My name is Stephanie Rodriguez and I am currently a rising senior on the Babson cross country and track & field teams. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Santander Sugar Group, a sugar mill located in Belmopan, Belize. However, my experience at this company was a little bit different than others because this is my family business and this summer it was my turn to experience working alongside with my family.
I spent most of my summer drafting and developing family employment norms and structuring the company's corporate governance. Since this is a relatively new sugar mill that started harvesting in 2016, management has been focusing more on improving the numbers and optimizing the process. However, this past year, my Dad and I have been taking a course together at Babson called the Family Entrepreneurship Amplifier Course. In this class, we learned about the process of transitioning and entering the family business as the future generations. Therefore, I was able to apply all the concepts that I learned in the class as we drafted possible family employment laws and corporate governance to present to the board of directors.
In addition to working in the family business, I had the opportunity to visit the Belize Brewing Company - which is in charge of Coca-Cola, Crystal Water and Belikin in Belize - with my team. This company is certified in ISO 9001 which are certain norms and requirements that companies that provide products for human consumption have to comply with. At Santander Sugar Group, we are motioning toward getting this certification and my team was in charge of getting this certification and creating the documents and norms that go with it. Over the course of this internship, I was able to improve my communication skills, network and experience working in the family business. I am truly thankful for everything I have learned at Babson because I was able to apply this throughout this internship.
Aside from working in the family business, I was also able to apply my passion for running by bringing in some healthy competition amongst co-workers. My team and I decided to start a running challenge, where we would compete to see who could run 150 km in month. This challenge not only encouraged a little healthy competition but also increased bonding time outside of work with the team. Since, the company is located in Belize, I was also able to explore the area. I had the opportunity of going zip lining, snorkeling, and hiking. I was blessed with the opportunity to visit different places that I had never been to and learn more about Belizean people and culture.
Overall, I had an amazing summer and I truly believe that my time here has allowed me to experience and slowly transition into working in the family business. I am so thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity of working alongside my family and help the Company move forward in aspects like Corporate Governance and ISO 9001 certifications. I am very excited to head back to Babson and start what will be my last year at Babson with the hopes of finishing this final chapter with an amazing season!