While attending Iona College, I remember the day I met INROADS representative Phillip Anderson. He came in to speak to CML, the Council of Multicultural Leaders, about the INROADS outreach that took minorities who excelled academically, and placed them in internships, over the summers, with many Fortune 500 companies.
It was the first time I'd heard words like 'mentor', and 'sponsors'. Academics was always my thing, but here I was face to face with a company that was searching for people like me. That afternoon, after leaving that meeting, I emailed Mr. Anderson and was accepted into the program.
I did it for two summers, placed at IBM in Armonk, NY as a writer for their internal site. Yes, me, at IBM....there was a time.
In the midst of that second summer, I left both INROADS and IBM. In my eyes, I was a different kind of success story from INROADS. I have many friends who were placed with companies, and now over five years later they are still hired by them, in lucrative positions.
I was the flip side of the coin. The creative energy was stirring, and what my internship did for me, was it showed me what I DIDN'T want to do. Something just as important, if not more than finding out what you do want to do. In that light, I advocate for INROADS wholeheartedly and still keep in touch with former mentors and employees.
INROADS, gave me something so crucial...an opportunity. It allowed me to make nice money as an intern, and to see how I fit in the world of Corporate America. I am grateful for the experience, and wouldn't take it back for the world.
Today, my fundraising day is for INROADS, an amazing program for minority youth.