Reflecting On a Summer of Brand Strategy: Q&A With Grasslands’ Marketing Intern Erick Rivera



“I was supported by a team that gave me the space to be creative and take risks”

In June 2021, Grasslands launched our new Diversity-in-Marketing internship program. Now, at the conclusion of a 12-week run, we’re happy to report that this year’s internships were a tremendous success for both our interns and our entire team. 

This paid internship program is part of our Indigenous-owned agency’s commitment to attract, develop and retain diverse, high-potential early-career marcom talent. 

Our Founder and CEO, Ricardo Baca, started his 20-year career in journalism with an internship that offered valuable opportunities for professional development, and this is our agency’s way of paying it forward. He recognizes the challenges of forging a career path out of school and the value of having a head start in developing a professional network and learning exactly what it’s like to work at a fast-paced agency. 

Here, Grasslands Marketing Intern Erick Rivera tells us about his experience and how it will help him going forward into his senior year at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business


Visit our Careers page to learn more about open positions at Grasslands and the Diversity-in-Marketing internship program


What’s your biggest takeaway from your internship?

This experience was immersive—I learned so much about myself and the industry. I gained knowledge about the functions of an agency operating in regulated markets as well as the dynamics of making and maintaining relationships in this space. I worked with an amazing team that gave me the resources and space to be creative and expand my responsibilities. I learned about the growing importance of integrated marketing communications and how Grasslands is preparing itself to own that space in cannabis and beyond. I was given the opportunity to network and meet other professionals in various industries, which gave me more insight into the careers that are available—but more importantly, the careers that are needed. 

What was the most meaningful work you did over the summer?

I think every project was extremely meaningful in my development as a professional, but if I had to choose the most meaningful I would say it was the brand evaluation for Grasslands. It forced me to take an external perspective to an agency that I was working to become a part of. It taught me the importance of understanding what it means to be a strategic thinker and how difficult it can be to embody the voice and tone of a client. It challenged me to network with leadership to better understand their goals and visions of the agency and to build recommendations to align that vision. It taught me the important lesson of balancing client work while continuously marketing yourself for future growth.

What did you gain from this internship?

The top three gains from this internship: Knowledge, power and adaptability. Knowledge about the industry and available career opportunities. Power in owning my work and choosing my direction. 

Adaptability, a crucial skill to have in communications and at agencies in general, and the ability to shift priorities and work around the schedules of other people was so fundamental to my experience as an agency professional.

What did you contribute during this internship?

In the most humble way, a lot! And it is something that the team has praised me for, and I appreciate it. I contributed to the development of the Grasslands brand, and I offered strategy and perspective when appropriate. I supported important projects relating to improving the efficiencies of the agency, and I conducted research that will contribute to future marketing strategies.

Is there anything you would change about the internship?

No, and in the best way possible, I had the privilege of expanding this internship to be more than the original job description. Not only because I am learning to understand the depths of my capabilities but because I was supported by a team that gave me the space to be creative and take risks. Everyone that I interacted with was eager to talk to me and was extremely helpful. I never felt underprepared or lost, which speaks to the collaborative nature of the Grasslands culture.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Geographically? No idea. Mentally? I see myself thriving, taking risks and changing lives. While this internship has answered many questions about the marcom industry, it has also created many more. What does it take to start my own brand from scratch? What other industries are emerging and how are they going to change the world? How can I make the world a better place through marketing and communications? I see myself leaning into my curiosity and letting it guide me.

How has this internship helped shape your professional goals and plans?

It has allowed me to gain meaningful hands-on experience in an agency culture, a unique one at that. It has reshaped my ambitions. Seeing the pride that fellow colleagues and clients take in their work has me wanting more ownership of my work. The idea of creating and maintaining a brand from the ground up is so invigorating. It has also left me craving so much more experience. 

What’s next for you?

Finishing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is priority No. 1. I am also working on finalizing plans for a semester abroad, possibly in Argentina.



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