Our #SummerOfPurpose blog series follows this year’s Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns as they reflect on 11 weeks spent working with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations. In today’s blog, we hear from Joey Leppo, who spent his summer at the Cleveland Foundation helping track and organize project elements and assisting in the experiential brand design and installation process for our new headquarters building.
Name: Joey Leppo
College: Cleveland Institute of Art
Hometown: Yokosuka, Japan
Internship Host Site: Cleveland Foundation
What has been the most valuable aspect of your internship experience?
I think the most valuable aspect of my experience has been the chance to talk with and make connections with others at the foundation, including designers and architects currently working on the new office space for the foundation.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your internship experience?
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of my experience was managing my workload. I was given many tasks throughout my experience working as an intern, but through some time management, I was able to finish my tasks effectively.
When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?
When I’m not working, I enjoy skateboarding in my free time. The skate scene in Cleveland is great, and I’ve met a lot of new friends and interesting people through skateboarding here. I’m also an artist, and Cleveland has a great art scene as well that I like to be involved in.
What are your career goals after college?
I hope to get a job working with a design firm, working in interior and architectural design or graphic design. From there, I would like to eventually transition into doing freelance work, being able to work for myself and allowing myself the freedom to pursue my own creative endeavors as a result of that.
How has this internship helped you grow professionally?
Professionally, I’ve grown in my ability to make connections with others and just being able to talk and work with others in a professional setting. I’ve always been a bit of an independent worker, and through my internship experience with the Cleveland Foundation I’ve learned a lot about working with others and meeting deadlines.
How has this internship helped you grow personally?
Personally, this internship has helped me gain more confidence in myself and my work, and it has given me more sense of direction on where I want my career to go. I’ve always been a bit of a quiet, reserved person, but through this internship, I feel that I’ve grown more outgoing and gained the confidence to stand more on my own.
What’s your favorite public space in Cleveland?
My favorite public space might be the West Side Market and the surrounding restaurants in the area. I’m a big lover of food and cooking, so the days I’m in the area I’m always sure to stop by and pick up a few things to eat.
Where would you take a friend who is visiting Cleveland for the first time?
If I were to have a friend visit Cleveland and the dates happened to line up, I would take them to Ingenuityfest. I went one year on a whim with friends and was completely blown away by what I saw at the event. Art, music and a thousand other things were all happening within the same space, and it truly made for a memorable experience. I ended up going again the following day just so I could be sure I caught everything that was happening.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program?
I would tell them to go ahead and apply and to really value the connections you make through the program.