By: Hannah Allpress on October 26th, 2020
Collabrance Team Spotlight: Hannah Allpress, Sales Development Representative Intern
Our sales intern, Hannah Allpress, shares her experience working at Collabrance.
Hi there! My name is Hannah Allpress and I am a junior at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. I’m currently studying marketing on the professional sales and management track with a certificate in leadership studies. I am originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, along with my parents, sister, and two furry friends—Walle the cat and Rosa the dog.
My history with Collabrance and its parent company, GreatAmerica, dates back to my formative years; my dad, Jay, has worked at GreatAmerica since 2017, and through him, I was introduced to one of the company’s marketing directors when I was a senior in high school. I applied for an internship that summer, and, at age 18, found myself interviewing for my first real job. During one interview, I was so nervous and excited that when my then future manager asked if I had any questions, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “so when can I start?!” Fortunately, I did not blow my chances – I was hired as a summer help intern for GreatAmerica’s Connected Technology Group.
When I walked through the doors of the GreatAmerica building for my first day on the job, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be. I spent that summer assisting with simple tasks and Salesforce.com data clean-up, which lead me to my true passion: sales.
My manager encouraged me to schedule “informational interviews” to meet with a member of the sales team from each GreatAmerica business unit each week – so that’s what I did. For one hour each week, I met with a different sales representative from GreatAmerica or Collabrance and soaked up all the advice I could. My fascination with sales grew, and these meetings quickly became the highlight of my week. At the end of that summer, I took all the sales reps’ advice, packed up my belongings and moved to Iowa City to begin pursuing my marketing sales degree.
While my new college schedule kept me busy, I was always looking forward to the day I could get back into the GreatAmerica building to expand my hands-on sales knowledge even more. The summer following my freshman year, I was fortunate to land a second internship at GreatAmerica, this time as a rotational sales intern. This more sales-focused position strengthened my skills and passion further; I was given the tools and advice needed to succeed, and I set out to pave my path in sales. When that internship came to a close, I was offered the opportunity to join Collabrance as a sales development representative intern, working alongside Collabrance Director of Sales, Hannah O’Donnell, and her team.
If it seems like each internship has been better than the last, that’s because it has! My time at Collabrance has been, in a word, a dream. I am a 20-year-old, full-time college student with a lot to learn, but Collabrance has given me the trust and opportunities to begin building a legitimate sales career. Not only do I have the privilege of learning about the world of managed IT from highly-experienced professionals, but I get to talk to and interact with our customers and prospects daily. For any intern my age, it’s rare to find an opportunity that lets you learn from real-time participation rather than simply observing or doing “intern work.” Getting to actively participate in and even lead conversations with our customers is giving me invaluable real-world exposure that a classroom just can’t offer. My sales and IT knowledge has grown leaps and bounds this year, and my professional confidence has soared, too. Making my first sales call was terrifying, but being pushed by my mentors is exactly what I need to grow as a young professional. Every conversation I have makes me a stronger person and team member.
I recognize how unique it is to see someone at my level have so much tangible experience, but that’s what makes Collabrance and GreatAmerica so special. I’ve never been treated as less-than or “just an intern;” instead, I’ve been welcomed with open arms as a true member of each team I’ve been a part of. My internship journey has been profoundly rewarding, and filled with respect, inspiration, kindness, and guidance. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.