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Transforming Talent: Maddie Pullen's Journey from Intern to HR Supervisor

Where did you attend college, and what was your major?

I attended Clarke University and received a degree in Business Administration!

How did you first hear about Cottingham & Butler and the intern program?

I toured Cottingham & Butler during my freshman year in an introduction to business class. Nikki Goodchild was the campus recruiter at the time and gave our class a presentation in the lower level of the building. I left the site visit and immediately told all my friends and family that it was my dream to work at Cottingham & Butler someday. I knew the internship program was very competitive so I completed three different internships after that freshman classroom visit to prepare. In the fall of my junior year, I interviewed and was offered an internship position with Human Resources. 

Describe your experience in the Cottingham & Butler internship program. What did you learn during the program that you still use today in your full-time position?

My internship experience was life-changing. I had a whole team of individuals who helped me complete my final project to highlight my hard work and eagerness to work at the company full-time. The internship pushes you outside your comfort zone, provides real-world experiences, and prepares you for a career after college. I still use the organization skills, presentation concepts, and meeting etiquette that I learned from the internship experience every day. The internship taught me to jump in and never give up, which I feel is a lifelong lesson. I also made incredible friends that I'm still close with to this day. In short, the internship was my launchpad to a fulfilling professional career.

What’s your favorite memory from your time as an intern? 

My favorite memory from the internship was a Saturday afternoon river float down the Maquoketa River. Our internship class was very close and we wanted to spend time outside of work making memories. We spent the afternoon on the river laughing and enjoying our time together. 

What do you think the Cottingham & Butler internship program offers that other internships don’t?

The Cottingham & Butler internship allows you to work on real projects that will impact the company. I completed a benefits benchmark survey that involved 30 other companies both local and nationwide. It was utilized both internally to vet our benefits package and with our employee benefits division for their client analysis. The project was referenced for years after its completion and had a major impact on our offerings. The internship helps you understand what a real job will be like after college and provides you with a team that cares about you and your success. 

What drew you back to Cottingham & Butler after graduation? 

After my internship, I stayed on part-time through my last semester of school to help the Human Resources team. I continued to learn more about Human Resources and ultimately started full-time after graduation as a Human Resources Generalist. I loved the team and the company as a whole, so it was no surprise I wanted to stay on for the future. I had also attended college in Dubuque and loved the city, so I was excited to begin my life as a young adult in Cottingham & Butler and Dubuque. 

How have you seen yourself evolve as a professional at Cottingham & Butler? 

I began my career as a Human Resources Generalist, but have experienced a lot of growth in my time here. I eventually advanced to Benefits & Payroll Specialist, and then to my current role as a Human Resources Supervisor. Cottingham & Butler continuously pushes you to the next level and rewards hard work. I didn't know a single thing about Human Resources when I began my internship and now I'm considered one of the experts on the Human Resources team. I know I want to continue my career at Cottingham & Butler because I'm truly in love with my job. This is a company that continues to grow, and so opportunities are endless. 

What do you love most about your current role? 

My favorite part of my position is providing resources to employees so they can be successful in their careers. In Human Resources, we like to say that our "clients" are the employees of Cottingham & Butler. We're an integral part of the company's story. Every day we're faced with new challengesno days look the same. The people at this company make me want to come in every day and do my best.

Why should college students consider the Cottingham & Butler internship program? 

The Cottingham & Butler internship is a first-class program. You work on projects and immerse yourself in the day-to-day of a real company. The people of Cottingham & Butler are there to enhance your skillset and to challenge you to be the best version of yourself. You have a community that is unmatched and resources to prepare you for a career of a lifetime.


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