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By: Gabriella Spizzirri, CNO 2023 Summer Communications Intern
The CNO Internship Experience
College is a time for learning, growing, and preparing for life and a career. Internships are a vital part of that growth, as they build your resume and teach you instrumental, career-developing qualities. At CNO Financial Group, they understand the importance of professional development and growth. That's why they crafted a summer internship program specifically tailored to foster and empower the future workforce.
This year, CNO welcomed 27 interns, including myself, from 14 different universities throughout the country into all facets of their business operations. CNO Financial Group's internship program began in 2011 and has continued annually since, even virtually through the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNO's primary goals for the program center around offering interns meaningful projects and valuable experiential learning opportunities, rather than burdening them with the responsibility of fetching morning coffees, making copies, or doing trivial tasks. Summer interns at CNO are immersed in a comprehensive internship experience that prepares them to become leaders in the workforce. Each intern at CNO gains knowledge and expertise from their dedicated team, specializing in their specified area of study.
“CNO's summer internship program is designed to provide students with a complete understanding of the company's culture, values, and goals. Through meaningful work, networking opportunities, professional development workshops, and mentoring, CNO supports the professional development of our interns and prepares them for successful careers,” said Theo Marshall, an Organization Development Consultant at CNO who has been leading the program for two years. “I am grateful to have been a part of an internship program at a company that prioritizes educating the future workforce.”
Gaining Real Experiences
As a corporate communication intern, I have been able to contribute my thoughts and ideas directly to the company's social media strategy. Ami Khatra, one of CNO's IT interns working in the data team, gained hands-on experience working with multiple data sets and programs that assist in maintaining the flow and integrity of the company's information processing and export. Amelia Chipman, one of CNO's Actuarial interns on the Long-Term Care Valuation team, has been able to build the code and templates for accounting year-end reports. These experiences have been invaluable in helping us develop our skills and prepare us for future careers.
Earlier in the internship, we were assigned groups to collaborate with on an intern group project. These groups were assigned randomly, meaning we were able to work with interns across various departments. Interns in my group included those who supported Actuarial & Risk, IT, Finance/Internal Audit, and 40l86. I enjoyed getting to know interns from other departments that I would otherwise not interact with in my day-to-day as a communication intern. The variation in departments allowed us to bring different perspectives and ideas into our project, which proved to be beneficial for us. Our group projects will be presented in person at the Carmel intern event.
The CNO internship experience offers an exciting array of events that combine the best of in-person and virtual experiences. From engaging workshops and guest speaker sessions to interactive team-building activities and insightful panel discussions, interns have had the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of events that cater to both their professional development and personal growth.
2023 Internship Events:
- Networking events such as lunches, a game show, and an escape room outing.
- Virtual meetings discussing various professional development topics like DE&I, resumes & applications, and interviewing.
- Leader Chats with Executive Leaders including Chief Marketing Officer, Rocco Tarasi, Chief Investment Officer, Eric R. Johnson, and Chief Executive Officer, Gary C. Bhojwani.
The leadership chats were especially impactful to me, as they allowed interns to seek advice and guidance from experienced members of the workforce who have excelled in their careers.
This National Intern Day, CNO hosted its interns at their headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. The goal of this two-day event is to provide all virtual and in-person interns the chance to network with each other, senior leadership group members, and their managers. Interns will also participate in a Team CNO volunteer project with Pack Away Hunger, a nonprofit local to Indianapolis. Through this volunteer meal-packing event, associates are projected to provide at least 10,000 meals to local hunger relief organizations.
Building a Path to Success
Over 30 previous interns have returned to CNO after completing their internships since the inception of the program. Their success stories serve as a testament to the effectiveness of the CNO internship program in nurturing talent and fostering long-term career growth.
CNO will begin the recruitment process for Summer 2024 interns in September 2023. If you are interested in the program, please visit our career page.
Gabby is a rising junior studying advertising and public relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is an active member of Children’s Miracle Network at the University of Illinois, the sorority Delta Gamma, and the American Advertising Federation. Gabby is passionate about her studies and is committed to developing her skills and knowledge in the field of brand communications. In her free time, Gabby enjoys staying fit and active by participating in exercise classes such as Zumba and Pilates.