University of Southern California

Student Life Blog

More Than Just a Bar: Fueling America’s Heroes


By Rini Sampath Friday, August 2, 2013

We’re not just another nutritional bar company at Rise Bar. Sure, we make delicious and nutritious snack bars, but unlike most brands on the market, we’re completely free of GMOs, gluten, preservatives, and we even sell vegan and vegetarian bars. The manufacturing is local to Irvine, California, the packaging is beautiful, the customer service is great and our national presence is really taking off.

If it sounds like I’m making a plug for our bars on this blog, I’ll admit it. I really am. After all, I work in the marketing department. My mouth is trained to talk about these bars like they are a gift from God. But seriously, I sure do hope the big guy up there grabs one of our Almond Honey protein bars after His workout. Those are especially delicious.

I love my job not only because the hours are great and it’s close to home (a 10-minute commute with 105.9 turned up is more of a pastime than a chore), but also because of the incredible team I work with. Natalie, my manager, is always charismatic and friendly. Monica, my co-intern, comes in every day with a smile on her face and a passion for what she does. And then there’s Constantina, my best friend for life and a fellow Trojan, whose presence is always comforting. The others — Pete, Wendy, Tyler, Adam and Gerry — are so helpful that I couldn’t imagine work without them.

As you can tell, we’re a small company. But we’re growing each day and reaching more and more health enthusiasts. I love seeing the big clear doors of our office swing open to reveal the colorful walls, ping-pong table and familiar faces. Each day begins with a quick meeting where we evaluate the tasks we hope to accomplish. Typically, we work in the office, discussing creative ways to get our products into the hands of as many people as possible. As interns, our accomplishments range from analyzing competitors, brainstorming contests, maintaining the company blog to developing material for our social media outlets.

But then there’s fieldwork, where our company really comes to life: expos, product demos at retail stores and best of all— community service.

My favorite campaign, Rise to the Occasion, uses our bars to cater to the needs of first-responders and other American heroes.

Recently, we hopped into Natalie’s car and journeyed through Orange County to surprise firefighters and policemen with cases of our bars. With the summer sun shining, the music blasting, and endless giggling, I couldn’t believe that this was a part of my summer internship.

Monica, Natalie, Fireman Paul, Constantina and Rini.

Monica, Natalie, Fireman Paul, Constantina and Rini.

Internships have a reputation for being merciless — unpaid, grueling and stuffed in closet-sized spaces making copies.

But my internship is none of that. As you can tell from my big smile in the photo, Rise Bar has treated me more than well. The company has given me new knowledge, new exposure and greater fervor for life.

Visiting the fire station made me love my job even more. We walked in to greet the firefighters, explained who we were, and immediately received a warm welcome. Their vivacious personalities were contagious. They quickly made our day by letting us try on their helmets, explaining how the fire trucks worked and giving us a tour of their turf.

You see, I’ve always admired firefighters for what they do daily. Hearing sirens and knowing that the most courageous individuals of our country are ready to save the day gives me peace. But to actually see smiles on their faces and an extra pep in their steps just because of a product drop-off? That’s indescribable. Even though we’ll never be the ones to actually don that heavy gear and head for the flames, at least we have a sense of satisfaction knowing the men and women who do are fueled by our bars.

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