With more than 2.4 thousand Twin Cities young professionals in the Genesys Works network, there are also more than 2.4 thousand stories we could share about the unique pathways each has pursued. Three of these young professionals – Suman Dahal, Pranav Karmacharya, and Callie Nguyen – recently merged onto a similar pathway to use their skills to give back through an organization called Balance Boxes.
Balance Boxes is a youth-led non-profit organization that provides students in grades K-5 from underserved communities boxes fully equipped with not only educational and fun activities but also a kid-friendly snack to keep them engaged. It has chapters all over the world, and in Minnesota, three Genesys Works young professionals and first-year college students are leading the charge.
So, who are these young professionals?
Suman is a graduate of Roseville Area High School and served as an IT Business Intern for Abbott Laboratories through Genesys Works. Now, he’s studying at the University of Minnesota where he plans to earn a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) or Finance. As a member of Genesys Works’ Talent Development Pipeline (TDP), he’s actively pursuing professional development opportunities to expand his skillsets and his network.
Pranav is also a Roseville graduate but interned at Be The Match. He’s continued his Genesys Works experience through his participation in TDP and as a college intern for Kindeva. His post-secondary path aligns with Suman’s – pursuing a degree in MIS or Finance at the University of Minnesota.
Callie first interned at Target while attending Champlin Park High School. Now, she is busy pursuing a Business Marketing Degree at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. It was Callie who initiated the creation of Balance Boxes’ Minnesota chapter.
Launching the Minnesota Chapter of Balanced Boxes
After discovering the original Illinois chapter via Instagram, Callie reached out and began meeting with the founders to understand the responsibilities of establishing and maintaining a local chapter. One of her first priorities was expanding the team and building awareness around the organization. Enter Suman. While volunteering for yet another organization, Suman and Callie officially exchanged contact information and from there, Suman became a Co-Chapter Head of Minnesota and a Region President of Maplewood. It was Suman’s passion for the mission, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic, that inspired Pranav to get involved.
Ironically, it wasn’t until after they became co-leaders that they discovered their similar backgrounds – bonded by their participation in Genesys Works and as Wallin Education Partners and Page scholars. According to Pranav, it’s their similar values and goals that bonded them in this endeavor and will carry them to deeper impact: “Average” is not in our vocabulary because we want to create an impactful change in the world as business leaders. We each possess different leadership qualities, which creates a dynamic and powerful team. I am confident that together we can accomplish anything.”
As each leader seeks to establish a strong foundation for the Minnesota chapter, they’re assuming different responsibilities. Suman tracks finances, creates and hosts “packing parties,” organizes fundraising events and manages volunteer hours; Pranav runs bi-monthly meetings with ambassadors and outreach coordinators, facilitates interviews for new members and pursues new partnerships and funding opportunities; Callie oversees their digital and social platforms, hosts the packing parties and deliveries, and reaches out to potential donors, as well.
Callie cited how Genesys Works prepared her for the leadership role she’s now assumed:
Genesys Works helped me gain more confidence in my work and leadership skills. I connected with new people, learned new perspectives and personalities, and adapted to different situations and environments. When I took this initiative to become a leader, I knew I was ready to apply those skills. I knew that I needed to organize and reach out to new potential team members. Thanks to Genesys Works, I did not struggle or hesitate to step forward and do the good deed of creating a chapter here in Minnesota.Callie Nguyen
Suman and Pranav also see the important connection. For Suman, the commitment required in a Genesys Works internship has been particularly relevant in his current role.
“I learned that I was much more capable than I ever thought I was and that my voice is powerful.”Pranav Karmacharya
They recognize the special role that all Genesys Works young professionals can play within their communities, and specifically with Balance Boxes, whose mission doesn’t stray far from the Genesys Works mission of providing equitable opportunities.
“I know these people can bring change to the community.”Suman Dahal
They hope to continue this mission with a strong team of leaders – most notably those within the Genesys Works network – in order to help reach their full potential.
Amidst their commitment to Balance Boxes, Suman, Pranav, and Callie all have their eyes toward a successful future. Suman is on his way toward becoming a philanthropist, as he believes that giving back to the community is an essential responsibility. Pranav is focused on a future in global entrepreneurship to provide accessible technology all over the world, recognizing how these disparities can impact the progress of youth. Callie’s experience growing up in an Asian American family has developed within her a passion for understanding different backgrounds and stories, an essential focus she wants to bring into her future career.
It’s worth saying that while young people are our future, they’re also our present.
About Genesys Works
Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process. Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve more than 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region. To learn more, visit genesysworks.org/twin-cities, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About Balance Boxes
Balance Boxes is a youth-led registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides students, K-5th grade, in low-income communities with boxes fully equipped with academic, enjoyable activities and a kid-friendly snack to keep the child engaged. If you are interested in becoming a part of the team with the Balance Boxes Minnesota chapter, you can connect with them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit https://balanceboxesnpmn.wixsite.com/minnesota or visit their Instagram account at @balanceboxesnp_mn.