Mentee to Mentor. You Get What You Give.
Mentorship is a critical part of Genesys Works’ mission. Our young professionals benefit from the mentorship our program staff offers as soon as they’re invited into our program. That mentorship continues once they’re in their internship, learning from their supervisors and coworkers.
Why is mentorship important? Mentoring reinforces the power of relationships and can help us redefine what it means to be “the right fit” or “management material.” It also helps us understand the importance of advocacy and being advocates for ourselves and others. Wilfredo Sandoval, Genesys Works class of 2013, knows firsthand the power of mentoring. The way he sees it, “Someone helped me, now I have to pay it forward.”
In 2013, Wilfredo was graduating from Sharpstown International High School in Southwest Houston with a year of professional experience under his belt and a clear path toward his career goals. However, just a few years before that, when he was entering high school, it was a much different story. Wilfredo emigrated from El Salvador to the United States in 2004 when he was 9 years old. Though his parents were role models for hard work and determination, they did not have the relevant experience or network to guide him toward the kind of success they wanted for their son. “I wanted to be successful, but I had no idea what to do,” Wilfredo said.
Wilfredo first came to know of Genesys Works in 2012 when he was a junior in high school. With the offer of professional skills training, a paid internship and mentorship, he knew this was his opportunity. “For people like me, an immigrant from a low-income community, we don’t get too many opportunities like this.” Wilfredo was invited to be part of the 2013 cohort, successfully completed 8 weeks of training and earned an internship with Quanta during his senior year of high school. He contributed to his family’s household bills with the money he earned on the job. Later, Wilfredo went on to secure college internships through Genesys Works at Spectra Energy and Ascend Performance Materials. “When I think back on my professional journey, there were so many people way who helped me along the way.”
Onias Penilla, IT Support Analyst with Ascend, stands out. “He’s been in the industry for a long time and taught me so many things,” said Wilfredo. “He answered my questions and it just meant a lot to me, to feel welcome. I was just an intern then, but now we’re colleagues and friends.” Wilfredo graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in computer information systems and a full-time offer from Ascend. Now, he’s an IT analyst and he and Onias continue to work together.
Wilfredo’s journey has come full circle. He now works closely with the Genesys Works high school interns at Ascend. Gustavo Sanchez-Vera, Genesys Works class of 2019, is one of them. “Because of Wilfredo, I was able to figure out what I want to do,” Gustavo said. “He talks to me about the future and basically how to survive adulthood. We built a really awesome relationship inside of work and outside, and I am very thankful for his patience and his help training me.”
Wilfredo sees a lot of himself in Gustavo. “He’s a good kid. He reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age. We all need an opportunity and a little help,” Wilfredo said. “You get what give.”
Wilfredo’s mentorship extends beyond the workplace into his home. “I was able to help my younger brother apply to college and figure out what he wants to do.” His brother, Eduardo, graduated from A&M last year with the same degree as his older brother. Wilfredo plans to pursue a master’s degree in statistics and eventually pursue a career in data analytics. His ultimate goal? “I want to financially support my family and give back to the community by mentoring others.”
Wilfredo is just one of countless examples of the power of mentorship. Whether you are the mentor or the mentee, the mentoring relationship is beneficial for both. As an internship program, we value the many individuals who selflessly mentor our young professionals to reach their full potential.
If you’re ready to set up a meeting to learn more about hosting a Genesys Works intern and becoming a mentor, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our video library here.
This story is part of our monthly Mentorship Matters series. Like what you see? Forward it to a friend.
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