Note from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: As an elected official, it is a priority for me to mentor youth in our community who have an interest in politics. I want to support them in accessing opportunities to gain real-world experience and expand their horizons. With female representation still far below parity across all levels of government, it is additionally important to me to help encourage more women to enter this field. I am thrilled that for the third time since becoming Mayor, my office has welcomed a bright and engaged intern to our team. I’ll let our latest intern, Shelby Dockendorff, introduce herself and speak to her experience below, but I must first mention that in the short time Shelby has been here, we have been impressed with the skills and experience she has brought to the table and how much she has exceeded all expectations. We look forward to continuing to have her on our team until the end of her internship later in Q1 of next year.
By: Shelby Dockendorff
Hello everyone! My name is Shelby Dockendorff and I am the City of Burlington’s Mayor’s Office Intern. I recently completed my Master of Public Administration at Queen’s University and before that I studied Communications at Wilfrid Laurier University.
While finishing up my degree and applying to co-op jobs and internships, I had time to reflect on my experiences in government so far and what I enjoyed about it. I’ve been fortunate to work at the provincial and regional level and learn about policy analysis, government communications, civic engagement and event planning.
During a summer working at the Region of Halton’s communications department, I had my first experience of seeing how government work impacted communities on a local level, and how residents responded to it. That level of engagement and impact was something I found fascinating and extremely helpful. I believe you need to be aware of what the local issues are in order to conduct and create meaningful policy and know how to communicate plans back out to the public.
That can only be achieved by being properly engaged in and informed on the community where you live.
With that in mind, I set out looking for opportunities that would offer that type of work and I was fortunate enough to come across the Mayor’s Office Internship. It was the perfect combination of constituent engagement, communication, research and analysis that I was looking for. Not only that, it was an opportunity to work for a Mayor who I had admired for her strong election platform and informed decision-making from her time as a Councillor and since taking the Mayoral office.
My experience so far as an intern here has been wonderful. As a result of the ever-evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been major changes to municipalities. Residents are constantly searching for answers, so they turn to their local representatives for help.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many Burlington citizens about the issues facing them in the city, worked alongside other City Hall departments to discuss solutions and draft up presentations for the Mayor’s public consultations and meetings with Ministers at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Virtual 2020 Conference.
As someone who was born and raised in Burlington, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about this city, but working in the Mayor’s Office has opened my eyes to all the different departments and teams that work together to make Burlington the beautiful city it is.
In the coming months while I continue my internship, I hope to have more opportunities to improve my writing skills and continue working to improve ways to communicate out to the public. I also want to be able to do more research on resident issues and work on how best we can resolve them, as well as continue to find ways to make Burlington a great city to live, work and play in.
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist