At Genesys Works, our mission is to provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships.
Our proven model not only changes the future trajectory of students’ lives, but also has a ripple effect in their families, communities, companies, and society at large.
As I reflect on the last year, it can be easy to focus on the obstacles we’ve faced. A global pandemic, a massive downturn in oil prices, the many milestones that our students didn’t get to experience, including their high school graduations—these difficulties have tried us all in ways we could never have imagined.
Yet, these extraordinary times have also brought out the best in us. Genesys Works Houston’s incredible interns, supervisors, partners and staff rose to meet our many challenges with grace and resilience. Thanks to their dedication, we have not just survived 2020—we have laid the groundwork to become a stronger and even more effective organization.
At Genesys Works, our partnerships with local corporations are the backbone of our success. When one of our partnerships goes above and beyond, we celebrate.
One of those partnerships is Cheniere. As part of their corporate culture, the Houston-headquartered energy company creates opportunities that positively impact communities every day. For over eight years, Cheniere has been committed to our cause, serving over 30 Genesys Works interns.
In 2020, the company launched a unique mentoring program for Genesys Works alumni, pairing them with Cheniere employees to help them gain valuable insight into college culture, develop a broader perspective on career opportunities, and get encouragement as they prepare to start college. Cheniere mentors gave our students an extra boost of confidence as they started the next phase of their post-secondary pursuits.
“Being part of Genesys Works has helped me gain insight into working in a corporate setting. Cheniere has influenced me to become more confident and taught me different career opportunities, how to communicate with others and understand the importance of teamwork. Because of Cheniere, it helped me become the best version of myself.”
- Natalie Alfaro
Genesys Works alumni, class of 2019
Johnny Aranjo is learning how his thoughts and experiences can positively impact others. His Genesys Works internship in human resources with Cheniere has empowered him to speak up and share his personal insights, especially about the diversity issues we face today. The East Early College High School senior is embracing the opportunity.
As part of his internship, Johnny is a member of Cheniere’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion task force. According to his supervisor, Tamara Anderson, who encourages him to contribute at every meeting, Johnny provides invaluable insight into ways to change the company culture to adapt to a younger generation. Having witnessed high-school classmates being shamed for who they are, he shares his experiences and helps other task force members see a different perspective.
Cheniere has listened: Johnny is playing a pivotal role in helping to revise the company’s diversity statement. We believe this is the first of many times Johnny will have an impact on others in his bright future.
“The Diversity Equity and Inclusion task force at Cheniere shows how each of us can grow by having people who are different from us bring new elements to the table. This has inspired others to take action and learn to be more inclusive of others.”
Kimberly Arellanas has gained a greater sense of self and a boost in confidence in the last year, thanks, in part, to Mrs. Fallon Savoie, Kimberly’s high school teacher and one of Genesys Works ultimate student champions.
The shy high school senior was encouraged to apply for Genesys Works by Mrs. Savoie. In the past 5 years, she assisted nearly 50 students to apply for and participate in the education and internship program. Now part of the Genesys Works class of 2021, Kimberly is interning at Cheniere in its accounting department, a business function she knew nothing about before her internship but is now considering including as part of a double major in college.
Mrs. Savoie frequently pushes her students out of their comfort zone knowing they will gain a greater sense of independence as a result. She says she has watched Kimberly transform from a timid girl into a young woman who isn’t afraid to use her voice, strongly believing Kimberly will become a vital asset to her community in the coming years.
By supporting students through the Genesys Works process, Mrs. Savoie is privileged to witness her students develop valuable social skills, gain a tremendous boost in confidence, and become empowered to pursue a college education. She also relishes the fact that her former students have pursued post-secondary degrees or are advancing their careers at major corporations.
“The current pandemic has cast a bright light on how much telecommuting and technology is key to having a successful future. Genesys Works has much of that imbedded within their program, providing valuable real-world skills to prepare these students for their future.”
- Fallon Savoie
“Ms. Savoie is always there to support me and does her best to adjust my schedule to avoid any conflicts! She even had a one-on-one class with me so that I could arrive on time to my internship!”
- Kimberly Arellanas
Genesys Works Class of 2021
The Ever-Expanding Ripple
“I've talked to my younger brother about the opportunities I've had because of Genesys Works. I explained the advantages including the pay, the networking skills and the overall great experience, and he was sold!”
Gianella Pablo has a great appreciation for her high school teacher, Mrs. Fallon Savoie. A Genesys Works alumna, Gianella says Mrs. Savoie saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself. Not only did Mrs. Savoie encourage Gianella to apply for Genesys Works, but once she began participating in the program, she pushed her to learn more, build meaningful connections and gain new perspectives.
Before Genesys Works, Gianella struggled with poor communication skills, but now she is pursuing a degree in corporate communications at The University of Texas at Austin and is working as a public relations intern at a small marketing firm.
Mrs. Savoie notes that Gianella is one of the students who told her she wouldn’t have felt so strongly about going to college if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Savoie. Gianella said she is so grateful that she was pushed in the way she was and now feels empowered to navigate everything that makes her successful in the workplace.
“Mrs. Savoie is one of the most genuine educators and has always been there to support me. She inspires me to become a better version of myself, and for that I’m thankful. She’s made a real positive impact on my life.”
- Gianella Pablo
Genesys Works alumni, class of 2019
Cheniere has created even more opportunities for their Genesys Works interns to learn the value of building social capital. Committed to promoting education and engaging local communities, it launched a unique mentoring program for Genesys Works students, pairing them with (Cheniere) employees prior to them starting college.
Zachary Lynch, an employee at Cheniere, is a huge champion of the mentorship program. He mentored Rahel Gebrelul, a Genesys Works alumna from the class of 2019.
When Rahel joined the Cheniere program, she was working in an internship with Houston Community College part-time. She was grateful to be accepted into the program even though she was not a Cheniere intern. Zachary has taught Rahel how to prepare for life in college, what it’s like to be a business major and how to get involved in different campus organizations.
Rahel and Zachary are just one of several mentee/mentor teams benefiting from the Cheniere mentorship program. The program model has been so successful that the Genesys Works team has shared the concept with other companies interested in creating professional development opportunities for their employees while supporting the next generation of young professionals.
“I enjoyed teaching someone just entering college how to avoid common mistakes and how to have a successful college career. It’s advice many others gave me when I entered college, so it’s great to pass it along.”
- Zachary Lynch
Cheniere Mentor to Rahel Gebrelul
Luis Cortez is preparing for his career in IT. As a Genesys Works alumnus, Luis had an invaluable opportunity to return to Cheniere as a paid college intern in their IT department. He is now getting the early work experience he desired and hones his problem-solving skills with the same team that taught him so much as a Genesys Works school intern.
As a high school student at Mickey Leland College Prep Academy, Luis became interested in a career in computer science, and his internship at Cheniere affirmed his career aspirations. With his sights set on a bachelor's degree in IT, Luis is currently enrolled in Houston Community College, studying Computer Information Systems.