Tara Downey ’19 @ Philips Personal Health

Posted on Posted in Externships, Student Contributor, Summer Opportunities
Tara Downey ’19

Philips Personal Health is a division of the Dutch multinational electronics company Philips which is known for its production of consumer electronics and other small appliances. Philips is present in more than 100 countries.

Where are headquarters?  The headquarters for Philips Personal Health is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but the North American headquarters is in Stamford, CT.

What are some well-known Philips products?  Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes, Philips Lightbulbs (Fun Fact: Philips lights the ball that drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve!), Philips Norelco Shavers, Avent uGrow Smart Baby Monitor, the WakeUp Light, the OneBlade (coming soon!), and many other products!

Their Vision: “At Philips, we strive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation. Our goal is to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025. We will be the best place to work for people who share our passion. Together we will deliver superior value for our customers and shareholders.”

And now, my week with Philips!
On my first day, June 6th, I was greeted at Philips North American headquarters in Stamford, CT by Oahn Tran, Kelly Downey’s administrative assistant. From there she brought myself and another Gettysburg student, Kara, into Kelly’s office where Kelly presented us with our schedule for the week and gave us a brief overview of what Philips is and what exactly they do. And from there, our week began.

Coming into this externship, I knew very little about the business world with the exception of what my parents had occasionally told me. However, by the last day of this externship I felt as though I knew so much more than I did coming into this experience. After attending 3-4 meetings a day, I learned so much about consumer care, teamwork, leadership, analytics, and so many other important functions that go into making a business work.

In order to help both Kara and myself get more acquainted with marketing terminology and concepts, we were instructed to complete six online courses called “passports.” The six categories that we were trained in were: content, analytics, search, social, campaign, and eTrade. With the help of these six courses, we were able to get an idea of what exactly the Digital Media Team aimed to do and how the world of Digital Marketing works.

After completing those six passports, I was able to apply much of my knowledge to a PowerPoint presentation assigned to us by Kelly and Kate Gemmellaro (Senior Media Manager / our other “buddy” for the week) with the goal being to explore the current online activity in Oral Healthcare and present my view of what is currently happening both competitively and on the Philips brands. With my newfound knowledge I was able to apply much of the new concepts and terminology I learned from the passports into my presentation and show what I learned over the course of the weeThe most important thing I learned though is that of the effect and growing importance that social media and digital media have in the marketing world. Digital marketing is taking over most of the market place and most sales are primarily done online these days, especially in electronics. Because of this, it is important to have a Digital Team that runs online analytics, sales, budget, content, search, creation, and much more.

Team building through culinary arts

While I was granted the opportunity to learn many new things in the realm of Digital Marketing, I also got to experience what great teamwork and leadership looks like. A great example of this is that on Thursday we had the opportunity of attending an offsite team building field trip to Culinary Works of Stamford where we spent 4 hours hand making a meal together. It was so great seeing how much everyone loved spending time with each other outside of work and how well all of them worked together. It was also so great to witness so many people who loved their boss as much as this team does. Not only was this team connected in the many meeting rooms they spend their days in, but also in the outside world. It was so great to get to watch and take part in this team building activity and get to know many of the wonderful people on the Digital Media Team both inside and outside of the workplace.

From the very first day, I knew that the business I was shadowing was a special place. A place where the people work hard, a place where the people know their stuff inside and out, and a place that people love, despite the hard work they have to do. And I have to say, Kelly’s team, with the inclusion of Kate Gemmellaro, are some of the hardest working and smartest people I have ever met. Throughout the week, Kelly continuously would tell us how her team was the “greatest,” and by the end of the week, it was hard to disagree.

For every great team, there needs to be a great leader, and that’s exactly what Kelly is. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people would come up to Kara and I and tell us how great of a boss Kelly Downey is or how everyone wished they were on her team. It’s not often that you find an entire team that loves their boss as much as this team does.

As the week came to an end, it was great to reflect back on all the information I learned while being in this environment for a short five days. This externship experience granted me the opportunity to experience a real workplace environment and get to see what jobs are out there and whether or not I think those jobs would be the right fit for me. Many of the jobs I didn’t even know existed! It was such a great opportunity to work with such a wonderful team and I hope to partake in an externship program, or even a career like this one again sometime in the near future!

Thank you so much for having me Kelly & Kate! It was a wonderful experience!