Lessons learned, mentors gained through summer internships
This is the third post of a three-part series of testimonials from young workers that were employed at Yoh during summer 2012.
We recently heard from Evan Leonard and Tatiana Redden, two of Yoh’s summer interns, about how their positions with our company have impacted their educational and professional development. To close out the series, I’d like to share the thoughts of another bright young man who has progressed through the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program into a recurring full internship with Yoh for the last three summers.
Paul Riley, a sophomore at Princeton University, spent this summer working in Yoh’s Human Resources department. His comments below regarding his experiences and growth opportunities at Yoh remind me of the importance of developing strong professional rapport and seeking a career mentor (or mentors).
In progressing from an institutional education environment to the working world, one will find that learning opportunities most frequently come in the form of collaboration with others rather than in a traditional classroom or training setting. Colleagues and mentors can share their experiences and lessons learned with those less seasoned than themselves, guiding and helping them to develop. In conjunction with hard work and dedication, professional collaboration and mentorships will greatly impact an individual’s ability to assume more responsibility and ultimately take on new roles when they present themselves.
As you will see through his commentary, Paul truly has been impacted by both his colleagues and managers at Yoh. These relationships have not only created the foundation of Paul’s early professional development, but will likely be associations that he will maintain once he completes his degree and begins his career.
Remember: One is never too young or old to seek out career mentorship. After all, what can be more impactful than the guidance and friendship of those who have traversed a similar career path?
Enjoy Paul’s thoughts. You just might find yourself fondly remembering those individuals who invested in your own professional success!
The power of mentorship
As a 17-year-old junior in high school, I knew that I wanted to get a job for the summer. In years prior, I had taken unpaid political internships or a job at a local day camp. While I am grateful for those experiences and opportunities, I desperately wanted something new and something different.
One day, I received a call from a family friend who informed me of the WorkReady program. This program sought to expose the youth in Philadelphia to a variety of internships and career fields. Not knowing what to expect, I completed the application and anxiously awaited a response. This was such a big deal to me, for when I had applied for jobs in the past, I had either just missed the application deadline or I was too young to work.
To my surprise, a representative from the program called me to schedule an appointment to discuss my interests. I attended the meeting and was told that my resume would be sent to prospective employers.
A week passed, and then another, and another. Then one day, as I was preparing to leave school for the afternoon, I turned my phone on and saw that I had a missed voice mail. The moment that I had been waiting for had finally arrived. I now had an interview!
After two interviews, I was offered a position in the Yoh Human Resources Department. Little did I know at the time that this would be a match made in heaven!
From my first day to the present, I can honestly say that working for Yoh has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was here that I was able to grow as a person, as a colleague, and as an employee. I learned the importance of being mature, accountable, dedicated, reliable, hardworking, and responsible.
My colleagues (Lisa Griffin and Samantha Courtright) welcomed me with open arms and truly challenged me to be the best that I could possibly be, not only here, but wherever I might find myself in the future. When I made mistakes, they never complained. When I asked a million questions, they were always patient with me. I am also grateful for the leadership of Heather Peters and Suzanne Levin and for their willingness to allow me to work for what has now been three summers.
What I truly like about Yoh is that this company actually does what it says it is going to do. I am not the only one who recognizes this fact, for I regularly visit the company intranet site where there is frequent news about how Yoh or Day & Zimmermann is being recognized for excellence in a number of fields, or how they are landing or renewing great contracts with other incredible companies.
As I prepare to leave for the summer and head back to Princeton to tackle my sophomore year, I can honestly say that I am going to miss coming to work every day and interacting with a diverse, unique group of people. While I may be a few miles up the road, I know that the skills that I have developed and the lessons that I have learned will take me very far in life.