former interns

Going From Internship to Full-Time Job

Kaela Hoisch, Unzipped Staff
Levi Strauss & Co.
August 19, 2021

At Levi Strauss & Co., it’s no secret that our summer internship program is more than a learning opportunity — as CEO Chip Bergh likes to say, it’s basically a three-month interview.

And for many of our previous interns, that process landed them right back here at LS&Co. We checked in with a few of our interns-turned-colleagues to hear about their past experiences and current insights.

What is your most memorable moment from your internship? 

Franklin Russell
Senior Manager, Global Operations
MBA Sustainability Intern, 2015
Alma Maters: Goucher College; UC Berkeley

For our intern group project, we were asked to design a Veterans Day collection. The team put together a compelling program that leadership approved and, thanks to Chip, led to a call with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In our last week of the internship, we virtually met the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and pitched a joint LS&Co. / VA partnership. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and speaks volumes to the company’s investment in its interns.

Kayleigh Hendrix
Global PR & Corporate Communications Lead, Dockers
Corporate Affairs Intern, 2017
Alma Maters: San Francisco State University; USC

I loved and appreciated how much I truly felt like a contributor during my internship. The whole team really helped me feel like I was contributing and a true team member putting in the work. I felt both challenged and appreciated, which I think is the perfect combination for a successful intern experience.

Omar Luna
Merchant, Global Men’s Bottoms, Levi’s®
Global Men’s Bottoms Intern, Docker’s, 2018
Alma Mater: Santa Clara University

I was doing real work while still being a student and intern. I was asking a lot of questions, and not being afraid to do so was so impactful. The company hired us for a reason, and we needed to stand out for what we already knew — but what I learned was that I needed to stay ready for the things I didn’t know and ask for help along the way.

Jeanine Zheng
UX Designer
UX Design Intern, 2019
Alma Mater: Harvard University

I have two photos with Chip, and I think that speaks volumes to how special this internship program is. I don’t know many companies where a CEO would dedicate that much time and take time out of his day to interact with interns. That, to me, really was impactful and something I’ll never forget.

Why did you decide to work for LS&Co. after your internship?

Franklin: The internship played a massive role in my decision to come back. I loved the people I met at LS&Co. and saw a ton of potential in the company. At the time of my internship, the company was just beginning to grapple with the new digital era and to rethink how we make and sell jeans. I wanted to be part of LS&Co’s transition to a 21st-century direct-to-consumer business and was excited to help disrupt old ways of working.

Kayleigh: I decided to come back because I think the company is a great place to work. I align very personally and closely with all our corporate values. Finding a place to work where you’re able to share in those values is so important.

Omar: I mean, it’s Levi’s®! They give us the opportunity to learn and feel like we don’t have to know it all, so why not come back and learn with the people who are best in class at denim?

Jeanine: I work in UX, so I was really wanting to work at an omnichannel-focused company that also gave me the opportunity to work with physical product, because my day-to-day role is mostly working on a computer. Levi’s® was the first place that I had worked at that allowed me to have that dual experience.

Has the company given you the space to build your career and how?

Franklin: In my time at LS&Co., I have been fortunate to hold several different roles. I started off interning with sustainability and then moved to a full-time role in strategy, which exposed me to numerous parts of the business. When I asked the company for a new opportunity and expressed interest in working overseas, they helped me find a role within the Europe distribution team. After working in Europe for a year and a half, I transitioned back to global operations, where I currently sit. Throughout my time at the company, I have continuously been exposed to projects that challenge my understanding of the business and help me learn new things – something I really appreciate. 

Kayleigh: The company has absolutely given me space to grow, especially thinking back from my internship to my current role with the Dockers® brand. I’ve been very fortunate to have leaders and managers who truly care about me, especially through providing honest feedback and listening to my needs. Overall, I’ve learned that it’s so important to advocate for yourself, especially when you’re younger and early on in your career. At LS&Co., I’ve had managers who advocate right alongside with me and are just as invested in my growth as I am.

What inspires you and how do you bring that to your work?

Omar: Being a merchant, what really inspires me is bringing new ideas to life. We get to take an idea that a designer has and workshop around it, turning essentially nothing into something. I like being the middleman who gets to take an idea, create it and then share it out to our audience. What’s also inspiring is being able to change the initial concept based on the consumer’s reaction.

Jeanine: What inspires me at work are the moments where I feel like I am a kindergartner and it’s like I’m seeing something for the first time through a new perspective or lens. That’s really what energizes me. I’m so lucky that I get to do that at work because design is so iterative. It’s constantly going between learning or finding and then creating a design solution. That kind of learning, curiosity and instinct really pushes and fuels me and my work.