October 2019 Feature: Making Internships Meaningful

October 8, 2019


Twin Cities

Genesys Works Twin Cities is grateful to have more than 200 supervisors in our network of devoted IT and business professionals that support and mentor our young professionals. In our 2019-2020 Making Internships Meaningful launch, we want to recognize Adrianne VanSpeybroeck, a supervisor at Ameriprise Financial, for her commitment to creating a meaningful internship experience for her intern, Andy Xiong.

We know that creating a meaningful and impactful internship experience isn’t easy – it takes foresight, thoughtfulness, and organization, among so many other things. Here’s some insight into how Adrianne does it.

From day one, Adrianne provided opportunities for professional development and growth: Even though Andy is in the beginning stages of his internship, Adrianne didn’t waste any time providing opportunities for professional development. In fact, Adrianne and Andy discussed his professional and personal interest in computer coding, and almost immediately, Adrianne arranged meetings with her colleagues so that Andy could learn more about the field and practice. Adrianne trusted Andy’s ability to continue learning and growing in his day-to-day role while also exploring and researching future professional steps. That said, Adrianne knew that Andy would have to be self-motivated, so she provided him with physical resources to develop his coding skills and help him understand their big picture importance. Now, a textbook about the role of Python coding in business sits on Andy’s desk as a gift from Adrianne.

Adrianne established herself as an exceptional role model for Andy: For many Genesys Works interns, their supervisors are their first bosses. That means supervisors are uniquely positioned to set a positive example for professionalism, communication, and leadership for their interns. In addition to prioritizing Andy’s success, Adrianne models passion and work ethic. And Andy has taken notice. He explained, “Adrianne is a big role model to me as she displays her passion for the corporate business world. As a result, that inspires me to reach my dreams and goals of becoming someone successful in my own life as she is with hers.” As Genesys Works Young Professionals enter professional settings, quite often for the first time, they are watching and taking cues from their supervisors. A supervisor who demonstrates passion and excitement for their work in the IT world helps their interns open their eyes to the great careers and leadership opportunities that exist in business and technology.

As Andy and Adrianne demonstrate, a strong supervisor-intern relationship starts with intentionality and a willingness from both parties to learn and grow together! When asked what he would share with Adrianne to say thank you, Andy responded: “Thank you so much, Adrianne, for the great experiences that you have provided me so far. Your efforts to ensure that I am happy at Ameriprise really inspire me to become a great leader just like you in the future.” Adrianne has no doubt that he’ll get there, and neither do we!

Genesys Works Twin Cities has more than 310 amazing young professionals in our program – engaged and motivated interns working towards career success in their future. For our first Making Internships Meaningful feature of the 2019-2020 internship year, we are recognizing David Kanyiku, a St. Louis Park High School senior interning at CWT. David’s supervisor, Jonathan Kottke, nominated David based on his enthusiastic and positive attitude and his commitment to learning the soft skills of the corporate world.

David leans into learning and practicing professional skills: Right now, David is working on a data initiative that will improve the accuracy of CWT’s service management dashboards and scorecards. According to Jonathan, David is excelling at the technical aspects of this project, and Jonathan is impressed with his work ethic: ” has been diligent with sending status reports that are succinct and informative.” Our young professionals recognize how important this is – strong weekly status reports are a critical component of our summer training technical curriculum. But David’s early success in his role goes beyond his ability to grasp the technical and conceptual aspects of his role. David has fully leaned into developing the professional and soft skills needed to succeed in a corporate internship. Jonathan noted that David’s first status report presentation with a CWT senior leader was a huge success. Drawing from the presentation skills he learned and developed during summer training, David had clearly rehearsed the content, “maintained excellent eye contact and used gestures throughout the presentation,” and accepted feedback for improvement. David explained that what motivates him to succeed in his role goes beyond learning about technical skills and concepts and that he is most excited by the idea of continuing to develop his professional and communication skills. 

David is his own advocate and motivator: From the get-go, David was tasked with important data clean-up work. While projects like these are critical to the health of the company, they aren’t always the most engaging; it can be hard to see the light at the end of the data tunnel. However, David was excited by the new Excel skills he was learning and wanted to dig in even deeper. Through practice, asking lots of great questions, and even taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning trainings, David has been demonstrating a skill Genesys Works taught him during summer training: taking initiative. David knows that this ability to push himself to learn and grow — and the ability to complete lengthy and challenging projects — will help him in the long run as he continues to build his technical toolbelt. 

When asked why he nominated David, Jonathan shared, “David comes to work with a positive attitude every day and is always conscientious in his assignments. He’s made it easy for a new Genesys Works supervisor like me!” When young professionals like David work hard, take initiative, and practice all the professional skills they learn in summer training, great things can happen! 

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