Last Friday, City Year Boston participated in Comcast Career Day, an annual event in which AmeriCorps members receive top-notch professional development and training from representatives of national sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal.

More than 60 local Comcast and NBCUniversal employees provided career advice and practiced mock interviews to help corps members transition to the next step in their professional journey. Comcast also arranged for professional headshots for all 265 City Year Boston AmeriCorps members, along with our fellow AmeriCorps members serving with City Year New Hampshire and City Year Care Force. NECN host Peter Howe moderated a lunch panel on determining your career path and Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo delivered closing remarks about his road to becoming a prominent policy maker in Boston.

"I have already begun implementing what I learned during these sessions by recrafting my own personal story to emphasize the passion I harbor for creating positive social change." -Drew Wilcox, AmeriCorps member

The same day, City Year and Comcast announced a three-year partnership renewal agreement valued at $11.2 million in cash and in-kind support. Additionally, City Year named Comcast NBCUniversal a National Strategic Partner, the highest sponsorship level afforded to a corporate sponsor. The multi-million dollar agreement supports various national and local events, conferences, leadership development, and Comcast NBCUniversal’s ongoing City Year team sponsorship. Comcast NBCUniversal sponsors teams in 11 cities across the U.S., including Boston.

Three City Year Boston AmeriCorps members serving with Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester reflect on their experiences below.

Drew Wilcox: The sessions that most stood out to me on Friday were the workshops on personal branding and social networking. The key takeaway I gained was that the ability to communicate your unique story and vision to people within your professional network is a valuable asset. Confidently presenting your experiences and goals to others is crucial in order to highlight not only your past accomplishments but also the incredible successes you are capable of achieving. By painting an honest, understandable, and inspiring image of who you are - both through online outlets like LinkedIn and in-person meetings such as informational interviews - you are setting yourself up to make an incredible first impression upon professionals within your field of interest. I have already begun implementing what I learned during these sessions by recrafting my own personal story to emphasize the passion I harbor for creating positive social change.

Danielle Doolittle: My schedule for the first half of the day focused on interviews, something I was particularly excited about. I attended a session specifically about interview skills that was broken up into tips for before, during, and after interviews. Looking over my notes, I noticed three main takeaways from the facilitators: the best thing you can wear is your confidence, take notes during the interview, and make yourself stand out by taking the time to send a thank you email or card. I learned that the little things count the most in an interview and I took these lessons along with me to my next time slot of the day: mock interviews.

I walked into the room, nervous because I didn’t know what to expect but shook the hand of my interviewer, Jeff Lafata, and sat down with a smile. Lafata had previously served with City Year which led to genuine and engaging conversation through which I was able to talk about challenges I’ve faced, action steps I have taken to overcome them, and areas where I have grown the most during service. At the end of the interview, Lafata gave me feedback about how important it is to make the interview conversational while also emphasizing that employers will pay attention to the language you use and if you are using terms specific to their company or line of work. I appreciated his feedback and walked out of the interview feeling more confident and aware of the skills I want to work on before I begin interviews for the next step along my career path. 

Jake Roth: I would argue that the most impactful aspect of Comcast Career Day was the series of speeches we heard throughout the day. We had the privilege of listening to various presenters with ties to both Comcast and City Year, each of them offering their own unique perspectives about building a career and personal brand. However, the speaker that stood out most to me was Felix Arroyo, the City of Boston’s Chief of Health and Human Services. He began by speaking about his humble beginnings in the South End and Hyde Park, focusing on the struggle of coming from an immigrant family. He spoke about his childhood at length, connecting his background in the Boston Public Schools to many of the shared experiences he had with the students we serve through City Year. He then transitioned into his unexpected political career path, which to me was especially profound.

I was enthralled as he described his untraditional route into city politics, including the fact that his father was the first Latino City Councilor in the history of Boston (important to note that he was not the last, as Mr. Arroyo became a City Councilor himself in 2009). It was even more compelling to hear about how he ran for Mayor of Boston during the most recent election, continuously emphasizing the organic and spontaneous nature of his start--and progress--in politics. Throughout his speech, he related his experiences in both his private and professional lives to the importance of identity and humility. It was extremely impactful to hear meaningful advice from a person serving our city with such high rank. I can say with confidence that I will remember his words of wisdom as I begin to build my own career and personal brand.

Above: Felix Arroyo, Boston Chief of Health and Human Services, with Timothy Kelly, Comcast Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, and the AmeriCorps members of the Comcast NBCUniversal team serving with Jeremiah E. Burke High School

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