke about internships, that they’re more about fetching coffee than gaining any practical experience. At Sylvia Group, this is not the mindset at all. I felt as though I was actually contributing something, not just doing the work that no one else wanted to do. I produced valuable marketing materials for the company, assisting in the creation of print and digital marketing content. I helped assemble presentation books, drafted blog posts, updated and created various website pages, and even became certified in Inbound Marketing through Sylvia Group’s marketing platform, HubSpot.

While I've studied English and communications in college, what has been most valuable about this internship is that I have had the chance to take what I’ve been learning in the classroom and apply it in a professional setting. This position has also demonstrated the importance of marketing and certainly prepared me for my career after graduation.

Through this internship, I've learned what it feels like to be a valued employee in a welcoming, professional atmosphere. Sylvia Group truly is a team of friendly, smart, genuine people who care deeply about their clients, their co-workers and the work that they do.

Sylvia Group recently adopted the slogan “We Make a Difference.” And, for me, they’ve done exactly that.

To apply for the position that's made such a difference for me, click on the button below.

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About Nicole Belair and Sylvia Group

A talented writer, fast learner and all-around nice person, Nicole Belair graduates from UMass Dartmouth this week with a bachelor's degree in English. Sylvia Group has been very fortunate to have her as a Marketing and Communications intern.

Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing insurance, employee benefits and financial planning programs. We’re a locally owned agency known for our commitment to our clients and our community, as well for our industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence.

Students who have worked as interns at Sylvia Group during the past three years have gone on to positions including account executive at Racpoint Global in Boston, email marketing specialist at Displays2go in Fall River, script intern for "Late Night with Seth Meyers" at NBC Universal Media in New York City, and account executive here at Sylvia Group.

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    Testimonials

    • “I come in contact with many insurance brokers in the course of my practice – even more so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Some are ill-prepared or still in denial. Others call me from the car on the way to a client meeting asking for a summary of the ACA in ten minutes. On the flip side of this coin is the Sylvia Group agency. Their clients are very fortunate to have a broker who is knowledgeable about employee benefit matters. The fact that Sylvia Group invited me, an ERISA lawyer, to conduct a live client seminar on the new ACA employer information reporting requirements indicates to me that they are engaged in the process and they care about their clients.”

      – RICHARD A. SZCZEBAK, Esq., RAS Law, P.C.

    • “By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”

      – MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford

    • “When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill White immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”

      – EVELYN BETTENCOURT, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering

    • “Sylvia Group is very resonsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We knw we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”

      – GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

    • “Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”

      – CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group

    • "Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."

      - MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.

    • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”

      – KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

    • “The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”

      – JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.

    • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

      - PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

    • “I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”

      – PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium

    • “I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”

      – SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client

    • “I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”

      – CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client

    • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

      – LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

    • "Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."

      - WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC