After two summer traveling internships and more than a year as a full-time employee in the AJGA communications department, Abby Liebenthal has accepted a media specialist position at the Tiger Woods Foundation. Read about Abby's journey from intern candidate to full-time staff member and see how the AJGA helped open the door to her new and exciting position.
Some of you may know me as @AJGALiebs, Alie Benthal or the short girl running around with a camera. But four years ago, I was simply Abby – freshman journalism student at Indiana University, with aspirations of working at [insert dream job here].
With a lot of ambition, but little direction, I decided to meet with my internship advisor my freshman year of college. She introduced me to a number of internships across the country. After discussing my interests, all signs pointed to the American Junior Golf Association. When I finally reached the age requirement, I went through the application process and received the golden ticket to the Internship Recruiting Weekend (IRW).
I arrived in Atlanta, scared but excited, and tried to absorb as much as I could about the organization. I’m not going to share the details (sorry, scout’s honor), but I left the weekend thinking, “Wow, everyone who applied is so qualified.” I had no idea what the outcome would be.
What I did know: I was going to “insert dream job here,” with the AJGA.
As you can guess, I got the internship! I was fortunate to spend 13 weeks with a fabulous group of eight individuals from all across the country. When you mix a Sabres fan (who?), a Sconnie, an NCAA shot put star, southern drawls and Midwest accents, it’s bound to be an interesting summer.
With my intern team in 2010 at Aspen Golf Club.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of our AJGA internship blogs; if you haven’t, check them out. Many of the stories are different, but interns are bound to learn similar lessons. Lesson No. 467: through making compromises, bumping heads, laughing through delirium and leading by example, teamwork is possible.
Since I completed my first internship the summer after sophomore year, I was elated to do it all over again as a communications assistant before my senior year. My friends described me as a jetsetter, bouncing around the country with my ginormous red L.L. Bean bag (yes, I can fit in it).
As an assistant, I found that I was in limbo. I was not a full-time employee at the AJGA, but I definitely wanted to be one. I was still an intern, but I had more responsibility and was supposed to lead by example. I learned a lot about myself that summer. Figuring out how to work with different people of various personalities and working styles was definitely a challenge, and that is a trait that I will carry with me forever.
So if you’re following along still, you’ll see a progression.
After IU beat the University of Kentucky basketball team with “Watford for the win!,” I received a little miracle of my own. It was the call I was waiting for all year. I had received a job offer in the AJGA communications department. Two weeks after graduation, I packed my bags and moved to Atlanta.
Finally, I’m getting to the good stuff!
My first year as a full-time staff member at the AJGA was a whirlwind. I acquired The Insider, found a voice in my @AJGALiebs Twitter account, learned about a completely different side of the organization and dove further into the inner workings of junior golf.
I tried to immerse myself into the AJGA culture. Walking into the AJGA National Headquarters instantly feels like home, where I am welcomed each day by family and friends. Not many people can say they work alongside their best friends.
The third floor of the AJGA was a fabulous group of people, who I thankfully had the pleasure of working closely with. Each day was filled with brainstorming, Buzzfeed breaks, bursts of excitement and pushing ourselves to make each element of our work perfect. It’s so hard for me to simply call them coworkers. They are planners, decision makers, designers, photographers, bloggers, reporters, dancers, comedians, artists and innovators – all mixed into one.
Outside of the office, my adventure expanded beyond my expectations. The AJGA was very supportive in my spontaneous ventures – from working the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, helping at the Drive, Chip and Putt regional finals, and attending the 2013 Solheim Cup – always wanting me to bring back ideas from these events.
That's me! Third from the right at the 2013 Solheim Cup.
And lastly, I cannot leave out the players. Having the opportunity to follow the careers of so many talented golfers has been the most rewarding part of my AJGA experience. Through their fist pumps, tears, frustration and laughs, I was able to see the AJGA mission in action. I heard about players’ philanthropic efforts through Leadership Links and felt the gratitude from juniors who received assistance with the ACE Grant program. I watched as hundreds of junior golfers signed National Letters of Intent, each reaching the point in their own journey that we worked so hard to foster. And through it all, I’ve been honored to proudly say that I was with the AJGA.
My AJGA story may not be extraordinary, but to me, it was perfect.