Since 2001, Comcast NBCUniversal and City Year have forged a strong partnership that is dedicated to supporting young leaders who have made a commitment to service. As one of City Year’s largest national partners, Comcast serves as City Year’s Opening Day sponsor nationwide and sponsors 12 City Year teams across the country.
Comcast NBCUniversal also partners with City Year to host Comcast Career Day. Comcast NBCUniversal invests in City Year corps members’ futures in the workplace during these annual career day workshops, which focus on strengthening their career skills and career-readiness. Comcast NBCUniversal employees generously give their time and experience by working one-on-one with corps members, running motivational workshops and conducting mock job interviews.
Since 2005 Comcast Career Day has hosted over 7,000 corps members, helping them improve their professional skills and explore career opportunities, including those at Comcast NBCUniversal. As we look forward to upcoming career days across the country, we sat down with a City Year corps member and a Comcast NBCUniversal employee to talk about their experiences at the Boston Comcast Career Day, which took place in January.
Courtney Johnson, City Year corps member, serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal Team at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Q: Comcast Career Day is an event for corps members to develop professional and leadership skills. What were you most looking forward to learning at Career Day? What is the most important lesson you took away from the day?
A: Going into Comcast Career Day, I was really looking forward to learning more about Personal Branding. I knew that City Year would be a transformational experience for me, allowing me to strengthen my professional development in addition to first-hand experience, so I was looking forward to gaining more advice from current workforce employees. I not only enjoyed the presentation of the Personal Branding workshop by Kevin Riffe, director of technical operations at Comcast NBCUniversal , but I also enjoyed the genuineness of the message. Mr. Riffe stressed the importance of authenticity; he encouraged us to be ourselves and to strive to communicate in a professional manner. I gained the advice that I needed to be myself professionally.
Q: Comcast Career Day was full of mock interviews and workshops to prepare you for real-life scenarios; do you have a favorite moment from the day?
A: One of my favorite moments was my mock interview. I serendipitously got paired with Suzanne Hovhannesian, Vice President, Talent Acquisition at Comcast NBCUniversal, with whom I had an impactful conversation. Ms. Hovhannesian, very welcoming and personable, challenged me with thought-provoking questions that allowed me to reflect on my future in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I also deeply enjoyed the speech from the Boston City Councilor At-Large, Ayanna Pressley. I really connected with her as we shared similar backgrounds, in addition to similar values. Her confidence and determination in her work were tangible, and very inspirational.
Q: Comcast NBCUniversal employees run all of the workshops throughout the day. Why do you think it is important to learn certain professional and workforce skills through experienced employees?
Having Comcast NBCUniversal employees run the workshops made the day more powerful knowing that it was an event that Comcast NBCUniversal personally invests in. It really showed that Comcast NBCUniversal truly believes in the service of those they support, which made the presentations that much more significant to me. This allowed me to connect more the presenters and absorb the information easily.
Q: How do you feel Comcast Career Day has prepared you to enter the workforce after your year of service with City Year?
I think Comcast Career Day really helped cement the mindset that every interaction is an opportunity to network. It reinforced the importance of professional etiquette, both in person and online. I gained advice on how to update and properly use my LinkedIn account for networking and job searching. Comcast Career Day really put me into the professional mindset I needed to delve deeper into plans after serving with City Year.
Kevin Riffe, Director of Technical Operations, Comcast NBCUniversal
Q: Comcast NBCUniversal and City Year have a long-standing and strong partnership. How does Comcast Career Day enhance that partnership for both organizations?
A: At Comcast we pride ourselves on our local presence within the communities we serve. Being able to partner with an organization such as City Year connects the dots for our employees. It is certainly one of the more rewarding things that we do as Comcasters.
Q: Why is it so important for Comcast NBCUniversal employees to volunteer their time and expertise at Comcast Career Day?
A: It’s really all about giving back to the community. Many of us have had, and still have, mentors and being able to help and guide the corps members is a rewarding experience.
Q: How can the workshops, mock interviews and career insights give City Year corps members a fresh perspective on professional and leadership skills?
A: We try to “keep it real” for the corps members and really try to give them some experiences that can apply to the business world that they will all be entering very soon.
Q: You led a motivating Career Development workshop at this year’s Comcast Career Day. What was that workshop like and what was the main point you hope the corps members took from it?
A: I certainly have a passion for my workshop, “Personal Branding.” I think it is so important that one figures out what their brand is early on in their career and understands how critical it can be to their success. I hoped that the corps members all walked away with a good understanding of the main components of personal branding and how important building and communicating their brand is. I also hoped they had some fun, too.
Q: What was your favorite moment from this year’s Comcast Career Day?
A: When a corps member takes the time to stay behind and personally thank me for the session or simply make a connection, it makes the day so worthwhile.
In 2014, Comcast NBCUniversal expects to have over 1,400 City Year corps members participate in Career Day, and will host Career Day in the following cities; Detroit, Washington DC, Miami, Little Rock, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Jacksonville, Sacramento, San Jose and Seattle.
Kevin Riffe started in the industry in 1982 and has held many leadership roles. In his current role as Director of Technical Operations at Comcast NBCUniversal, he oversees operations for all of Southeastern MA including Cape Cod and the Islands. Kevin has been with Comcast NBCUniversal since 2003 and has attended five Comcast Career Days. I am a lifelong resident of Newton Massachusetts I am heavily involved in the community an enjoy spending time with family.
Courtney Johnson is a first year City Year corps member serving on the Comcast NBCUniversal Team at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School.