High School Interns Made an Impact

July 30, 2020

This year, Mizuho Americas hosted two outstanding high school students from the inaugural intern class of Genesys Works NYC. The Houston-based non-profit recently opened its NYC chapter with some help from two Mizuho USA Foundation grants in support of the organization, which thoughtfully prepares and pairs interns with corporate sponsors. Steffi Rivera worked in Accounts Payable and Gael Mendoza in the IT department on the PC Field engineering support team.

Steffi and Gael spent last summer in a training program with Genesys Works learning basic office skills such as etiquette, email practices, and entry-level computer skills in preparation for joining Mizuho last September. Once on board, they had permission from their high schools to serve as part time interns during the school year, working every afternoon and meeting one evening a month for additional group training and support. 

Upon joining Mizuho, Steffi and Gael found themselves in a whirlwind of activity. Mizuho Americas was in the final stages of its One Campus initiatives to migrate the systems of different businesses onto common platforms. For Steffi that meant an intensive push to create Concur profiles.

“When I first joined I was a bit scared, actually,” recalls Steffi. “We had lots of training from Genesys Works on the different aspects of office operations, but nothing on finance departments. But, I was welcomed with open arms and all my co-workers gave me great support.”

Despite the demands, Steffi delivered. “She’s smart as a whip, courteous and dependable,” said Yolanda Ferrigno, a vice president who worked with Steffi. “She’d never been in an office setting and adapted quickly to all the protocols.”

For Gael, joining IT was like boarding a moving train. “IT was already in the middle of moving the whole firm from PCs to VDI, so there was a lot going on,” he said. “But I just jumped in and was able to help out.” Oleg Foux, Director, Server & Network Administration, commented, “Gael quickly established himself as a responsible and smart young man. He has a bright future ahead.”

However, working as PC Field engineering support requires tight supervision of trainees that could not be done remotely. So Gael faced the prospect of having his internship suspended when we moved to working from home. But Oleg, sensing Gael’s potential, enrolled him in a skills development program at Mizuho allowing him to continue his professional development despite the disruption. Gael has since rejoined the team to finish out the internship before starting college in August. 

Thomas Warren, VP, HR Business Partner, was not surprised with the success of the program. “I had experience with Genesys Works at a previous employer and knew the caliber of their interns,” he said. “In fact, we see this program as a new pipeline of talent acquisition for us.”

Mike Gross, Executive Director of Genesys Works NYC, appreciates the multi-faceted nature of our engagement. “Mizuho has provided incredible support from our opening day to the graduation ceremony of our first intern class in June, and I’m pleased that they will continue their commitment through next year,” he said. “Mizuho doesn’t only give our interns rewarding experiences, it also provides philanthropic support to help us grow, and more broadly, impacts all of our interns by teaching them how to write a resume and training them in budgeting and personal finance skills.”  Mizuho employees have helped through two Mizuho Cares programs. 

There’s a personal connection as well. Steffi’s supervisor, Tavannie Perez, Vice President, Finance, heard that COVID-19 cancelled ring night at Steffi’s high school, so she had a custom school ring created and delivered it to her home –  “the team slipped in in a few sly questions in order to come up with the design,” she admits. 

“It was the day that I got my diploma delivered by my principal,” Steffi remembers. “There was another ring at the door and it was Tavannie with the ring. I was overcome with emotion.” 

Mike from Genesys Works participated in the event live via video conference Tavannie set up. “It made me tear up,” he said. 

Gael is headed for Monroe College in August to study cybersecurity and Steffi to the University of Buffalo to study business administration. But before she finishes her internship, she will get a bit of management experience helping train the Genesys Works intern who will take her place in the fall. 

Thanks for all your hard work Steffi and Gael and good luck with your studies.

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