For the Incoming Class of Interns: You have a voice that matters

February 24, 2021


Twin Cities

By Sheila Stone

This year, after completing eight weeks of professional and technical skills training, I received a Genesys Works internship at Optum as an Operational Process Report Analyst. I perform tasks which support the day-to-day operations in IT, and I see this role as beneficial for the Business Analysis degree I hope to pursue.

When I first began my training at Genesys Works, the prospect of an internship at a place like Optum were nerve-wracking. I asked myself, “What can a senior in high school have to learn or give to a large company like Optum? Do I have enough life experience to offer in an internship?” I will admit that this frightened me. But, over the past couple of months, I have learned a lot about myself, my goals, my ambitions and what I have to offer. Perhaps as you read this and consider opportunities through Genesys Works, you also feel frightened. So, I want to share with you the best piece of advice that I received while in a meeting at Optum.

Despite my insecurities, I was told that we all have a voice, that I need to find my voice and discover how to express my thoughts and questions. There are two ways that I have learned to find my voice. Firstly, I have learned to express my voice through working on a team at Optum. I participate in weekly meetings, and the work I do adds value to the team. In these meetings, every voice matters. Questions should be asked, opinions should be given, and you should never be afraid to take the lead and answer questions when you have something to offer. On a team, every member plays a valuable role, and even an intern has something to offer.

Secondly, I’ve found and expressed my voice by networking and connecting with others. A constant message I receive from Optum that I have tried to use is the importance of making connections and networking. Reaching out, expressing your personality, asking questions, and sharing about yourself helps to build a community of connections where we all can express ourselves and be successful.

As you find your voice and learn to express yourself, don’t sell yourself short. You are preparing yourself for many future endeavors. Your network at Genesys Works and your internship will help you to find your voice. When you do, you will become a better leader. You will be better prepared to express yourself, build your network, and connect with others.

Shelia Stone is a Class of 2021 intern who currently holds a position at Optum. She is also a student ambassador for the Genesys Works program, seeking to recruit the next class of young professionals from her high school, Eden Prairie High School.

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