When I stepped into the Student Advisory Council Philanthropy Chair position, one of the goals I had for the year was to develop initiatives that could tap directly into the business knowledge and leadership skills of all Boothies. We are a community of future leaders – why not take advantage of this to benefit the greater good?
And so I turned to Chicago Ideas. Most people are familiar with the organization because of Chicago Ideas Week that features global thought leaders speaking about a range of compelling topics. But the organization is so much more than that. The Chicago Ideas Youth (CIY) Program provides high school students a platform to seek out new opportunities, develop leadership skills, and gain exposure to ideas and experiences that will incite them to promote change in the world around them.
In particular, CIY’s Ambassador program provides 35 students from under-resourced communities in Chicago direct access to Chicago Ideas Week programming. This includes a year-long event schedule of behind the-scenes access to organizations and experiences as well as a direct pipeline to Chicago Ideas’ globally recognized speakers for more intimate small group interactions. Not only this, but Chicago Ideas advises them in professional and career development, including offering valuable lessons in networking and resume building. The opportunity for Boothies to give back as mentors by sharing what they know best was almost too perfect a match.
The initiative kicked off this summer with job shadow placements for members of the Ambassador program. Through this collaboration, Ambassadors will not only be exposed to new career possibilities and industries, but gain tools to help them start their own professional networks. They are matched with Booth mentors, who will provide candid insights and reflections on their career choices, educational background and preparation, and the day-to-day workings of their professional life. Job shadows last 2-8 hours and take place at the Boothie’s office or a company event. We even have Boothies who work at the same employer co-hosting students. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t wait to hear about all the experiences our community will share with these students.