Kenna Smith

Major: Event Management
Company/Organization: Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: Sumer 2022
Advisor/Coordinator Email: briaj


I have had many responsibilities during my internship. While most tasks involve small detail projects, I am mainly responsible for the donors to the Iowa State Fair. For our annual fundraiser, I track all donations and prepare tickets, auction books, and many other materials that are sent out. I also host four parties during the Iowa State Fair for our larger donors. From designing invitations to hosting the parties themselves, I handle almost every detail involved.


Just recently, I found out that this year set a new record for the number of donors at our annual fundraiser, the Corndog Kickoff. Our organization is non-profit and has worked very hard to reach out and find people who want to support the Iowa State Fair. We are now way past our original goal and are still climbing each day. Personally, I am excited to say that I also set a new record for one of our activities called Dining Delights. I am in charge of finding restaurants and people all around Iowa who are willing to donate gift cards. Then, attendees of our annual fundraiser can donate $20 to the fair and draw a mystery gift card of $25 value or more. In past years, the record for gift cards donated was 140. I will have around 155 this year!

Learning experience

This internship has taught me so much. One lesson I learned that I thought I already knew was to listen. This sounds very simple, but I have learned how important it is. The Blue Ribbon Foundation goes through the same process every year since they are running the same events every July and August. While the year-round staff knows this process, it is hard to learn as a summer intern. You have to jump in fast and learn so much within a short amount of time. Listening to small details and taking notes are vital to succeeding as an intern. You might be having a casual conversation, but take mental notes and you will be better prepared.

What advice would you give?

My biggest piece of advice would be that what you put in is what you will get out. In order to exceed in the event industry, you have to work hard or your event might not happen or come out as a total disaster. If you put in the work to plan, organize, market, and run your event, it will be successful and help others have fun as well.

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