Kathi continues the conversation with Roger, her partner in marriage and all things, about How to Build a Team without Breaking the Bank. In the first episode, Kathi and Roger reflect on how this speaking and writing ministry began and the unique way in which it has grown. In this episode, they talk about their growing internship program and the passion they have for making sure their interns walk away having received as much as they have given to the ministry. Listen in to find out:
- Is an internship program for your business or ministry?
- What does it take to lead an internship program?
- What should you look for in an intern?
Links and Resources:
West Coast Christian Writers Online Mega Conference
February 25th-27th 2021
- This exciting event is filled with incredible keynote addresses, workshops, mentoring circles, and more.
16 agents & editors
15 Round Tables (genre or topic specific)
17 professional authors doing coaching appts
Their new professional author circle small group led by one of my favorites Cheri Gregory
- Plus, I’ll be teaching and hosting a Round table
- Tickets are $199, but if you use the code REDHOUSE code you will get the flash sale price of the $129.
West Coast Christian Writers Conference: use promo code REDHOUSE for discount
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Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Roger is a productivity and quality engineer for a Fortune 50 company.
Roger helps teams reach their full productivity potential by teaching them practical and simple steps to reach their goals. Roger and his wife, author Kathi Lipp, teach communicators how to share their message through social media and email marketing.
He and Kathi coauthored Happy Habits for Every Couple with Harvest House Publishers.
Read Along With the Transcription
Read along with the Podcast!
Writing at The Red House Podcast # 230
Who Should Have an Internship Program?
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to the Writing at the Red House podcast where we gather at the table to break bread and tell tales with some of our favorite writers and speakers, who share their wisdom, to help us all share our story. I want to welcome back Roger Lipp to the table. My partner in crime. My partner in marriage. My partner in all these crazy animals. They’re swarming us now. This is what happens every podcast.
Roger – We sit down to talk, but wait, this isn’t what’s happening here.
Kathi – That’s right. This isn’t supposed to happen. We’re talking about How to Build a Team without Breaking the Bank? One way that we have found that has been one of my favorite parts of our ministry. I know I say that about a lot of stuff.
Roger – We love what we do.
Kathi – We do love what we do. So, this is our internship program. It’s interesting because the internship program has also turned into some contractors. When you love what somebody does and they do it well, and they are growing their own business, sometimes it’s time to start paying them, as well. So, we want to make sure we’re able to do that when it’s possible. The internship program, we started this seven years ago.
Roger – Oh my goodness. Was it really seven?
Kathi – It was seven years ago. We started with just a couple of people. Our very first intern was Kim Nowlin and Wendy Doyle, who have both gone on to do their own thing. It’s been fun to watch. These are people who lived in our backyard.
Roger – Not literally.
Kathi – They lived in San Jose when we lived in San Jose. They would come to the house and we would work on projects and things like that. They were working for me to get the experience, and the internship program has exploded since then. I’m going to rock your world by telling you, in the 2021 year, we’re going to have twenty-three interns.
Roger – Oh my goodness.
Kathi – I know, but we’ve learned so much.
Roger – Oh, we have been on a journey.
Kathi – Yes, so I want to talk about the beginnings of an internship program and some of the things we’ve learned since then. The first thing is, if you are considering an internship program, I would ask you this, “Do you have a heart for training others in God’s calling for them?”
Roger – That was so important to us as we were getting started. It still is. It was pivotal. We wanted to, not just bring them in so they could help us, but we wanted to make sure that they walked away with as much back to them as they were giving to us.
Kathi – I will start off by saying, I got serious about an internship program when I thought, “We could have people working for us? People we can’t currently afford? Yes, let’s do that.” Let’s just be honest. An internship program is a lot of work. We actually have a couple of people who help us with that. We’ll talk more about that. The internship program, for me is, I’m not going to get too sappy here. I actually think that, if I have a legacy here on Earth? I think it’s the internship program. Not to discount my kids, or anything like that.
Roger – Your husband. Whatever.
Kathi – My husband. Whatever. The lasting impact that I have made, and I don’t want to speak for you, but will be through these interns learning from us, then going and doing what God has called them to do.
Roger – I think there’s a real aspect of equipping here. In the church, we like to use the word ‘equipping’. We really are equipping people to go out and carry out the ministry that God has called them to do.
Kathi – Yeah. It makes a big, huge difference. I think it’s also really interesting about what we learned about what we’re looking for in interns. So, this is what I want to talk about this program. Next program we’re going to talk about how to implement the internship program, but this program, what I want to talk about is, who’s good to lead an internship program? and who’s good to be part of an internship program?
Roger – Oh, interesting. Okay.
Kathi – I’m changing it up just a little bit, because I think this is really key. I think, one thing that’s really important, if you feel called to equip people into their ministry or business, this could be a good thing for you. If you have a leadership bend? Now, I would not have said, when we started this, that I have a leadership bend, but Cheri Gregory is the one that convinced me I was a leader that just didn’t look like other leaders. I believed in your leadership bend, so that carried me.
Roger – Oh, good.
Kathi – Well, I think together, we can figure it out. We had Angela Bouma at the time, and she had a great bend for leadership. Now we have Tonya Kubo, who’s the leader extraordinaire. What do you think some of the qualities are of somebody who is implementing a leadership program? Whether they have them, or can acquire them.
Roger – So, one of the first and most important thing is, a willingness to let somebody else do it.
Kathi – That’s hard, the closer you are to the project.
Roger – We want so much control. If you can’t let go some of that control, an internship program is going to be very challenging for you.
Kathi – Yeah. You know what? You have to budget for fails.
Roger – That’s true, too.
Kathi – Yes, ‘cause when you give away that control, or when you’re doing it yourself, there is going to be failure. There’s failure all the way down.
Roger – However you do this, there’s failure coming.
Kathi – We’ve learned some things where we can repeat, but then as we grow new things, we have to figure out. You have to have some room for people to fail. Usually is the failure is because I haven’t communicated clearly enough. We almost had a huge fail recently. I don’t know if I told you about this. I did a series of podcasts with Cheri Gregory, and her daughter transcribed them for us, because we needed the notes for what we were doing. Well, Angela, who does our transcription, said, “Hey, I’ve got these four podcasts coming up, and I’m sitting down to do the transcription, and I had a question about this…” Had she not asked me that?
Roger – We would have transcribed them twice.
Kathi – It would have taken about 10 hours of transcription. So, sometimes it’s a communication fail on my part, and I can’t be upset with anybody but myself, but I have to recover quickly, then move on.
Roger – I think that is key to one of the other things, which is, there is a component of management that you have to take on. You got into this speaker/writer thing because you loved speaker-ing and writer-ing.
Kathi – Speaker-ing and writer-ing? Yes, I do love speaker-ing and writer-ing.
Roger – This is why I do neither of those. Then, suddenly, you thrown in interns and now, on top of that, is this aspect of management. That’s challenging.
Kathi – I would not say I’m a born manager. This is something I’ve had to grown in, and put people in place who really manage well. We’ve got Tiffany Baker on our team, who, besides being a great writer and speaker and communicator, she’s a great manager. That’s not everybody’s gifting. It’s not my gifting. I’ve learned leadership, but at 53 years young, I’m still in my growth about management. Management is about communicating effectively, putting things into place that can be replicated. These are all things that an Enneagram 7? Not so much. I’m learning, but that’s okay. You have much more management brain than I do. You did a lot of this for us for a long time.
Roger – Not terribly effectively. That’s why we brought in other people to help with that. I think that also raises another point. When you’re starting in this space, think about bringing people on for a project, rather than an ongoing role. Often times, you don’t know them as well as you think you do and they don’t know you and how’s this going to work?
Kathi – And you don’t know what you need for the project, often times. That’s why I think we’re getting better at picking interns. We know what the role needs. When Tonya and I were interviewing interns, this time, she asked a great question: Do you like a ‘hey, everything is laid out for you, you know what your next step is’ or do you like to ‘get in there, learn as you go, mess things up’? Depending on the answer, we knew podcast team with Tiffany, the ultra-manager. She had everything laid out. She has everything. Social media team? Because things change so quickly in social media, and we have to learn so often, that’s a little more Wild Wild West. So, when we asked that question, we want to put people into roles where they’re not frustrated with us the whole time. So, that’s been really interesting. Okay, so what do you look for in an intern? You’ve done a lot of the interviewing for the interns.
Roger – One of the most important things, for us, is somebody who is flexible, and able to work in our environment. It’s challenging, and as we have grown, the amount of system we have in place has changed. Sometimes it’s grown. Sometimes it’s shrunk. Sometimes we had too much system here, not enough system there. As this question from Tonya points out, it makes a big difference in terms of personality that’s needed for a role.
Kathi – It’s been so interesting. I think about how we’ve had some people who have dropped out. They’ve said, “We just can’t do this.” It does make me feel like a bit of a failure. Like, “Oh no! I haven’t set them up for success.” But last year, we had intern trainings and we’ll talk more about that in our next episode, where we have an expert come in and train the whole group. What we did for 2020, we had former interns come in, because they become so good at what they do. I may cry just a little bit here, but a lot of them attribute a lot of that, one of their key decisions in their ministry, to being an intern with us. Now, I don’t attribute that to me. I attribute that to working with our amazing team. It is an amazing team.
Roger – And that brings up, I think, a super important point. Interns tend to get out of the internship, what they’re putting into it.
Kathi – Yeah, that’s so true.
Roger – We say that to kids in school all the time.
Kathi – They don’t believe us.
Roger – They don’t believe us. It really is true. If you’re coming here to contribute and see how things work, and do your best, and figure out what that means in your ministry, in your business, then you can flourish. It gets back to our attitude about wanting to build into our interns, and really see them develop. As much as they’re contributing to us, we want to contribute back to them.
Kathi – It’s such a win/win, when somebody comes on and says, “Kathi, I want to be successful in my role for you.” Then I can say, “Hey! I want to be successful in my role for you.” We can bring each other up and lift each other up. Okay, so next time, we’re going to talk about how do we do the internship program? There’s a lot of moving parts, but we’ll give you the basics, so you can get started, if this is something you think you want to do. So, guys, you have been listening to the Writing at the Red House podcast. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go share your story of God’s extravagant love.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items