Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog



Here at Hagerty, we truly believe the advantage is our people. In honor of National Intern Day this month, we are highlighting some of Hagerty’s Interns to discuss their professional development and what led them to the Hagerty team. This summer, Hagerty recruited a diverse group of interns from many different locations, educational backgrounds, and professional interests.

1. Tell us about yourself and how your path led you to Hagerty Consulting.

Kai Barrett-Bennett: I am currently studying on the pre-law path at Emory University. This summer, I wanted to begin expanding my work experience into the office space, and my position as an intern for the Human Resources (HR) department has helped me accomplish that.

Grace Maliborski: My name is Grace Maliborski, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently, I am pursuing my Master of Public Health, focusing on biosecurity and disaster preparedness at Saint Louis University (SLU). Coincidingly, I am an intern in the Hospital and University Program within Hagerty. This internship fulfills my practicum requirement for graduate school. With the assistance of SLU alumni, I found my place within Hagerty!

Rachel Olatunji: I am a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University, majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in psychology. I started working at Hagerty Consulting the summer after my sophomore year of high school as a finance and accounting intern. I have always enjoyed administrative and organizational tasks, so I wanted my first job to be in an office rather than a typical restaurant or retail position. I have continued to work here ever since. This summer, I am also participating in a sports marketing internship at Northwestern University alongside working at Hagerty.

Sydney Williams: I am based in Mobile, Alabama, and am currently wrapping up my final semester of college at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) as a marketing major and graphic design minor. I was introduced to Hagerty through my parents, who have worked as independent contractors supporting disaster recovery operations, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Public Assistance (PA) program, for the last few years. Inspired to learn more about the industry, I began taking free independent study courses in my spare time between college classes through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and perusing Hagerty’s hiring page on their website. As soon as I saw a digital marketing internship, I jumped on the opportunity, and the rest is history.

2. What is something you learned during your internship that you’ll take with you?

Kai Barrett-Bennett: I learned during my internship experience the importance of networking and finding opportunities to grow your career.

Grace Maliborski: I have learned something new every day that I have spent with Hagerty! As most of my course work focuses on preparedness and mitigation, something that I will definitely take with me is the exposure I have received to the recovery and response divisions. Disaster response and recovery are extremely important facets of emergency management, and I am grateful to have been introduced to them through my work this summer. I have also learned that emergency management professionals come from very different backgrounds, which leads to Hagerty having a diverse staff with extensive educational and professional experiences. 

Rachel Olatunji: Something I will take with me from my time at Hagerty is how to communicate when dealing with a challenging situation. In my first summer as an intern, I was responsible for auditing expense reports for Hagerty’s employees and consultants. As a 15-year-old, emailing people I’d never met was daunting, but I learned how to communicate my needs to them confidently and professionally. 

Sydney Williams: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given during this experience is to “embrace the discomfort.” This internship has taught me that personal growth rarely occurs within comfort zones. Some of my proudest achievements as an intern have occurred when I pushed myself and took risks within my various tasks. The great thing about the Hagerty is that even when you go out on a limb, you have an endlessly supportive team behind you that’s motivating you to succeed. As I move forward in my career, I will continue to push myself and reclaim discomfort as progress of my personal growth.

3. Which of the firm’s core values resonates with you the most and why?

Kai Barrett-Bennett: The value of integrity is what has stood out to me the most this summer. During my brief time in HR, I have seen how Hagerty puts what is right above what is easy.

Grace Maliborski: The core value I have felt most through my work this summer is teamwork. With Jeff Bokser, Vice President of Healthcare and University Programs, as my preceptor/supervisor, I have had the opportunity to meet people in many different divisions of the company who have offered me amazing advice and insight. As an intern, I have been able to collaborate with various teams while observing and adding to their work. The more time I spend at Hagerty, the more this core value of teamwork reveals itself. 

Rachel Olatunji: The value that resonates the most with me is integrity. I believe that loyalty and honesty are two of the most critical components in all relationships, and those two values fall under the umbrella of integrity. Having integrity in the workplace means being dependable by consistently showing up to meetings on time and doing what is expected of you so that others can successfully do their jobs.

Sydney Williams: Hagerty’s core value that resonates the most with me is innovation. In an industry like emergency management, where the playing field is constantly evolving, organizations must regularly innovate and adapt to the challenges of change. On a personal level, innovation in action means challenging my own thinking and adopting a mindset of continuous improvement to be the best that I can be.

4. What are you passionate about outside of work?

Kai Barrett-Bennett: Outside of work, I am an avid soccer fan. I closely follow the United States (US) and Jamaican national teams and am also a Liverpool Football Club (FC) supporter.

Grace Maliborski: At the beginning of the summer, I moved to New York City (NYC) and have since enjoyed exploring the city’s boroughs and scenic running routes (there are so many great running spots here)! In addition, I have enjoyed finding lots of great thrift stores and purchasing some sustainable new clothes.

Rachel Olatunji: I am truly passionate about sports and cooking. I played soccer, tennis, and basketball year-round for all four high school years and thoroughly enjoyed the competitive energy and team camaraderie. In addition, I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, as my mom instilled that joy in me at a young age. During my freshman year of college, 15 of my friends and I took a trip, and I got to cook all the meals for everyone. We had a great time listening to music while enjoying the yummy smells in the kitchen.

Sydney Williams: Outside of work, I am passionate about baking and spending time with my friends and family. Baking has always been a therapeutic activity and creative outlet for me. In addition to work and school, I have run a home bakery business for the past few years, selling cakes and decorated sugar cookies. Thanks to my friends and family, I always have a long line of volunteer taste-testers.

5. Where is one place in the world you would like to travel and why?

Kai Barrett-Bennett: I would like to visit either Australia or Brazil. These two countries’ cultures and natural landscapes have always intrigued me.

Grace Maliborski: As SLU offers a campus in Madrid, Spain, many of my friends had the opportunity to study abroad there, encouraging me to move Madrid to the top of my list! In addition to its historical architecture and rich Spanish culture, Madrid is also known for its pedestrian-friendly streets as one of the world’s most walkable cities.

Rachel Olatunji: One place in the world that I would like to travel to is Greece because my mom and I have been talking about making a mother-daughter trip there for the past few years. We always enjoy traveling to new places together. I also really enjoy fashion and think Greece would be a great destination to pull out some of my more exciting outfits.

Sydney Williams: I have a long bucket list of places I’d like to visit, but Wyoming has long been at the top of my list. Specifically, I would love to go to Jackson Hole and visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

To learn more about Hagerty’s team of professionals, visit our people page here.


Kai Barrett-Bennett is a second-year student pursuing pre-law at Emory University. Kai has supported the Hagerty team as an HR Intern since June 2022 and hopes to gain administrative and office experience this summer through this opportunity. 

Grace Maliborski is a first year graduate student pursuing an accelerated Master of Public Health degree with a declared concentration in biosecurity and disaster preparedness at SLU. As part of her Masters program, Grace is completing a practicum with Hagerty as a Recovery Intern within the Healthcare and Universities division. 

Rachel Olatunji is a second-year student at Vanderbilt University, majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in psychology. This summer, Rachel continues to serve as Hagerty’s Finance Intern, in addition to participating in a sports marketing internship at Northwestern University.

Sydney Williams is finishing her final year of undergraduate studies at USM where she will graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Marketing this Summer 2022. Sydney is currently supporting Hagerty’s Communications team as the Digital Marketing Intern and aspires to continue her career at the firm upon completion of her remaining courses.