Staff Spotlight: Alison Clowes


What is your favorite travel memory?

I arrived at the Taj Mahal at sunrise, with the sun slowly coming up and burning off the fog. It was early enough that it wasn't very busy yet, and you could see it standing magnificently in the distance. Because it's one of the most photographed buildings on earth I didn't expect to be so moved by it. But being from the United States there is nothing that has that sense of weight or architectural beauty on such a grand scale. I remember staring intently at the curving script meticulously carved in marble, and being in complete awe at the work of art that it was. It is such a rare treat to see up close, and you appreciate its beauty in a very different way.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

India is definitely underrated. I lived there for over a year, and completely fell in love. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you have a sense of adventure and can embrace the chaos, it's totally amazing. India is a place that brings your senses to life. There is so much sound, color, taste, and sensation that you feel more alive when you're there. And the natural beauty and stunning architecture are unlike any other. For a relatively small country it has a shocking amount of different cultures, languages, and climates. The opportunities to explore are endless. It's hard to say a specific destination is overrated, because you can always find beautiful or intriguing elements, but I definitely think that the beach resort vacations are overrated because you don't get a sense of the culture or people when you're shut away in a little resort enclave.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Unlike many other intern placement programs, we practice what we preach. We were first started in 2003 as a consulting firm in the development sector in Cape Town. Since then Creative Consulting and Development Works and the if i could... Internship Program have expanded and built longstanding relationships with major organizations through contributions to research, monitoring and evaluation, communications, and much more.

Our staff bring a deep understanding of development theory and practice gains through years of experience in the industry.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

Any time we have an intern come back and say, “Wow, you all really went the extra mile! I was so thankful for all your support!” then I'm proud that we have helped our interns succeed. I've done many internships and international exchange programs and I'm extremely committed to making sure that our interns have really exceptional experiences, so I'm thrilled when I see that it has happened.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Investing in people. Whether they are clients or coworkers, when you take the time to listen and observe, and then respond in ways that support who individuals are as people, you can't lose. People want to be heard, understood, appreciated, and affirmed, so doing those things goes a long way.