May 2019 Feature: Making Internships Meaningful

May 9, 2019


Twin Cities

Genesys Works Twin Cities is grateful to have supportive supervisors and motivated young professionals. For May’s Making Internships Meaningful spotlight, we are especially excited to feature a special duo from Target: Supervisor Jason Munson and intern Matthew Xiong, each of whom nominated the other for this esteemed recognition. We wanted to see what exactly made this relationship so successful – and so meaningful – so we caught up with the two of them and learned how both Matthew and Jason utilize two key strategies to maximize the Genesys Works meaningful internship experience.

Matthew says YES to things outside of his comfort zone:
According to Matthew, a key part of the Target culture is being bold. Matthew took this cultural charge seriously and has started incorporating “boldness” into his every day work life. A few weeks ago, Matthew was tasked with doing sprint review for his team, something that’s challenging for someone so new to their role. Additionally, Matthew proactively asked to be the point person when his team codes as a crew—this means he is the person sharing his screen and leading the process for the team.

Matthew’s supervisor, Jason, shared this about Matthew’s drive: “One of Matthew’s desires was to be more open with his team to share ideas… His confidence was not built initially, which I told him was very much expected. Fast forward a few months and now he is actively speaking up in our planning and daily meetings. He has challenged the status quo and has offered different perspectives multiple times in the last couple of months.” Matthew’s boldness and his “say yes” mentality gave him the tools to reach his goals. And, now, he feels confident enough to contribute and share his perspective with his more experienced and established teammates.

Jason institutes a “10-minute talk break” with his interns:
Jason wants his interns to feel like work is a place to learn, grow, and have fun! As a way of facilitating a fun environment, Jason prioritizes having 10-minute talk breaks with his interns. During these talk breaks, Jason asks his interns questions about their goals, the passions, interests, etc. It’s a time to talk about anything – as long as it’s non-work related! These breaks give the entire team time to recharge and build meaningful, long-lasting bonds across the team.

Jason decodes the workplace for his interns:
Matthew shared, “Since this is my first job, has really shown me what the real world is like… he continues to be real with me about how the industry functions, and I know I will carry that insight on through any company I go to!” Throughout the workday, Jason will pause to explain the “whys” of the office. In addition, he will give Matthew constructive feedback so that Matthew knows how his actions will be perceived in the workplace. Jason knows his interns do not have all the context for understanding how the corporate world functions, so he takes the time to give them advice about how to successfully navigate a professional workplace. He teaches his interns how to effectively present and articulate their ideas, how to listen and ask the right questions, and more.

Geraldine Mpetey, the Genesys Works program coordinator for Target, has the pleasure of working closely with both Jason and Matthew. Geraldine shared, “Matthew and Jason are a dynamic duo! When I think of an authentic relationship, I think of Matthew and Jason. It has been awesome to watch their relationship grow and the way they share how they inspire each other! There was an analogy that Jason shared with Matthew and me that really encapsulates the beauty of their relationship: ‘in this world we have pebbles, rocks and sand… All are necessary and all serve a purpose.’ It’s a simple, yet powerful, analogy regarding meaningful relationships across all generations and perspectives.”

Congratulations to both Matthew and Jason – you two embody the values of Genesys Works and it’s clear that you have both worked diligently to make this internship meaningful!

Jason’s advice for other supervisors: Spend time listening to your interns and work hard to build their confidence and technical skills. The return on investment is well worth the time spent.

Matthew’s advice to other young professionals: Try anything! The only way to get to where you want to be is to not be afraid to try anything.

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