Interning at Synergos: Hazel Berger

As a Gender, Sexuality, Feminist, and Social Justice studies major and Political Science and East Asian studies double minor, I have dedicated my studies to exploring how to make the world a more equitable place, wanting to create just policies and strategies to empower marginalized communities. I am interested in helping and working with children and have volunteered in China as a caregiver to children and young adults with disabilities. In addition, I have been an online Zoom tutor to elementary school children in Canada and Kenya. Last summer, I was fortunate to have been an administration and policy intern at Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers (LADL), a non-profit that represents parents in the juvenile dependency system. My experience at LADL inspired me to search for more opportunities in the nonprofit sector. In summer 2022, I became the Communications Intern at the Synergos Institute.


I have been interested in an internship at Synergos since my first year at McGill because Synergos promotes a mission of trust-building and inclusion to formulate effective collaborations that will help make the world a more sustainable and equitable place; founded in 1986 by Peggy Dulany, Synergos is a global nonprofit that addresses today’s most critical challenges: social injustice, climate change, and poverty. A key part of Synergos’ approach to change making is bridging leadership; bridging leadership connects leaders from diverse sectors, businesses, governments, non-profits, and communities, inspiring collective action necessary to drive social and environmental change.


So, when applying for internships for summer 2022, I applied to all the open intern positions at Synergos: development, communications, and human resources. I wanted to join an international organization that shares my values of fostering collaboration, building trusting relationships, and making a social impact. At Synergos, I hoped to work in a multicultural setting and learn about international development projects, creating communications materials, fundraising, and bridging leadership.


Hazel's computer in a cafe, showing the main page of Synergos' website, which reads "Building Trust Works"
Hazel Berger working at a cafe in Montreal during the remote portion of her internship at Synergos.
While working at Synergos as Communications Intern, I was responsible for developing and structuring a digital marketing strategy for Synergos’ annual flagship event, the 2023 Bridging Leadership Award Gala. This was my favorite project I was assigned because it was a joint effort between the communications team and developing and marketing team. This opportunity taught me how to think strategically about the goals of both departments, attracting new donors and partners while also promoting our event in a respectable, enticing way on different social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I was happy to work on this project with fellow Synergos McGill development intern Mahua, and over the two-month period we worked on it, we became great friends.


Besides working on this digital marketing strategy, I also created engaging content and graphics highlighting Synergos programs and honorees for different international days like the World’s Indigenous People Day and Nelson Mandela International Day. This was a fulfilling task because I was able to be creative, designing social media posts on PowerPoint and Canva. In addition, I learned how to use a social media management software called, which allowed me to schedule my social media posts.

During the first six weeks of my internship, I found working remotely challenging because I struggled with time management, setting up a work from home routine and I was also unsure when I needed to check in with my supervisor. Through this internship experience, I learned the importance of being communicative, making sure that my team knew my progress each day on projects, when I checked in and out for the day, and when I was stuck or debating between ideas that it is okay to reach out and get second opinions on drafts. I changed my working approach to be more open and forthcoming, checking in multiple times a day and making clear what my objectives were each day.


A street with tall buildings on each side
Outside Synergos office in midtown

Although I am not receiving academic credit for this internship, being a communications intern at Synergos will be one of the highlights of my McGill experiences. While gaining insight into the innerworkings of a global nonprofit that works in international development was informative, my supervisors’ mentorship and advice was the most impactful. As part of my internship experience, my supervisors dedicated time each week to review my resume, cover letter, and discuss my career ambitions as I am in my final year of undergraduate studies. I am grateful to have received the RBC Internship Award, which allowed me to visit the Synergos office in New York City. This was exciting because for the last month of my internship I was able to work in person and meet my supervisors, making my internship more personable and memorable.

A view of the Hudson River and a skyline of skyscrappers
The Hudson River at night: living in NYC for the Synergos internship

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