“Providing internship opportunities…changes the whole equation” -Eduardo J. Padron
On June 14, 2021 I had the opportunity to interview Natasha Mecklenburg, a private client advisor at Gregory & Appel Insurance located in Indianapolis. I met Natasha at a Rotary Club meeting a week beforehand, and hearing how her intern experience changed the trajectory of her life truly inspired me.
Natasha’s story begins in Zimbabwe, Africa. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe, until she migrated to Switzerland to further her education. Natasha found her niche for hospitality and hotel management early on, which led to her attending an international hotel management university located in Switzerland. This university wasn’t your average college campus, but rather a mock hotel run by the students. During her first few years of school, Natasha had the opportunity to complete two internships. When the time came for her chance at a third, her campus hosted a seminar with White Lodging. White Lodging was a hotel property management company looking to host college interns at their different hotel locations all over the United States.
Natasha jumped at the opportunity to travel to the States, but more specifically, to travel to Indianapolis. In the fall of 2011, Natasha made her way to Indiana where she was one of the first employees of the newly-built JW Marriott! Natasha says she chose Indy over all the other locations offered because she wanted to work for the largest JW in the world at the time.
Natasha was not alone in choosing to complete an internship in Indianapolis. In fact, she met international interns from places like Mexico, Asia, and Europe. The internship lasted one year, and after it was completed, Natasha went back to Switzerland to finish her degree. After graduating, she came back to Indiana and her position at the JW, but wanted a change of pace. Natasha took an entry-level management position at the Omni Severin Hotel and stayed there for a few years and worked up the management ladder. The next stop for Natasha was the Meridian Hills Country Club, and then finally landing her present-day job at Gregory & Appel Insurance.
The most inspiring part of Natasha’s story is that none of this would be her reality if she hadn’t taken the opportunity to intern out of the country. One internship opened doors she never thought possible, and led her to create her own path.