After a rigorous application and interview process, I was accepted into Year Up, a leadership and development training program with a focus in IT.
The first six months are what we call the Learning and Development Phase, where we gain hands on experience in the rudiments of information technology (i.e. computer software and hardware), as well as business communications. I joined Year Up’s 3rd class in September of 2009. As a natural introvert, I was soft-spoken and shy, but attended class every day with 100% attendance and 0 infractions. Unfortunately, however, before I was sent off to my internship, I had to quit the program due to my immigration status. I remember telling myself, “One day I’ll come back…”.
People must have thought I was looking up at superman, I used to stare at the tallest tower at 1 Market Street and think to myself, “One day I will make it there.” Today, I work in the exact same building.
I came back to Year Up hungrier and more determined to succeed. I knew the impact Year Up could have in my life. I knew I had to grab this opportunity by the throat.
Year Up pushed me to be the leader I have always wanted to be and now I am giving back to Year Up by mentoring and managing the upcoming cohort of Autodesk interns.
1. What is your current role?
I currently work at Autodesk as their MAC Coordinator, which stands for “moves-adds-changes” for our Bay Area offices. This position requires the ability to interface well with all levels of the company, provide excellent customer service and work as part of a team, all in a challenging, dynamic and quickly growing and evolving environment. My project coordination, time management, corporate communications and IT skills have allowed me the opportunity to succeed and go above my team’s expectations during my internship phase and current position at Autodesk.
2. What were you doing before Year Up? How did you hear about it?
I heard about the Year Up program in 2009 and joined YUBA’s cohort for class 3. Unfortunately, I had to quit the program due to my immigration status, even though I had completed the Learning and Development phase with 100% attendance and with all of my hard work and dedication invested towards my future. Leaving the program was the hardest thing I ever had to do, especially at one step away from the Internship phase. I used to work 6am shifts for seven years straight at a restaurant, waiting tables, and for a time imagined this was as far as I was going to go.
I came back to the program in September 2013 for class 11, more focused and motivated than ever.
3. How did you use your training at Year Up to leverage your career?
Year Up trains us in so many ways; I challenged my greatest growth area, which was leadership. Thanks to the program, I have taken on different leadership opportunities and ways to advocate for myself. As a natural introvert, in high school being the soft-spoken one meant I could easily be taken advantage of. As friendly as I am, I let the world control me instead of controlling my world. Year Up pushed me to be the best leader I have always wanted to be. During my graduation, I was awarded the Chris Mello Leadership award for “leading with actions, commitment and integrity.”
4. Could you describe one of your typical workdays?
My day-to-day tasks include daily communication with hiring managers regarding new hire seat allocation, office moves and managing a termination list for our Bay Area offices. I also lead initiatives and special projects as required, in support of departmental and business objectives. In addition, I manage and mentor incoming cohort of Autodesk interns from the Year Up program.
5. What aspect of your current job do you enjoy most?
What I enjoy most about working at Autodesk is being one of the first Year Up interns to work at our headquarters because I get to show my company the drive and hunger Year Up students possess. I am honored to be Year Up’s internship program manager for Autodesk and have exciting plans to continue to strengthen this partnership. Autodesk has hosted a total of 13 interns ranging from 4-7 interns per cycle. One day I would like Autodesk to host 15-20 interns per cycle. I also hope that each intern can graduate with a career building experience that they can carry with themselves everywhere they go.
6. What was the most important thing you learned during your time with Year Up?
One of the best life lessons I learned was not taking no for an answer. Take all that negativity and say to yourself, “Watch me do it.” I remember telling my advisor that once I got my foot in the door, I was not leaving. I challenge myself to do better every day and acknowledge that it will be a struggle, but will be amazed at what I can accomplish.
7. What do your plans/goals for the future look like?
Someday I plan to come back to Year Up as a staff member, so I can mentor students and change their lives as much as Year Up has changed mine.
8. What advice would you give to someone who is currently in the job market?
Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and live your passion. Be ruthless for what you want in your life and for every “no,” take it as motivation for self-growth.
9. Is there anything else you would like to share with the Year Up Alumni community?
Remember what it’s like to be a Year Up student and give back.