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Business Professionals Share Career Insights with YPIE College Students

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Melody Madera from New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital shares her educational background and career path with YPIE college students

“Education is really incredibly important for opening doors, and the most important thing you should take away from college and the education experience is learning how to learn,” stated Luis Penichet, Vice President & Commercial Banker, JPMorgan Chase

Luis was one of many professionals to share invaluable insights and guidance with a group of college students participating in the Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) College Success program.

YPIE partners with students to ensure they are prepared for success in college and beyond. During the inaugural “YPIE College Success Career Week,” students had the opportunity to hear wisdom and network with professionals from many local organizations, including American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and The Trade Desk.

The purpose of YPIE's Career Week was to expose college and older high school students to careers in various industries, jump-start students’ networking opportunities, and provide tangible guidance in resume writing and LinkedIn profile creation.

During four sessions, students met with 18 professionals with roles ranging from banking and accounting to healthcare, communications, UX design, and data analytics. Many of the speakers had similar backgrounds to these students, coming from diverse ethnicities and being the first in their families to attend college.

At the start of each session, professionals gave an overview of their companies and shared their educational background, major, current role, and career pathway.

“When I graduated, I was in the boat that many college graduates are in, I didn’t really know what I want to be when I grew up. And, I think that's been actually a blessing because the path is sometimes a zig-zag.” said Rebecca Quirke, Manager, Strategy & Business Planning at American Express.

“One of the myths is that you have to have a traditional sort of finance background to be in finance. And that’s not the case, said Timothy Thuku, Vice President, Morgan Stanley. “On my team, I have history majors, English majors…it’s how you think, how you problem solve, how you approach a situation.”

Many of the professionals spoke about the importance of networking, internships, and staying focused on what you are passionate about.

"For me, I really wanted to be thoughtful about aligning my values with the work that I was doing,” said Sharmi Sobhan, Community Development Banking Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase.

“Culture, culture, culture, team, team, team -- Internships are very important because they give you an idea of what the culture looks like,” added Luis Penichet.

YPIE students will bring diverse perspectives to our future workforce. Many speakers spoke about the realities of being a person of color in the professional world and the importance of making our future workforce more diverse. They also shared many specific resources and programs that might be helpful for students of color.

Often I am in the room and I will be the only woman and person of color there. The only thing I can say for young people when you find yourself in this position is it's okay. Know your stuff, be prepared, no one is going to look at you differently,” said Sharmi Sobhan.

“I'm really trying to help people bring people along on this journey because in ten years I want to see the organization look more like me. It's uncomfortable and it’s not always easy to forge this path, but it can be very rewarding when you're on the other side of it,” shared Jessel Amin, Executive Director, Community Development Banking, JPMorgan Chase.

This session was really eye-opening,” said Mona, a Stony Brook University student. “This was a great opportunity for both high school and college students to get insights from professionals,” added Natalya, SUNY Brockport College student.

YPIE College Success Career Week was filled with candid reflections, professional revelations, and wisdom that will stay with these students for years to come.

Look at all the opportunities that are available, speak to guidance counselors at your high school or advisors at your colleges, said Alisa Holland, New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Manager of Community Affairs “But all of the things that are involved in college life, what I would say is find people who can support your dreams.

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