The Enterprise Experience: Stories from our Youth Council

Youth Council is a year-long leadership development internship. Youth Councilors hone personal and professional skills through attending workshops, planning events, representing Enterprise at events, and serving as a youth voice to the staff and board of Enterprise. 

We sat down with some of the members of the Youth Council to hear about their journey with Enterprise.

Meet Nathan Jann

Hi, I’m Nathan and I joined Youth Council this year. Last summer, I participated in a First Republic internship provided by Enterprise and it was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I met a lot of new people and I got a lot of work experience. It really gave me a lot of skills that I feel are needed for the next steps of my life. 

What was your internship experience like at First Republic Bank?

It was my first work experience in a professional environment and I was super nervous. I was a high school junior who was basically going into this internship with little to no work experience. But with the help of Enterprise, advisors, and the First Republic staff, I got really comfortable. If I had a question about something, I was never afraid to ask. It was a super great start to get into the workplace environment.

What are some things you have learned through your Enterprise experience?

One would definitely be communication. Before I joined Enterprise, I was super bad at communicating. Sometimes I would take years to respond to emails and sometimes I wouldn’t even check my email. Enterprise has really taught me to practice communicating with people and it really helped me. Another thing that Enterprise has taught me is how to be professional. I also learned to think about my future a lot more. Enterprise has opened my eyes a lot and I’ve met so many youth who are taking all these steps to better their future and that had a really big impact on me. 

What are some pieces of advice you would give to your younger self who is just starting Enterprise?

Go to as many events as possible. Networking is super important as you’re getting older. Go to those events, and talk to as many people as you can. Don’t be afraid to approach these people because they are probably just as scared as you are. Just make the best of your experience because Enterprise has all these opportunities and you should take advantage of that. 

Meet DeLara Armijo

Hello, I’m DeLara, I’m 18 years old and I go to Mission High School. I worked for about two years with Enterprise, first I was an intern with Green Careers (now called Climate Career Corps) and then I was a Program Assistant at two parks: Buena Vista Park and Golden Gate Park. 

What has your experience with Enterprise been like?

I went to networking mixers, I also presented in some meetings, and I did a few videos with Enterprise where I shared about my experience with Enterprise and how much I enjoyed it. I attended a mixer where I met a lot of other people, other park rangers, and a lot of other activists. We got to talk about the environment and how important it is to take care of it and how we can implement it in our daily lives. Even just being at the parks in San Francisco was really life-changing and even a lifesaver for me. 

What are some things that you have learned through your experience with Enterprise?

I learned about my passion for the environment and the parks, how to apply for a job, what kind of job I want, how to read W2 forms, and, of course, my work ethic. Enterprise is one of my first jobs and it taught me how to go to a job and how to be on time. I don’t think I could have got that work ethic somewhere else.

What are some pieces of advice you would give to your younger self who is just starting Enterprise?

All of the Zoom meetings that you are attending are going to bring you to a great place in life. Don’t forget that. It’s really life-changing, all of it. I learned about Enterprise through Zoom meetings, and that’s what really changed my life. And now I’m here, happy. 

Meet Zachary Thornton

Hi, I’m Zachary and I’m part of the Youth Council. I had my first Enterprise experience last summer in the Career Exploration Program. It was really spur of the moment because I really needed an internship and I really enjoyed my Enterprise experience. Because of that, I was able to join the Youth Council.

What has your experience with Enterprise been like?

My first internship was Career Exploration with Josh. We had Zoom panels where we heard from people in different professions. We would have a tech day, a theater day, or an art day. And we heard from these professionals about how they got to where they are. It was really interesting to get that kind of insight from people who are actually in these career fields. 

What are some things that you have learned through your experience with Enterprise?

For one, to always take opportunities. Because opportunities are a thing that not everyone has. But a single opportunity can lead to so much. Even this opportunity with Enterprise led to this interview right now, opportunities are infinite in their possibilities. Take advantage of opportunities. 

Secondly, your path may not always be what you expect it to be. No one’s life or path is really straightforward. And there is always a way to get to a place where you are happy, but it is not always that simple, which is why it is important to feel out your options in life. 

Third, the importance of networking; it kind of lines up with opportunities. I have met all different types of people in my experience. One of the possibilities at Enterprise is networking with tons of people your age or even older than you. There are so many people you can meet and experiences you can have if you go out of your way to take that step forward. It’s like a big snowball rolling down a hill. I feel like networking has been a really big thing I have learned through my Enterprise experience. 

What are some pieces of advice you would give to your younger self who is just starting Enterprise?

First at all, be yourself. That sounds really simple, but it’s quite hard for people to do these days; I feel like it’s a simple yet challenging thing. It just makes you happy in general. It could be an uncomfortable thing, but generally, it’ll make you more comfortable and more confident and that’ll just push you further in general. 

Secondly, do the work first. Just like a lot of us, I’ve had problems with procrastination. I feel like it’s a type of thing where it’s a lesson that is constantly going to punish you if you do not learn to fight it. 

Thirdly, try and push yourself to be a leader. I feel like I have some good leadership qualities. Looking back, I kind of wish I had gone out of my way more to search for leadership opportunities. Because I feel like those are the types of opportunities that teach you leadership skills, and help you in the rest of your life and yourself as a person.

Meet Baijian Xie

I started participating in Enterprise for Youth when I was in 9th grade. It was during the pandemic when I learned about Enterprise through an online presentation offered at school. Then I took Job Readiness Training and learned skills I needed for a job, such as resume writing, interviewing, and networking.

What are some things you’ve learned during your time at Enterprise?

I have learned how to step out of my comfort zone and gain leadership skills by participating in lots of workshops like financial literacy and storytelling. This let me feel more connected with the community and taught me to manage myself, my finances, and my time. For our final project, I helped organize the Fireside Chat event that invited many professionals to share their experiences with Enterprise youth. 

What is a piece of advice you’d give your younger self who is just starting at Enterprise?

One piece of advice I would give to my younger self is to be patient and focused. Because my internship was at the time of the pandemic, it was all online, so I was lacking in some real-world experience, but I learned that it would all come.

Meet Kathrine Manueles

Hi my name is Katherine, I am 18 years old and I go to Marshall High School.

What has your experience with Enterprise been like?

About a year ago, Enterprise for Youth offered workshops at my school with Carlo and Madisen. We worked on interviews and later on, I was offered a Climate Career Corps internship. After that internship, I was able to join the Youth Council which helped me interact with others and be part of projects and events. Through Youth Council, I was also able to run presentations and present them to my peers at school.

What are some things that you have learned through your experience with Enterprise?

Being able to socialize, do presentations, and how to value the environment and the plants. I learned how to take care of them and about the life they bring to us. 

What are some pieces of advice you would give to your younger self who is just starting Enterprise?

Not to be scared of learning new things because it gives you the opportunity to have new experiences, to learn new aspects of work, and to find new friends. Also, keep in mind that everyone is the same, so don’t be scared of not being able to fit in just because of a language barrier. 

*Responses have been edited for clarity and length.