Pathways to Progress: The Power of Mentorship on Display at the Citi Open
August 30, 2017 02:15 PM
The power and impact that mentorship can have on the lives of young people was on full display earlier this month at the Citi Open, when three young women from the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)’s Ascend program participated in the 2nd annual Professional Development Day at the Open. Supported by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, the Ascend program works with first-generation, low-income college students to help them complete college and prepare them to pursue professional careers.
To kick off the day, the young women spoke with youth from the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF) about their own experiences getting into and thriving in college. They then had the opportunity to shadow various professionals responsible for bringing the tournament to life. Here’s what they learned:
Erica, 20, American University
Pathways to Progress programs - from WTEF to MLT Ascend - help youth build a strong foundation in life and guide them in the right direction. I am the product of the various academic and career-oriented programs I've participated in, and one common thread has been my ability to connect with strong mentors. I was glad to be paired with Kristin from Citi's Global Government Affairs office since my career aspirations encompass the international affairs field. Within minutes of meeting, Kristin and I discovered that we had both lived in the same part of Iowa, which was an unbelievable coincidence. Seeing someone from where I grew up achieve such great career success was empowering for me. I'm glad to have participated in this event and to have spoken to the WTEF students about the value of reaching out to others for advice and guidance.
Amma, 21, Howard University
It was exciting to speak with the youth from WTEF. I was very impressed that so many of them knew exactly what they’d like to study in college. I think it’s important to tell kids from a young age that they can be anything they want to be. I knew early on that I wanted to be a doctor because my parents enrolled me in a mini-med summer camp, but many of my neighborhood friends limited their ambitions to what they saw people around them doing. Having goals and having mentors is a critical component to success. MLT taught me how to set and achieve concrete and realistic goals and also plugged me into an amazing network. Because of that opportunity I’ve been able to translate my ambition into reality. Being able to sit down with the next generation and share my experience is kind of a full-circle-moment for me, and I hope that I’m showing girls that look like me that they can do it, too.Jamika, 19, American University
Speaking to the WTEF youth made me reminiscence about the role that mentors have played in my life. When I was younger my parents encouraged me to engage with programs that exposed me to different career opportunities, but without mentors along the way I don’t believe I would have actually realized anything close to my full potential. As a first-generation college student, I’ve come to depend on mentors and listen to the experiences of others who’ve walked a similar path, which has helped to position me for future growth. My mentor from MLT helps me put my intentions into action and pushes me to seek more rigorous and advantageous opportunities for myself. One example of that was participating in the professional development day at the Citi Open. My mentor for the day, Keely, is one of just a handful of female tournament directors. We talked about persevering through challenging times and something she said during our conversation really stuck with me: she reminded me that, no matter what, I should always remain true to myself regardless of where my life takes me.
Pathways to Progress is Citi and the Citi Foundation’s response to the persistent issue of youth unemployment globally. Follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #Pathways2Progress.