Marketing and Communications Intern at United Way of Long Island
Attending Suffolk University in Boston, MA
Public Relations major with Marketing minor
On Wednesday, July 31st I had the privilege of attending the Bank of America Professional Development and Community Service Day in Melville, New York. Also attending the event were 37 interns who participated in the Bank of America Charitable Foundation Summer Youth Employment Program, administered by United Way of Long Island. Workshops such as career planning, resume writing, and financial literacy filled up the day’s agenda, which began at 9:00 in the morning and ended at 3:30 in the afternoon. I had no idea that I would have a full day of interesting presentations and experiences that would teach me so much about my professional life now and in the future.
Mary Ellen King, Sr. Vice President of Global Human Resources at Bank of America, led the first workshop of the day which focused on career planning, resume writing and interview skills. Interns, including myself, were eager to hear about the key tips to getting a good job and becoming successful. King emphasized to us that we should choose a career path they are passionate about and will outline their definition of success.
King advised interns to write a thank you note to their interviewer no later than 24 hours after they have the interview. As a hiring manager in previous years, she explained to us that many thank you notes all look the same and if you want to stand out you need to personalize the thank you notes to make the interviewer feel a special connection.
As the workshop concluded, we were left with an interview tip: if you do not have any questions at the end of an interview, ask a question like, “What skills have made you successful in your role here?”
Our next workshop was called “The Power and Pitfalls of Social Media,” which was conducted by Karen Taylor-Bass of TaylorMade Media LLC. We heard real life stories about social media posts that have been detrimental to people’s careers and were advised to think before posting. Although many interns have heard this saying in the past, it was new for some of us to hear that college admissions officers look at an applicant’s social media platforms and if they find something offensive or distasteful they can easily rescind the admission offer. Taylor-Bass explained what it means to buy your domain name and why this is so important; if you do not own your name on social media, someone else can purchase it, which can cause major problems. I was surprised that I could buy my domain name for less than $11. I’m going to look into this!
After lunch we heard from Noelia Tissera, Vice President and Market Leader for Consumer Banking at Bank of America and Preetham Dhivakarababu, Vice President and Market Leader for Merrill Edge. Both Tissera and Dhivakarababu spoke about how emotion and investing should not go hand in hand. We were advised to commit to goals and time frames in order to invest properly.
The third workshop of the day was Financial Literacy and was directed by Cathy Duque, Vice President of Global Human Resources at Bank of America, and Yamiley Jabouin, Assistant Vice President of Global Banking and Markets at Bank of America. I felt like this workshop was the most informational and encouraged us to start saving and budgeting. Duque stated, “It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how you manage it.” I agree with Duque and after hearing the presentation I am more interested in ways that I can cut down on spending.
Jabouin advised students to not have a credit card until they turn 21 because it is a life time relationship with the credit card company once you start. I was grateful for this presentation because my misconceptions about money management were debunked. Jabouin and Duque explained to us that when you receive your credit card bill you have the option to pay off the minimum balance or the entire amount. I used to think that when you received a bill you would have to pay off the entire amount, now I understand how it actually works and why getting a credit card at a young age can have adverse effects.
Throughout the presentation there were some facts that really stood out to me. I was stunned that 62% of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account. I did not realize that the majority of the United States struggles this much. Another astonishing statistic is 63% of Americans can’t afford a $500 to $1000 repair on their car or home, leading them into debt. After hearing these facts, it made me realize the importance of having an emergency fund for the obstacles life will throw at you.
The last portion of the day was our community service project led by Greta Guarton, Executive Director of Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. This was my favorite part of the day and it warmed my heart to give back to the community. During this event, we created care packages for families who are homeless living on Long Island, consisting of socks, deodorant, soap, tissues, hand sanitizer, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, chapstick, a comb and two granola bars.
Guarton explained that there are 4,000 individuals who are homeless in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Along with the toiletries, each of us added notecards with hopeful messages to the bag of goods. In total, 204 bags were made by the end of the event. I am so fortunate to have so much and I enjoyed creating care packages to help those in need. Homelessness is something that no one should have to experience and I was grateful to be a part of the mission to end homelessness on Long Island.
Once the bags were finished, Bob Isaksen, Long Island President of Bank of America, spoke to us describing how we are the future. Isaksen explained that first impressions mean everything on an interview and he was glad we heard tips on how to interview properly. In addition to Isaksen, we also heard remarks from Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive and Dana Boylan, Executive Director of Nassau County Office of Youth Services. Bellone stated “How can we create and environment [on Long Island] where you can be successful?” Boylan stated that she is very committed to summer youth employment and emphasized, “Youth development is community development.” Clearly Isaksen, Bellone and Boylan are three very passionate people about bettering the opportunities for youth so we can become successful and self-sufficient individuals.
All ten guest speakers really showed us that success is possible if you have the drive and the right mindset. It was a fantastic day and I am so glad that I was able to receive so much information.