A note from GWTC Executive Director Karen Marben

As 2019 comes to a close, I reflect on some of this year’s most memorable highlights at Genesys Works Twin Cities. For me, 2019 is summarized by results that are Game Changers, supporters who exude Generosity, and my own Gratitude for the impact of this organization.

Game Changers: These initiatives in 2019 resulted in game-changing results for Genesys Works and our community.

  • Champions at our 40+ different school partners facilitated nearly 1,300 high school students applying to participate in Genesys Works. This was the highest number of applications we have ever received, and we are so grateful to our school partners for their engagement.
  • Our 56 different corporate partners provided meaningful year-long professional internship positions to 318 high school students and another 40 college students.
  • Student Success Fund. We created a student success fund to directly address obstacles our young professionals face, whether it’s transportation, housing or food insecurity, or academic challenges. This fund helps ensure that a temporary obstacle doesn’t result in a permanent departure from a path to success.
  • As part of our expanded programming for college and career success, we welcomed our second cohort to our Talent Development Pipeline. With this initiative, we are truly preparing a more diverse professional business and technology workforce of tomorrow.

Generosity: I witness meaningful generosity from so many different stakeholder groups who are involved with Genesys Works.

  • Our supervisors who work with our students during their year-long professional internship are exceedingly generous with their time. These supervisors eagerly raise their hand each year to not only do their “regular” job duties, but they also provide a meaningful and challenging work experience for a deserving high school student. In our annual supervisor survey, more than 92% of our supervisors intend to sign up again to have a new Genesys Works young professional next year. Because the lives of the supervisors are changed during the year, too!
  • The generosity that we see from our philanthropic supporters is impressive. And impactful. Whether it is a partner like Best Buy who helped to fund an office expansion and remodeling or our technology partners who raise funds to help us expand our programming, we are humbled by the support from all of our funders.
  • The generosity of our Board of Directors can be seen in so many areas of our program and overall operations. These are executives and community leaders who are very busy and they have said “yes” to donating their time and talents – and financial support, too – to help shape our long-term strategies and ensure our organization continues to thrive well into the future.

Gratitude: Since joining Genesys Works in 2015, I have learned so much about gratitude. I’ve always been an optimist, and one of my favorite quotes from Brother David Steindl-Rast is, “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

  • One of my favorite 2019 examples of gratitude is from a student who, as a college freshman, applied and got accepted into a summer internship at Microsoft, only to realize she wouldn’t have the funds for travel and housing expenses, in addition to not being able to work to save money for her sophomore year of college. I shared this situation with someone who quickly became an anonymous donor and wrote a substantial check to cover the required costs for this student to accept the Microsoft internship. The thank you note that she wrote to the anonymous donor is below, and the gratitude that she expresses in her note is deep and heartfelt.

 

  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have immense gratitude for my colleagues who are doing this incredible work alongside me. Their devotion and passion for our mission is unmatched. I’m really proud – and grateful – to be working alongside this group of true professionals. This team is why Genesys Works… works.

As we celebrate a year filled with game-changing impact, I am so grateful to all of our partners and supporters who share their generosity to allow us to do this important work.

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