Julie Vo McConnell, Senior Program Coordinator at Genesys Works Twin Cities, began her journey as a Genesys Works intern

There are two events in my childhood that I can think of which shaped who I am today. The first was my parents’ divorce when I was seven years old. My mom, my siblings, and I had to learn how to live without my father in our daily lives. The second event was when my mom was in an unstable relationship. Observing the negative impact he made on my mom was difficult to witness. This ultimately influenced how I perceived the world – I had doubts about what my future could look like. It was not until Genesys Works entered my life that I started regaining my confidence and sense of purpose.

I remember receiving a letter from my counselor at Richfield High School asking me and some of my peers to meet in the counselor’s office. I thought it was another boring presentation; it wasn’t. The presentation was on Genesys Works. I knew almost immediately that Genesys Works was the right opportunity for me. I was looking for college support, career guidance, meaningful work experience, and most importantly, I wanted to form more positive relationships in my life. I remember applying for the program, being asked to interview, feeling overwhelmingly nervous during and after the interview. I remember opening my acceptance letter and feeling so proud to be part of an organization like Genesys Works.

That summer, I put all of my best effort into the skills training with the hopes of earning an internship. After 8 intense and fast-paced weeks, I successfully earned a year-long internship at Xcel Energy as a Deskside Support Intern. I met tech professionals that served as my mentors and gained skills and experiences to add to my own professional and personal toolkit. During the school year, my Program Coordinator, Beth Moncrief, took the time and listened to what I needed and walked through the entire college process with me. Beth made a huge impact on my life and pushed me to dream big, always. At some point during my year at Genesys Works, I set a goal for myself to one day work for Genesys Works. I wanted to make a difference in a young person’s life, as Beth did for me.

Genesys Works taught me I can accomplish anything through persistence, initiative, and enthusiasm. With that in mind, I successfully graduated with honors from Augsburg University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Sociology. After graduation, I completed two terms of direct and indirect service work for AmeriCorps in varying roles. I then quickly applied to Genesys Works as soon as I learned a Program Coordinator position opened. I was hired and, just like that, my dream came true! Fast forward to today, I am currently a Senior Program Coordinator and working my way up to being an Executive Director. Because I haven’t forgotten to dream big, always.

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About Genesys Works

Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college.  Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process.  Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region.   To learn more, visit genesysworks.org.