Data, Design, Dogs





There’s something truly special about working for HarperDB. I try to explain to my parents and friends from school about all the different experiences and new exposure I’ve gained, but it’s hard to put into words an entire summer filled with learning, designing, and completely leaving my comfort zone. Sitting in the office yesterday, I was listening to Kaylan and Stephen’s constant “witty banter” and I realized how much I’ll miss that along with Fred’s few spoken sentences a day and the overall easy going yet hardworking and determined atmosphere at HDB.  

I took this internship because I knew working with a small team was exactly what I needed. My introverted personality wanted to work closely with people and learn from them directly, to make and have a personal connection long after the three month internship had ended. I knew from my small, liberal arts school in Iowa that the family atmosphere was important. I also wanted to explore the marketing path too because my last few experiences have strictly been related to graphic design. I was excited to work with HarperDB because of their potential and their growing success too. Learning about marketing, data, and design was only the half of it. HarperDB taught me about entrepreneurship too and what it takes to be a dominating business in today’s world.        

This team has not only expanded my knowledge on database and tech, but I’ve learned how to be myself and trust in my ability. When Stephen explained HarperDB’s core values on my second day I thought of them throughout all of the work I was doing this summer. Now, as I take the time to reflect, I realize they have played an even bigger role in what I have learned from the entirety of this internship.         

To Focus // We believe that focus leads to the creation of high quality products, happy customers, and a happy team 

This summer I was challenged to really shift my creativity and focus. When it comes to design, I understand that unless I have a purpose and a passion for the work I’m doing, the end goal of producing a design that I’m happy with is very difficult. Designing data centered graphics and writing social posts about concepts that I didn’t always understand has been a challenge and at times I’ve been left with no ideas at all. Yet, the focus we believe in at HDB has allowed for my growth here. I’ve had to really find creativity in both design and marketing and focus more than ever to use my talents to match them to HarperDB. Creativity can be possible in all disciplines with focus and determination to do better.   

To Empower // We believe that no person stands alone. Good teams are comprised of individuals that are empowered to operate with freedom while owning their flaws and celebrating their victories 

I’ve learned that being empowered happens often when working with eight determined people. It becomes invaluable. My team, especially Kaylan, has given me freedom to be creative and original which has allowed me to be better in all components of my internship. We use each other for guidance, but are also expected to problem solve on our own, giving us the liberty to explore new ideas and achieve. I was empowered every day this summer by my team with both constructive criticism and praise. Both recognized as victories and allowing for success in our overall company atmosphere.  

To be Transparent // We promise to always be honest and transparent, and to admit our weaknesses as clearly and honestly as we tout our strengths

Being a design major comes with perks. Designs are in your hands, people trust you to create something beautiful and thought provoking, and most of the time there’s a lot of freedom. All the research, late nights, and hard work finally pay off. These perks come with a lot of responsibility however, and I continue to learn about this as my career evolves. At Harper DB, we strive to be transparent and know our weaknesses. I came into this internship lacking confidence in my ability. I was shy, and speaking out about new ideas was difficult. I often became frustrated in previous circumstances because my creativity was saying yes, but my brain refused to voice an opinion. Stephen helped me see this anxiety as a strength rather than strictly a weakness, which may have been one of the biggest learning moments of my life. He was right, and I now understand that those weaknesses can be used as strengths just as easily.  

To be Authentic // Believe that the key to the success of each individual is to encourage them to be themselves 

I think this was the value that has helped and taught me the most. Since beginning my studies in design, I’ve lacked confidence in myself and the work I was doing. I could create a piece that was the best in the class or was even in an award show and still have doubts. I was nervous about starting at HarperDB because I was the only designer in the company. But after the second week, I was already working on changing the website and creating brand new graphics. Stephen and Kaylan acknowledged my lack of confidence and forced me to design better, write better, and overall have a better perspective on who I was in this intern position. There was pressure and high expectations, but it made me see that I could do what they expected. I’ve never really thought about being authentic in my work, but after a full summer of learning from a team that barks authenticity, I’ve been able to express my individual style and know that it’s considered important and making an impact. 

I’ll be going back to the midwest with a new bout of confidence, ready to use my talents and trust that I was meant for a career in design, marketing and overall creativity. I’ll be going back knowing that I had to say “see ya later” to a team that cares so much about HarperDB’s brand, but also about every individual working there. Although I rarely spoke and didn’t joke or show my sass as much as I’m sure Stephen would have hoped, I still felt as if I had a home away from home right in the middle of downtown Denver.         

An internship like this doesn’t come along often and I feel so lucky to be the first intern at HarperDB. Home has given me the opportunities to learn and grow, but Colorado and HarperDB allowed me to step away from everything that felt constant and safe. Not only did I get to see dogs every day at work, but I also got to be with people that were ready to accomplish whatever they set their mind to doing. They are growing and ready to be a database company like no other and I’m grateful for getting to learn just a fraction of what this team has to offer. HarperDB has created something better than anything out there, and it’s due to this team’s compassion, love, and persistent characteristics they all possess. All of it is inspiring, and I will take that with me in so many facets of my life.

I was meant for a career in design, marketing and overall creativity. I’ll be going back knowing that I had to say “see ya later” to a team that cares so much about HarperDB’s brand, but also about every individual working there. Although I rarely spoke and didn’t joke or show my sass as much as I’m sure Stephen would have hoped, I still felt as if I had a home away from home right in the middle of downtown Denver.         

An internship like this doesn’t come along often and I feel so lucky to be the first intern at HarperDB. Home has given me the opportunities to learn and grow, but Colorado and HarperDB allowed me to step away from everything that felt constant and safe. Not only did I get to see dogs every day at work, but I also got to be with people that were ready to accomplish whatever they set their mind to doing. They are growing and ready to be a database company like no other and I’m grateful for getting to learn just a fraction of what this team has to offer. HarperDB has created something better than anything out there, and it’s due to this team’s compassion, love, and persistent characteristics they all possess. All of it is inspiring, and I will take that with me in so many facets of my life.