The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes From the Field: Eliza Dekker '19

Eliza Dekker Notes from the Field

Eliza Dekker '19 interned at Union Kitchen during the 2018 summer term.

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Eliza Dekker '19 interned at Union Kitchen during the 2018 summer term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

Union Kitchen is what is known as a Food Accelerator based in Washington, D.C. Their business model is unique, combining a shared kitchen, a distribution company, a grocery store chain, and a food business accelerator. Each arm of the Kitchen has built upon the last, each aiming to create an ecosystem for local food businesses to succeed. While 80% of startup food businesses fail within their first few years, the Accelerator has turned this number on its head with an 80% success rate.

During my internship, I worked closely with the Accelerator staff in order to ensure the smooth operation of the program. I created a Food Safety and Quality Manual which compiles industry best practices from sources such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, and the FDA. This manual will allow member food businesses to reference various topics ranging from Employee Medical Policies to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plans. I also sat in various business strategy meetings with the Accelerator team. They work with each company from mission to strategy to pricing to packaging in order to get products ready for a successful launch on grocery store shelves. One of the most interesting weeks of work was “Pitch Week” when entrepreneurs pitched to join the new Accelerator cohort. I loved getting to see first-hand each person’s passion for their product and how they want to fill US shelves with better, healthier options for consumers. In addition, I completed various day-to-day tasks such as writing blog posts, helping manage all Union Kitchen social media, and designing t-shirts and signs for the Union Kitchen Grocery stores.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned which I will apply to my future career is how to interact with a wide variety of people in order to ensure smooth business operation. The key, I surmised, is to remain level-headed and friendly while sticking up for yourself. Especially as a woman in a professional setting dominated by men, confidence in yourself will ensure that you have a voice at the table.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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