On Thursday, May 2nd, the Genesys Works Twin Cities team gathered 1,300 of our closst friends to celebrate the Class of 2019 for the Breaking Through Ceremony held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Presented by ThreeBridge Solutions, the Breaking Through Ceremony gives the entire Genesys Works community – corporate partners, family members, current and former young professionals, school and community members and partners, and staff – an opportunity to mingle, connect, and recognize the collective and individual accomplishments of this hardworking class of young professionals as they approach the finish line of their year-long internships.

Throughout the night, we heard from some special guests including GWTC Executive Director Karen Marben, ThreeBridge CMO Charlie Anderson, Genesys Works CEO David Williams, and more.

Four months into his new role as Genesys Works CEO, David Williams shared with the Class of 2019 his three words to live by: Persistence, Opportunity, and Gratitude. He advised students to “make the most of this next opportunity” and “to maintain a grateful heart” along the way. 

We have to admit, we were blown away by the student keynote speaker, Leyla Abdirizak, an intern at Xcel Energy and senior at Washburn High School. She confidently and earnestly shared about her journey from Nairobi, Kenya to St. Kate’s University, where she will start school this fall. Leyla shared her simple and powerful mantra with the crowd, something she learned in summer training and had continued to say to herself in stressful and challenging moments: “I believe in me. I BELIEVE IN ME!” We believe in you, too, Leyla.

While the night focused on the Class of 2019 young professionals, we had the opportunity to celebrate some key partners and a distinguished alumnus throughout the program. We recognized Davon Goodwin, a Genesys Works Class of 2012 alumnus and part of the first ever cohort to be placed at Cargill, for the Distinguished Alumni Award. Since graduating, Davon landed a job as a contractor for Target and after two months, was hired full-time due to his commitment to excellence.

Genesys Works would not have its powerful and far-reaching impact without the continued support from its school partners. From recruitment all the way to graduation, the partnership with counselors, administrators, and teachers ensure the existence of the program. And one school in particular has gone above and beyond in supporting Genesys Works and its interns this year: Bloomington Kennedy High School. Bloomington Kennedy – an eight-year partner – was recognized for the Distinguished School Partner Award for their continued championing of the program and for a 400% increase in student applications this year!

Clad in a red and white-patterned jacket, Richard Walker, CEO of York Solutions, Founder of the Think IT Association, and a GWTC board member, presented the Think IT scholarship awards to four Genesys Works alumni who are pursuing degrees in IT or business and have shown a commitment to excellence. The 2019 scholarship recipients are Omar Ceesay, Brandon Ngo, Latifa Said, and Yingyi Zhou. You can read more about these outstanding scholars in a series of upcoming spotlights on our website, including this week’s feature on Brandon Ngo.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible: to ThreeBridge for three years as the Breaking Through presesenting sponsor, to Optum, a gold level sponsor, and to Medica, York Solutions, and Xcel Energy, the silver level sponsors. Your support is essential to the success of events like these and to the entire Genesys Works program.

Thank you to the class of 2019, for giving us so much to celebrate. We can’t wait to see the positive impact you’ll have on the world and those around you. And, we can’t wait to see you a year from now at our 2020 Breaking Through Ceremony!

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