The 4 Stage Game Plan for Being the Best KP Intern

By: Arielle Berman, Miles Lichtman & Cathy Li

Hey, genKP! We’re Ari, Miles, and Cathy, a few of this summer’s KP interns, and we are here to share a little bit about what our experience has been like over these past few months. Thinking about the internship experience as a whole, we broke it down into four stages to illustrate what it is like to be a KP intern and to share some things we learned along the way.


Stage 1 - The First Step

The first few weeks of the internship - you meet all the fun and ambitious interns at your orientation, you make a few friends and exchange numbers, you meet your awesome supervisor and the rest of your department, and you get your first, real, adult desk. You also have your own KP phone number and a fun new badge you can show off on your morning BART commute. You begin to accept that KP Learn and My HR won’t load and IT keeps telling you to wait a few days, but it is more of an exciting and anxious frustration than an irritating one. Your projects sound exciting, the University Relations intern events sound amazing, and you are ready to get started.

Despite all the excitement, this phase could be a little scary, but it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and explore all that KP has to offer. Go out with other interns for happy hour, reach out to your manager, and, above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially during this early stage of your internship. Take the first step to familiarize yourself with KP’s culture. Oh and don’t forget to sign up for genKP!


Stage 2 - The Balancing Act

The initial excitement is slowly beginning to wear off as you get into the swing of a 9-5 job. The work pace quickens, your projects are in motion, and you find yourself under the pressure of completing your deliverables on time. But since things are still new, you’re still eager to make time to meet new people and foster those new found relationships with your fellow interns and supervisor. Suddenly juggling work, socializing, and extracurricular become difficult. That’s when you finally understand what your supervisor meant when they told you to make sure to stay patient.

But don’t sweat it! And definitely don’t feel overwhelmed. Find your balance by understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie and communicate that with your manager. They understand you’re still learning, and with the years of experience under their belts, they can help you hone your skills to better navigate the workplace.


Stage 3 – Finding the Right Fit

This is where your quarter-internship crisis comes in. The frustration and big life questions begin to sprout up and take over your mind. We want to remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

For us, this is the stage where work began to feel slow. The free KP swag no longer felt quite so swaggy, and the days felt longer as balancing work and social life was not as challenging as it once was a few weeks ago. Inevitably, we began to question ourselves: What were we going to be doing for the remainder of our internship? Did the work we were doing even matter in the grand scheme of things? Did we want to continue to pursue this as a career? Was KP the right fit for us?

If you find yourself feeling as frustrated as we did, take a step back and try to see the bigger picture of how your work ties into KP’s mission. And if that doesn’t help, then that’s your cue to get creative-- stretch yourself by taking on responsibilities outside of your scope of work to pick up a few new skills, schedule informational interviews to see if other departments better suit you, or find a genKPer or a mentor to help guide you to finding the right fit for you.


Stage 4 – The Marathon

Winding down to the last couple weeks of your internship, you’re finally ready to present your projects to your director. It is nerve wracking, but you deliver your findings with grace and excellence. Then what? Well, that was just a warm up; now it’s time to put those tools to the test and see how far they will really help you run.

Completing this internship was only the prelude to our marathon, and there are many crests and troughs left to climb before we can retire at the finish line. Running alone might seem care-free, but there’s a long, unpredictable road that lies ahead.

It would be wise to run with a few friends you have met on the way, so be sure to keep in touch with the contacts you have made via LinkedIn or other networking sites. Also write “Thank You” cards to your department for the valuable opportunity to intern with them, and make sure everyone you’ve met over the course of your internship knows that you appreciated meeting them. Leveraging contacts, even that one intern you sat next to who never said a word to you, is crucial and will be beneficial in ways you may not even realize. Perhaps somewhere down the road that one intern might be the one to offer you water when you missed the last water stop.


Final Remarks

Thanks for reading our blog post. We hope these stages captured what it is like to be a KP intern, with hopes that you, and the next wave of interns, can read this article and leverage it as you go through the process of interning. Remember you are the next generation of the workforce, if you exercise these survival tips, you may increase your chances of making the transition from the red badge to the blue badge and KP needs you!!

Good luck!

Rosie's Riveters Day 1: The Next Generation meets the Pioneers of the Women’s Movement

Editor's Note: This is the first post in a series showing genKP's trip to the White House with a group of Rosie the Riveters! Stay tuned for future posts!

Day 1: The Next Generation meets the Pioneers of the Women’s Movement

By: Jessica Johnson and Jaimie Reyes

It all started on a busy Tuesday morning in March. I got a phone call from Ije Udeze, chief of staff, asking me to participate in meeting that I was not a part of, but I didn’t hesitate to say, “I’ll be right in.” At the end of the meeting, Jennifer Scanlon, community relations director, was nonchalantly talking to the group about an amazing project she had been assigned to. She was in charge of putting together a White House trip to Washington, D.C. for six Rosie the Riveters. I was familiar with the Rosie the Riveter picture. I mean, who doesn’t know the cute girl with the red bandana, flexing her right bicep?! But I didn’t know the “story” behind that historical picture. I vaguely heard Jennifer say they wanted two genKP members to go on this trip to represent the past, present and future of Kaiser Permanente. Ije quickly looked over at me and said, “Do you want to go?” I of course did not hesitate to say, “Heck yea I do!”Rosie-the-Riveter

I wanted to learn as much about the Rosies as I possibly could. I read and skimmed all of the articles and bios that I could find.

A couple days before the trip, Jennifer invited Jaimie and myself to the Rosie Memorial Center in Richmond, for a meet and greet with the Rosies. All of the reading, skimming, browsing I did about these ladies did not capture the energy, excitement, strength, wittiness, and determination I learned just from a 15 minute in-person meeting with them. The short amount of time I got to spend with these ladies before our D.C. trip made me 10 times more excited and honored to travel with an amazing and heroic group of women.

As we started our journey to SFO at 4:30 AM on Sunday, March 30th, I started to realize the importance of this trip. Jaimie, Jennifer, and I have the opportunity to accompany the pioneers of the Women’s Rights movement, before Lean In, before Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This trip is everything to me; I have the honor of being in the presence of fearless women.

As an early professional I know the joys and pains of innovation, and pushing the envelope when you’re passionate about something. These heroines will teach us perseverance, patience, and strength without flexing through their stories alone.

These women answered the nation’s call for help, and supported Kaiser Permanente’s vision for lean and agile methods way before Six Sigma was written into the DNA of corporate operations. So as we descend into Washington D.C., I’m thinking about everything, how to enjoy these phenomenal women, how to stay rosy, and how to contribute to something that is bigger than yourself.

KP Share article: Kaiser Permanente Shipyard Rosies Headed to White House

Millennial Management: Adapting to a Changing Workforce

By 2025, Gen-Y will form roughly 75% of the world's workforce. That's a short twelve years away, and today's managers are considering how they can adapt to the style and changing goals of this workforce shift.

According to Josh Bersin's Forbes' piece, "Millennials Will Soon Rule the World: But How Will They Lead?", nearly half of Gen-Y/Millennial respondents are already in leadership positions. Millennials are less interested in a defined career path and instead look for recognition based on performance, not tenure.

Kay Mercado
Kay Mercado

I spoke with Kay Mercado, a Kaiser Permanente manager who works with Gen-Y team members and is in tune with a "millennial management" style. Mercado is the Director of Design and User Experience in the Mobility Center of Excellence. She started at KP in 2000 with a graphic design background; in the past thirteen years, she has worked in areas including external sites (, intranet, and in the Innovation Labs Team at the Garfield Center.

Mercado, who identifies as Gen-X, has been in her current role at the Mobility Center for two years. In her first year on the job, she quickly realized the increased demand for mobile apps and projects, and expanded her staff. She now manages a team of four: three visual designers (focusing on look, feel, branding components) and one UX designer (focusing on interactive, wireframe, app flow elements).

Her team focuses on the interaction and visual design experience for iOS and Android apps, as well as piloting projects for the Windows 8 tablet. They also manage the certification of any KP mobile app developed internally or externally, ensuring that it follows standards for experience, design, branding and ADA compliance. Her team is based in Oakland's "IThrive" prototype floor, a modern, tech-focused environment that facilitates their collaborative attitude.

KP's IThrive Floor - Photo by Jasper Sanidad

Mercado's leadership style emphasizes collaboration and feedback, with weekly one-on-ones and design sessions with her team. Previously, Mercado was the only creative person in her IT group and found it to be a struggle, because she didn't have other designers to brainstorm with. "As soon as I became a manager, I knew exactly what I needed to do. My whole philosophy is based is on everything I didn't have [previously]," said Mercado. In their weekly design sessions, her team shares ideas, whether it's tricks in Photoshop or new apps they may have come across. Her one-on-one sessions provide a chance for informal feedback on both sides, by finding out if there is anything her team needs (software, hardware), and to ask for feedback on how she is managing.

When asked if she has a leader that she looks up to, Mercado mentioned Senior Vice President Wendy Lee, whom she had the opportunity to have a few one-on-ones with as her mentor. "She is very personal and in touch with her employees, and I highly respect that," said Mercado. She found that emulating that approachable mentality with her employees has been working very well within her own team.

For her peers in management, Mercado strongly recommends taking advantage of the KP Internship Program. One of her visual designers is an intern that she found through the internship program, and she described it as a great way to recruit young designers. Mercado mentioned the value of adding a millennial perspective to the team, in that "they just think differently and are exposed to different ways of doing design," citing social media as one example.

Mercado's transparent, collaborative leadership style naturally coheres with a Gen-Y perspective. After taking a look at the Forbes Millennial study, "I didn't even realize I was managing the way millennials like to be managed," said Mercado, with a laugh.

Coming to KP: New Employees Share Their Stories

Jason Lim hard at work
Jason Lim hard at work at KP Business Information Offices


Prem Kaur, Jason Lim, and Robert Murray began their journeys as Kaiser Permanente employees just a few months ago. While the process of onboarding and transitioning to a new role can be overwhelming at first, all three of the new employees agree that their experience thus far has been nothing but a positive and exciting experience. Many early career professionals made their first impressions of Kaiser Permanente as a patient, and the positive experience continued into the work environment.

As a Kaiser Permanente patient for as long as she can remember, Kaur did not pass up the chance to work with the organization. As an IT Business consultant for NCAL Business Information Offices, Kaur has been recently assisting the Flu Shot Clinics in Santa Clara, California. Making sure IT has everything they need to run a successful clinic, Kaur gets to directly see how her work affects patients in a positive way. Her start at Kaiser Permanente was overwhelming, learning new jargon and processes, but she has never questioned her career choice. It has been a positive experience from the start. Only starting three months ago, Kaur’s mentor has been there every step of the way to help her become more familiar with terms and processes, and grow professionally.

The experience of coming into Kaiser Permanente as an early career professional was similar for Jason Lim. While previously working in health care for five years, Lim knew that Kaiser Permanente was the best option for him after receiving quality treatment as a patient for many years. Lim directly saw how great it was to work for this organization through a friend. Working for NCAL Business Information Offices, Program Management Offices, he is working on the ICD10 project which provides codes used to diagnose patients. From day one, Lim’s experience has been nothing but encouraging. He has never worked for an organization that provided so many resources that help employees advance in their career.

Robert Murray kept watch for a job opportunity with Kaiser Permanente, while seeing his wife, a Registered Nurse, being treated well as an employee. Working for the Technology Risk Office, Murray is working on writing scripts that will allow for automated processes that do not require any human intervention to make them work. Everyone has been a source of encouragement for him. Meeting with his boss once a week and receiving a wealth of knowledge from his mentor has made this nothing but a positive experience.

Overall, coming into a large organization like Kaiser Permanente can be overwhelming for early career professionals. The encouragement and support experienced employees give proves to be an essential ingredient in their recipe for success. Working for Kaiser Permanente brings ample opportunities for all its employees, but we all were new at one point. Never forget to lend a hand and be patient with new employees. Their passion for Kaiser Permanente starts with us.

Innovation through Diversity: A Conversation with Dr. Ronald Copeland

Dr. Ronald Copeland
Dr. Ronald Copeland

Dr. Ronald Copeland, Senior Vice President & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Kaiser Permanente, sat down with Lauren Duffy of genKP to discuss the role of diverse perspectives in the innovation of new ideas, the value of Multicultural Business Resource Groups, and tips for developing professionals on standing out and discovering your strengths. Dr. Copeland transitioned to the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer role in January of this year and is the co-chair of the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council. He was previously President and Executive Medical Director of the Ohio Permanente Medical Group, and brings his technical knowledge as a surgeon of 25 years to his current role. He offered his insights on the latest advances in neuroscience and how they play a role in discovering our unconscious biases.

On September 4, Dr. Copeland spoke at the Diversity Speaker Series event in Oakland, where he described his formative experiences that lead him to become the person that he is today. He explained that inclusion starts with understanding your own unique life story, going below the "water-line of the iceberg" and realizing the significant role your experiences play in your perspective, both consciously and unconsciously. Once you become comfortable with your own personal framework, the second part is gaining the confidence to articulate those experiences to whoever, whenever. "Telling people about who you are at a granular level, and more importantly how you became who you are, the influences, that’s where the real magic happens," said Dr. Copeland.

In a business context, Dr. Copeland emphasized the tremendous opportunity and value gained by bringing varied perspectives to the table, through leadership creating an environment where people feel empowered to bring their true selves. He described how diversity is an accelerant for innovation, breakthroughs, and complex problem-solving:

“Innovation happens most often when you intentionally bring diverse elements together, knowing that it’s going to create temporary chaos and collisions, and that’s exactly what you want. That’s your test environment, and from there comes new ideas, new looks at things that you couldn't have anticipated, but one or two sparks are going to be very enlightening, and now you’re going to say, 'A-ha,'” said Dr. Copeland.

Dr. Copeland cited KP's Multicultural Business Resource Groups (MBRGs) as innovation opportunities that leverage value for leadership as well as participating members. MBRGs, which include genKP, provide an opportunity to tackle issues and gain enrichment of different perspectives through cross-functional collaboration. An example would be genKP's participation in an Onboarding Think Tank session with Human Resources, where genKP members from various areas of the organization came together and provided feedback for leadership on revitalizing onboarding structures, training resources and goals regarding career development paths.

Discovering your "highest point of contribution" - via Harvard Business Review
Discovering your "highest point of contribution" - via Harvard Business Review

A challenge for developing professionals is finding a balance between their creative passions and a sustainable career path. Dr. Copeland advocated the concept of discovering your "highest point of contribution" through determining the sweet spot between your talent, passion and business/market value (see image). Growing up, Dr. Copeland was passionate about art and expression, and sold his first painting when he was only 12 years old. One day in ninth grade, he had a fateful encounter while dissecting a frog that piqued his interests in life sciences and anatomy, and eventually lead to his pursuit of medicine as a profession. Dr. Copeland recommended self-assessment tools like Myers-Briggs and Strengths Finder, to take action and make choices regarding what field, organization, or area of expertise to pursue.

In navigating the corporate world, Dr. Copeland advocated the notion of sponsorship. He defined sponsorship as working with an individual in a leadership role who gives you a shot at a highly visible project, thereby putting their own credibility on the line. By achieving or exceeding expectations on a high impact project, people start to think of you differently, in that you are entrusted to deliver results. You are then able to develop your brand within the organization and make an impact. On an individual level, Dr. Copeland mentioned involvement with a MBRG as one opportunity to stand out, as a way to develop your interests and discover your "highest point of contribution."

For more information on diversity at KP or how to get involved with a MBRG, please see the National Diversity website.

Lauren Duffy is the Communications + Social Media Lead for genKP.

Following the Blue Badge Road: College Internships Lead the Way

Samuel Karp
Samuel Karp shows his transition from a red contractor badge to a blue employee badge


When searching for a career, Generation Y looks for an organization that offers continual growth, options for career paths and the chance to have their work be a part of something greater than sitting at a desk for hours on end. Kaiser Permanente’s workplace encompasses the needs of Gen-Y and attracts interns who are eager to become full time employees. Samuel Karp and Claire Angami, two former interns, explain their journey to becoming full time employees and launching their careers here at KP.

From the start of the internship program, Samuel Karp wanted to become a full time employee. Determined to find a place within the organization, Sam continued to work part time as an intern throughout his last year of college. With the abundance of knowledge he gained through having multiple managers, he found a mentor in Eve Torres, who took him under her wing. Sam’s initial interest in Kaiser Permanente came from working in communications and knowing the numerous opportunities for growth. Currently, Sam supports the communications needs of Digital Health Technology and Strategic Initiatives.

The fluidity in Sam’s transition is what the IT Internship Program aims for, however that is not always the case. With the internship program coming to a close, Clare Angami struggled to find a full time position. The department she worked for was not budgeted to keep her on their team, forcing her to look elsewhere. Although Google also made her a job offer, Kaiser Permanente remained her number one choice for employment. Determined to stay, Clare applied for an internship with a different department that helped her passion for the organization grow further. Clare explains her decision for starting her full time career at Kaiser Permanente:

“I wanted to work for a company that not only made an impact on so many people’s lives, but also genuinely cared for the growth and well-being of its employees. My mentors provide an environment for me where I am never stagnant, and continually give me opportunities to expand while providing me with support. To be frank --I decided to stay because they made me feel valued as an individual, not just someone to help complete tasks.”

Soon after, Clare received an offer to come on-board full time. Clare is now a project coordinator for Corporate Services BIO and works to standardize processes and tools that will help lower costs.

From the beginning, interns fall in love with the mission, vision and atmosphere of Kaiser Permanente. Their desire to stay as full time employees becomes eminent through their hard work and determination to create value and lasting impressions that market themselves for potential job openings. With the goal of turning their red badge into a blue badge, interns want to be a part of an organization that offers growth and opportunity; Kaiser Permanente is that place.

Lorin Lee is the Events Lead for GenKP.