October 2nd, 2017 | Joshua Bryant, Sterling Talent Solutions
Adam Weiner Selected as Mentor of the Year for Greater Atlanta Year Up Program
Adam Weiner, Senior Vice President of Technology for Sterling, is a very busy man. Aside from spearheading great progress during his many years of leadership with Sterling and active professional involvement as a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia Cloud Society, Adam was recently honored for his outstanding volunteering efforts being selected as Mentor of the Year by Greater Atlanta Year Up. The program is a one-year, intensive training program that provides over 200 low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a professional mentor and a combination of hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, corporate internships and wraparound support.
We sat down with Adam to discuss the Greater Atlanta Year Up program, how it’s creating amazing change in urban communities and what he has learned as a mentor. You can read the interview below.
What’s the Greater Atlanta Year Up program?
The Greater Atlanta Year Up program is the Atlanta-based branch of a national program that is working to close the opportunity gap for low-income young adults. Some young adults feel unsure about pursuing a professional career, specifically in IT or the sciences, so we partner with them and share our insights on everything from positions-specific knowledge, interpersonal communication, punctuality, dressing for the job, and other valuable workplace skills.
That sounds fantastic! How did you get involved with the mentor program?
Sterling has a great Corporate Social Responsiblity (CSR) program called REACH (Realize, Empathize, Act, Connect, Help) that gets employees involved in giving back to local and international communities through a number of initiatives and nonprofit programs. The REACH program introduced me to Year Up and that is how I was first given the incredible opportunity to become a mentor. In fact, the entire Sterling Atlanta leadership is involved now – six of us mentor in total!
What kind of hurdles to you see low-income young adults facing when it comes to success?
It can be a multitude of issues regarding everything from unstable home lives to access to skill-based training, budgeting and how to interact and collaborate with fellow employees. When these young adults partner with a mentor from Year Up it lasts six months and we work to improve both their professional and personal lives as well. As a mentor, you learn to listen just as much as you speak.
That’s good advice about listening more. How much time does a mentor commit to the program?
The time investment is about one hour per week give or take, sometimes a bit more. We usually communicate each week either by phone or email and on top of that we meet once per month for lunch to catch up face-to-face. We also attend social events together in Atlanta as a way to get them comfortable with networking and engaging in the local IT community. Everything revolves around building a strong relationship between the mentor and the mentee.
Michael Smith, whom you mentored, gave a moving graduation speech announcing your award as Mentor of the Year. In the speech, he noted you went “above and beyond” in your role as mentor, noting the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” How did it feel hearing that?
Being able to get to know and build a relationship with an outstanding young person like Michael over the past year was an enriching experience and I’m very grateful for that opportunity. I’m immensely proud of his achievements and look forward to following his successes in the future. The proverb he quoted in his speech perfectly summarized the community engagement the Year Up promotes: we each have a responsibility for ensuring the next generation has every available resource to become successful, well-rounded members of society.
All of us at Sterling are very proud of Adam’s incredible work and will continue to support his volunteer efforts as well as those of our global employee base. Again, congratulations on your award!
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