Where are they now?

Where are They Now? The Spiro Brothers

Product Managers at Two of Boston’s Top Companies.

It’s been so rewarding to hear from Internship Connection alumni. Discover how a high school marketing internship and a high school graphic design internship jump-started Mike and Will’s careers. We will be forever grateful to the wonderful mentors who have taken the time to advise the students in our school-to-career program.

Mike (pictured on the right) is currently the Senior Product Manager of Digital at Vistaprint. In high school, because he was interested in marketing, we established an internship for him with David Richard, Emerson College professor and CEO of Big Fish Communications.

Will (on the left) is the Product Manager of the CMS Developer Platform at HubSpot. When Will was in high school, he enjoyed graphic design and business, so we connected him to Rick Sands, the CEO of the Fenway Group.

Mike and Will, What would you say were your biggest takeaways from that initial high school internship?

  • Will: Learning what it took and meant to work as part of a larger team was incredibly valuable. Being part of something larger than yourself, and contributing to a shared mission helped me learn how business works, and how solving for the customer is the result of many moving parts and people.
  • Mike: I learned that there were no rubrics or study guides to help me succeed in the business world. There was no teacher to say, “this will be on the test”. If Big Fish’s customers could have found the solutions to their problems in textbooks, they wouldn’t have become customers.

Tell us where you went to college.

  • Will: I went to the University of Vermont, and studied Business and Environmental Studies… and Skiing 😉
  • Mike: I graduated from UMass Amherst. My major was Marketing, but my favorite learning experiences came from my Psych minor and the less conventional classes I took (e.g. Astronomy, Chinese Mythology). I also loved my job as a co-manager at Campus Design & Copy, one of the school’s student run co-ops. It unexpectedly ended up being the biggest factor in landing my job at Vistaprint!

Did you have additional internships after high school? 

  • Will: I interned for a Marketing Agency in college, New Breed Marketing, where I was first exposed to HubSpot (my current employer). This internship is what landed me a job at HubSpot, and exposed me to the industry I have now been working in for 5 years.
  • Mike: I had internships with Kraft Sports Group (Patriots / Revolution / Gillette Stadium), Vibram, and Covidien. They were three very different experiences and taught me a lot about what I liked and didn’t like. Even though it wasn’t glamorous, the story of what I learned from taking a turn as Slyde the Fox (the mascot for the Revolution) made for great conversations during future interviews!

Tell us briefly about your career paths.

  • Will: I started at HubSpot in their entry level role, customer support. I quickly saw a knowledge gap in that web developers needed help building websites and app, but support did not have that skill set. I taught myself to write code and proposed to the director of the support department that I focus on support for developers. I created many resources for developers to scale supporting web development. Through my work in support, I build connections with leaders in the Product org who work on the developer platform, which led to a natural transition into being a product manager working on developer tools.
  • Mike: It’s eerily similar to Will’s! I started off as the fourth member of a new team at Vistaprint focused on customer service strategy. This meant that I got to work on challenging and interesting greenfield problems, including launching design services products. I loved working with a cross-functional team of engineers, designers, analysts, and operations that could take an idea all the way to a tangible experience on the website, which was a job that I didn’t know existed beforehand. I then got the opportunity to expand on this product management scope by switching over to the arm of the company that owns the digital marketing subscription products.

Any mentors or professional role models? …and what they’ve meant to you. 

  • Will: A boss of mine at HubSpot, and VP of Product, helped me a great deal in getting to where I am today in my career. She saw my desire to solve for the customer, and helped me find a pathway to product management. Her mentorship has meant the world to me, and I still learn something new every time I speak to her.
  • Mike: My first boss at Vistaprint was amazing. She instilled in me the importance of customer empathy, which will be invaluable for the rest of my career regardless of where I end up. She also helped me understand that a product is much more than something that is sold – it’s something that is experienced. To build a successfully product, you need to consider a customer’s end-to-end journey with it. My biggest professional role model is our mom though. She’ll be embarrassed to learn that we’re talking about her here (sorry, Mom!), but her career became being a single parent, which is harder than any job Will or I will ever have.

Now that you’ve had a great deal of career experience, what would you tell your 16-year-old self? 

  • Will: Focusing on trying different disciplines and not worry about how much money you are making. Loving every day of your work is far more important than money, and money will come when you love your work.
  • Mike: Stop stressing about your grades and getting into a “good” college. My GPA and SAT scores have meant less in life than I ever could have imagined. Just focus on learning and challenging yourself and good things will follow.

Any final advice for our students?

  • Will: Even if you do not have the highest paying job off the bat, working for a company or mission you believe in might lead you to greater success in the longer term. Both your happiness and drive to succeed at work have a huge impact on your personal life and career.
  • Mike: Don’t pick your classes – pick your teachers. Don’t pick your job – pick your boss.

Such interesting insights from two very impressive young men!

Where are they now? Michelle Goldberg, Boston City Council

Michelle Goldberg, Boston City Council, Director of Legislative Budget Analysis

We first met Michelle when she was a junior in high school and had enjoyed a school trip to Washington, D.C. Because she expressed a desire to learn more about the American political system, we established an internship for her in a Senator’s office at the MA State House.  Michelle wrote, “Working for the Senator is fascinating. I’m attending hearings and seminars as well as researching issues and legislation. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Michelle, it’s been wonderful to keep in touch with you and see that you are the Director of Legislative Budget Analysis at the Boston City Council. Tell us about your position and what you find most enjoyable.

As Director of Legislative Budget Analysis, I manage the City Council’s legislative budget review process. Review and approval of the City budget is a power directly granted to the City Council by the Boston City Charter, and I support the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Ways and Means to coordinate the hearings, analysis, and materials to help the City Councilors review the available information in preparation for their votes.

Outside of Budget Season, I support the 13 councilors in their legislative work, including legal and policy research and the drafting and review of legislation.

I am also a team lead for the Council’s Central Staff Legislative Team, for the Council’s Committees on Environment, Resiliency & Parks; Pilot Reform; Post Audit; Public Health; Public Safety & Criminal Justice; Small Business & Workforce Development; and Strong Women, Families & Communities. 

The most enjoyable part of this job is getting to do significant work with so many different people. The issues at hand are different every day, and the context for this work is constantly shifting.

What was your college major? How did you decide to go to law school and then switch to government?

I majored in Psychology at Lehigh University. After graduating I worked at a restaurant while interviewing for jobs in various industries, but never felt that I was finding anything compatible with my skills and interests. After spending time with some of the restaurant’s regulars who worked as attorneys, I realized law school felt like that perfect fit I’d been looking for. I ended up at Boston University School of Law. While there I served as an editor on the Review of Banking and Financial Law, and interned with the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Financial Services through the law school’s Legislative Clinic. While at school and directly after I explored various avenues, with my summer jobs including working for a county probate court, in-house law clerk for a technology firm, research assistant, and summer associate for a law firm. Following graduation, I spent time working for a local consulting firm focused on corporate legal departments, before ending up with the City Council. 

I think an underlying theme through much of my educational and career development has been an interest in exploring as many possibilities as I could, but for some reason, legislative work kept calling me back. It capitalizes on my skills and interests, and I love that legislation is like a puzzle, requiring a fit between the nuances of government rules and lived reality.

Tell us about a Career High Point.

I have been very fortunate over the past few years to be able to work with smart and innovative politicians from different walks of life, especially women. Some career high points have been opportunities to work on local legislation with former Councilor now Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and with two historic mayoral candidates, Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell.

Did you have additional internships after high school?

I did. I did a marketing internship for the New England Revolution, a market research internship with Intermon Oxfam in Barcelona, a psychiatric research internship at the MGH Center for Addiction Medicine, and a legal research internship with the Future of Music Coalition. 

Thinking back, have you had anyone who stands out as a professional mentor and role model?

The managing partner of the consulting firm I worked for after law school was an enormous influence on me. He taught me to question and prove myself, and I am a better worker all around due to his mentorship. I think it is important to find mentors you look up to, can invest in your development in real time, and can challenge you to continue to grow.

A recent article in Edtech Review describes why internships are essential for professional development. Do you agree?

I think that the benefits of experience cannot be overstated. My internships helped me learn things like the importance of getting to a job on time and dressing professionally, as well as how to answer a phone in a workplace and make myself useful. They also allowed me to explore my interests and round out my education with practical, real world experience that I could reference back to when applying for jobs down the line, at a time when I wouldn’t have been otherwise able to obtain the same kind of employment.

Finally, now that you’ve had a great deal of career experience, what would you tell your 16-year-old self?

I would say that it’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do – at any age. The important thing is to just do something. I think that again speaks to the importance of internships in terms of continuing to move yourself forward, even when you’re not totally sure where you’re going to end up……. I’d also tell her to give up the images of running around in high-heeled shoes all day. We’re wearing flats.

Internship Connection

© 2021 Internship Connection
website by NATCo.

Get in touch:

Connect with us!