Monday, November 26, 2012

Succeeding in Education, Business & Life

Academy Students Benefit from Capital One Partnership

Nine Academy of Hope students got quite a unique educational opportunity as they traveled to the regional headquarters of Capital One Bank in McLean, VA.  The students spent the day as part of Capital One’s One Week volunteer initiative. The goal of this initiative for Capital One Bank is to bring together the time and talents of their associates to help address the community’s needs and make a big impact over seven days.

Naomi Smouha, Community Relations Manager, Capital One said the Academy of Hope proposal was selected based on the uniqueness on their request.  “We were so excited to see the creativity involved in their concept: to bring AOH’s learners to our facility and engage them with our associates in an intimate conversation about the ins and outs of IT positions, working in a corporation and allowing Capital One employees to provide the students guidance.”

From the outset it was obvious that the Capital One staff was committed to creating a partnership with the Academy of Hope students.  They built a comprehensive agenda for the students that included an in-depth discussion of the corporate culture of Capital One, a tour of the facility, and freely answered questions about their own professional experiences that lead them to their current positions at Capital One.  AOH students were given the opportunity to shadow Capital One staffers and sat in on conference calls and participated in meetings that gave them a real-life glimpse of the leadership and teamwork of a successful business.  Capital One staffers patiently gave information breakdowns that allowed the students to fully engage in the process.

The diligence and thoughtful attention of the Academy of Hope students was noted by many Capital One staffers.  “I was really impressed with how much drive all of the students had as it pertained to the next steps in their career,” noted Naomi Smouha.  “Whether they were entering the tech field for the first time, or were learning new skills to enhance their work experience, they asked thoughtful, important questions about how to ensure their success in the workplace.”

One of the most popular segments of the day was the question and answer session between the AOH students and the staff at Capital One.  Students were given advice on job hunting, networking, knowing the culture of the company and using whatever tools they needed to get past their own limitations.

Each of the AOH students were impressed by how accommodating the staff at Capital One were to them and mentioned that they felt that they were addressing each of them as individuals and not just as a group.  Belinda Josie, an Academy of Hope student commented on the specifics of  what she learned at her visit.  “It was so helpful to learn what companies are looking for.  The phone interview is a new experience for me and I know now that I really need to prepare, to practice and be prepared for a wide variety of questions.”

As the day came to a close Daquanna Harrison-Ashton, Director of Secondary and Post-Secondary Education at AOH, recounted the lively conversations the students were having about how excited they were to share their experiences at Capital One with others in their lives.  “I cannot stress how important it is for our students to recognize that they are leaders in their communities and have the power to share knowledge and information.  Events like this help our students to find their voice and learning to use those voices is just as important as giving them these types of experiences,” said Harrison-Ashton.

Angela Douglas also an Academy of Hope student related her visit to Capital One with a class that she is taking through the Academy that discusses how to succeed in education, business and life.  “One of the things our class taught us is that life is richer when you are giving to and receiving from others.  The employees at Capital One really demonstrated how important it is to have an interactive team approach to achieve a success that is shared by all.”

--Trish Moreis-Stiles, Academy of Hope Volunteer Writer