Level Up!: The Importance of Internships

Gain a competitive edge by learning why internships matter and what internships are available. This session gives a direct look into internships and apprenticeships from the employers who offer the program. These opportunities are real life looks at what the job will offer and is a great way to gain experience before you take on your first job. Many internships and apprenticeships lead to full time employment. Don’t believe? Check out these employers and see what they have to say.


Danita Gibson - Moderator

A native of Columbus, Georgia, Danita Gibson Lloyd, BA, MS, is the daughter of William L. and Alfreta T. Gibson, both proud Albany State graduates. A 30-year business professional, Mrs. Lloyd is a graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with minors in Speech and Dramatic Arts and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree. She is also a graduate of the ABA School of Bankcard Management.

A proven executive with a background that spans 30 years, Mrs. Lloyd creates and sustains sound business relationships, easily adapts to changing environments, clarifies and communicates complex issues and consistently exceeds client expectations. With specialized experience in the financial services, insurance, marketing, public relations, healthcare, education and not-for-profit industries, Mrs. Lloyd has a history of producing bottom-line results by raising brand awareness, increasing organizational visibility, and driving traffic to company platforms.

Currently Executive Managing Partner with Farmers Insurance – The Menefee Agency, Mrs. Lloyd is a licensed insurance agent who also serves as a Military Instructor at Fort Benning, facilitating personal financial management courses to soldiers in Basic Training. Since 2013, she’s instructed personal finance classes for more than 63,000 soldiers in Advanced Infantry Training. She previously served as the Economic Literacy Facilitator for Girls Inc. where she simultaneously served as a Marketing Consultant with her own consultancy, DGL Communications. Mrs. Lloyd served as Development and Marketing Director of Columbus Botanical Garden where her responsibilities included major donor fund-raising, gift reporting, marketing, public relations, communication, and Garden’s 10-million-dollar capital campaign. Prior positions include serving as Director/COO/CMO of Peaceful River Residential Services, LLC, and Communications Strategist for The Courier Eco Latino Group. Mrs. Lloyd has served as an adjunct faculty member for Columbus Technical College, San Diego City College, Miller Mott Technical College, Columbus State University and University of Phoenix. Formerly, Mrs. Lloyd also served as Corporate Communications & Media Relations Director and corporate spokesperson for TSYS for 15 years.

Her community affiliations include serving as Board Member for UGrow Inc., the Hardaway High School Alumni Association and the Columbus Black History Museum. In addition, she is the Marketing/Public Relations Director of the Urban League of Greater Columbus as well as a Board Member and Executive Board Member. She proudly serves on the Steering Committee for the Bob Wright Symposium on Business Empowerment and the Columbus Campaign UNCF College Fund Steering Committee. She is the organizer of the Bob Wright Black Business Roundtable and Creator/Organizer of the Annual Rhapsody in Bloom Jazz Fest.

A Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she has been married to Marvin Lloyd for 26 years and together, they are the proud parents of three: Marvin “MJ”, 25, (Bachelor of Arts, 2018, Psychology/minor Chemistry, Duke University; Master of Science, CUNY), accomplished model, videographer/photographer and NYC Math Teacher; Khayla, 24, (Bachelor Arts, 2019, Sports Marketing, Clemson University; Master of Science June, University of Louisville) and Academic Counselor for Auburn University’s Athletic Department; and Lauren, 20, top-ten percent honors graduate and pre-med Sophomore at Duke University, majoring in Psychology and Global Health. In Mrs. Lloyd’s rare moments of solitude or relaxation, she enjoys researching her family’s ancestry, reading a good book and spending time with family and friends.

Lisa J. Smith

Lisa J. Smith is Vice President of Community and Economic Development for Georgia Power. In this role, Lisa leads a team that is responsible for recruiting new business to Georgia, as well as supporting local and statewide initiatives that promote community development. Additional areas of focus for this role include workforce development and engineering.

Most recently, Lisa served as the Vice President for the West Region for Georgia Power. In this role, Lisa was directly responsible for the company’s external activities for 550,000 customers across a 72-county area for the west side of the state.

Lisa began her career at Mississippi Power as an engineer in 1993. She relocated to Georgia Power in 1997, where she has held positions of increasing responsibility in distribution, sales, region operations and as an area manager in Waynesboro and Newnan. Lisa also served as assistant to the senior vice president of the Metro Atlanta Region, where she was responsible for providing support for the company’s operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for 1.2 million customers.

A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Lisa earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. She has served as a member of the board of directors for various organizations, including the Aerotropolis Alliance, and the Regional Business Coalition. Most recently, Lisa served as a member of the board of directors for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, the Columbus Development Authority, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Girl’s Inc., the National Infantry Museum, and as a trustee for the RiverCenter of the Performing Arts. She has been recognized as one of the Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal and The Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence.

Lisa has been married to Derick for 25 years and they have one son, Gabriel.

Allison Gorman, Ed. D.

Allison Gorman, Ed.D., is the manager of workforce development at Gulfstream Aerospace. Under her guidance, the team is responsible for all workforce development initiatives, including college programs (internships and co-ops), military outreach and recruiting, apprenticeships, pre-hire assessments and much more. Allison previously held roles as the manager of leadership development, senior instructional designer and training specialist at Gulfstream. Prior to joining Gulfstream, Allison was the assistant director of experiential education and employer relations at Georgia Southern University, where she supported the University’s internship, co-op and employer outreach efforts. Allison has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia as well as a master’s degree in school psychology and a doctorate of education in education administration, both from Georgia Southern University.