Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Hagerty Advantage – Our People: Maddy Brown, Tyler Friesen, and Zinzi Steele

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 year, Hagerty’s interns support multiple teams across the firm and bring diverse educational backgrounds, perspectives, and professional interests.

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

Maddy Brown: I am a graduate student at DePaul University in Chicago, studying Digital Communication and Media Arts. For quite some time, my goal has been to work in digital publishing, but I wasn’t exactly sure what specific role in that field would be the best fit for me. I love to write and experiment with digital multimedia, so when searching for jobs this past spring, I was fairly open to any role where I could utilize those skills and cater to my interests. Prior to this role, I had honestly never heard of the field of emergency management before, but Hagerty’s Communications Intern job listing caught my eye, as its responsibilities included assisting in the creation and editing of newsletters and social content. I thought that sounded like a good fit for me, so I applied, and here I am!

Tyler Friesen: My name is Tyler Friesen, and I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix, Arizona. I enjoy programming and software development, which, ultimately, led me to seek an internship position supporting the Information Technology (IT) department at Hagerty. By participating in this internship opportunity, I plan to further develop my skills outside of the classroom and see what software development looks like in the industry.

Zinzi Steele: I was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, and am currently a rising junior at Middlebury College studying Economics and Chinese. As I continue to explore and pinpoint career paths I am interested in pursuing, I knew I wanted to spend my summer back home gaining valuable and purposeful work experience at a company within an industry I am very interested in, and Hagerty has been a great place to do that.

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

Maddy Brown: One thing I have learned through this experience is the value of collaboration. The Marketing Team is constantly collaborating on the written work we produce, so I have had to learn how to read through the work of others with an editorial eye and receive and apply edits from others to my own work. It is not the easiest thing to have your written work deconstructed and edited, and there is a learning curve to not take these things to heart, but I am so grateful for this lesson. Collaboration is so valuable to the production of high-quality work and is a skill that is important across all professions, so to have the opportunity to learn how to be a better and more effective team member from the intelligent and inspiring women of the marketing team is a lesson that I will take with me for years to come.

Tyler Friesen: Aside from all the new technologies, the biggest thing I have learned is how to build software in a team environment. When working independently on personal projects, you can get by without using all of the organizational tools. However, when working collaboratively, we utilize technologies such as Jira or CodeCommit to help track our progress. I believe that the experience I have gained while working with these tools in a team environment will help position me for success when I begin seeking full-time positions after graduation.

Zinzi Steele: I believe that you can learn in any task that you do. Throughout my internship, I have worked on a variety of assignments, and no matter what I am working on, there is always new information and valuable knowledge embedded in the task. Through my everyday work, I have been learning about how Hagerty functions as a company and much more, which has been very interesting and helpful to me as a college student navigating my career path.

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

Maddy Brown: The value of teamwork strongly resonates with me. It has been very clear to me since the beginning of my internship that Hagerty prioritizes teamwork and leverages collaboration in a lot of the work we do. I am of the belief that each person brings a unique perspective to the table simply through their own personal lived experience, and by bringing all these differing perspectives together, you are left with a greater, more comprehensive understanding of the world. Having a team to rely on not only lightens the personal workload but broadens the possibility for innovation as the ideas and strengths of one person can be amplified by the ideas and strengths of their team. I truly feel that we are stronger and more innovative when we work together and support one another.

Tyler Friesen: Excellence is the core value of the firm that resonates with me the most. I believe striving for the best, whether it be in one’s personal life or in one’s career, will always be rewarded. That reward is not always material but knowing that you did the best is reward enough in itself.

Zinzi Steele: Hagerty’s core value of integrity resonates with me the most. I try to live my life by doing the right thing even if it is the hard thing, and Hagerty’s value of integrity is in line with that as well as the work I want to do in the future.

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

Maddy Brown: My dream is to visit the city of Montréal, Canada. I was raised in large part by my grandmother, who grew up in Montréal and moved to the United States (US) as a teen. We were like two peas in a pod throughout my childhood, so it is a huge dream of mine to travel to her hometown and experience where she was a child.

Tyler Friesen: One day I would like to go to Europe and backpack throughout the continent. I’ve never crossed the Atlantic before, and I think it would be really interesting to see all of the old buildings and architecture. Seeing things in person that I have only read about in history books would be an amazing experience.

Zinzi Steele: I will be studying abroad in Taiwan during the spring of 2024 and cannot wait! I am really excited to put my Chinese language studies to use, live in an immersive linguistic and cultural experience, and push myself outside of my comfort zone.

5. What are you passionate about outside of work?

Maddy Brown: I am passionate about cooking! When I became a vegetarian during my senior year of high school, I quickly had to learn how to cook meals for myself as my dad wasn’t going to cook vegetarian meals. The shift in my diet forced me to experiment with new foods and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of cooking. Now, I seriously look forward to cooking for myself at the end of the day because it is my “me time,” a time when I can get my creativity flowing. My staple dishes are spicy vegetable ramen, Greek pasta salad, and my grandmother’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Tyler Friesen: Outside of work, I like to run a lot. I run for the club team at my university, where we’ve taken the top five finishers in local 5Ks. I also recently picked up rock climbing and hope to experience outdoor lead climbing sometime soon. I have found there to be a lot of problem-solving required when picking your route, which is similar to what I’ve experienced when programming.

Zinzi Steele: CrossFit! It is such a fun way to move, be a part of a community, and challenge myself. This past year I completed the CrossFit Level One course, allowing me to coach classes at my college, which has been so much fun!

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

Maddy Brown is finishing her final year of postgraduate studies at DePaul University, where she will graduate with a Master of Arts in Digital Communication and Media Arts this Fall 2023. Maddy currently serves as the Marketing Team’s Communications Intern, supporting various copywriting, editing, and marketing research operations.

Tyler Friesen is a second-year student pursuing Computer Science at Grand Canyon University (GCU). Tyler has supported the Hagerty Team as an Information Technology (IT) intern since March 2023 and hopes to expand his professional and technical skills in a real-world environment through this internship opportunity.

Zinzi Steele is junior at Middlebury College studying Economics and Chinese. Zinzi is a Human Resources and Head Quarters intern who has been assisting Hagerty’s Evanston office and Human Resources team since the Summer of 2023.