An Intern's View of Leadership exCHANGE Raleigh

It was the dreaded Monday... May 11th. No, that wasn't my first day of my internship with Leadership exCHANGE. It was the day after the graduation of the senior class of 2015 from Sewanee: The University of the South. I was packing up my car and there was an eerie sadness in the air atop our beloved mountain. Now, as a rising senior and member of the class of 2016, I still have one more year to learn and live in Sewanee, TN. One more year to pretend the "real world" doesn’t exist. I think to myself "If I never had to graduate and leave this place, I think I would be okay with that."

A view off of the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee.

A view off of the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Fast-forward a month. I am packing up my car to head to Raleigh, NC, where I will be interning for Leadership exCHANGE - a program for budding entrepreneurs to empower the next generation of change makers.  My nerves start getting to me and (some ridiculous) questions start flooding my mind.

So how exactly does one work in an office all day? 

WHERE will I eat without a dining hall?

Will I have any friends? (Oh yeah, Katie, because there are no college-aged people in the triangle area).

Fast-forward a week. I have just finished my first week of interning for Leadership exCHANGE, which is housed at HQ Raleigh - a collaborative workspace for social entrepreneurs. Now, I haven’t worked in many offices before, but I think I can confidently say that HQ Raleigh is one of the best workspaces.

The energy is palpable as inspiring, driven, and extremely intelligent people buzz around working on their different projects every day. 

Being surrounded by these successful people who crave to make the world a better place through their ideas and creations, prompts me to wonder: 

What are my ideas?

Where will my career path take me after college?

How can I be a change agent in this world?

Everyone upholds HQ Raleigh's 5 core values and is excited to network, mentor, or chat with you over a coffee or a beer from the café.

We select our Leadership exCHANGE students based on how well we believe they will live (and work) with these values at the forefront of their minds.

Did I mention that all of the coffee, tea, and beer in the café are free and always flowing?

Natural light floods HQ and through the windows, you can see the skyline of downtown Raleigh, NC - one of the most up and coming places in the country for entrepreneurs.

There are many open work spaces, so that you can move around and find a spot that encourages you to work your best and reach your highest potential everyday.

You can even make friends at HQ who share your values and similar interests!

And then you can all hang out after the work day is over! Also, did y'all know that real people go out on Thursdays in the real world too?!

Throughout the entire month of July, Leadership exCHANGE, HQ Raleigh, and ThinkHouse will host 10-15 students (from around the US and the world). In those 4 weeks, the students will take courses on social entrepreneurship, receive mentoring from some of the best entrepreneurs in town, and work here at HQ.

I am so excited for them to arrive and experience all of the opportunities Raleigh has to offer.

So, in conclusion, I guess the real world isn't so bad after all.


Stay tuned with our blog and check back to hear the perspectives of our students this summer!


We are still accepting last minute applications if you believe you could add value and make the most out of this program. Learn more and apply here.