By Nneka Akukwe

The Laisar Internship Program provides university students and young professionals with measurable skills to cultivate their career goals.

President and CEO, Florence Amate, says “it is vital to actively work and engage with our youth because they are tomorrow’s leaders.”

Laisar understands the importance behind corporate social responsibility and fulfills it through the program by guiding the youth.

When creating her company, Ms. Amate carefully selected a trusted team of individuals with different job classifications to effectively expose them to future opportunities in management, data analytics, and information technology. This coupled with the company’s inclusionary approach resulted in creating this program. The program’s graduates have successfully translated the hard and soft skills taught at Laisar into their current careers. The 2017 Interns, Nneka Akukwe, Kristina Thompson, and Chad Pantin came into the company with a certain level of skill sets which Laisar nurtured and put into practice. Ms. Amate fully believes that Laisar’s environment is a crucial component to the success of her interns because it encourages creativity, develops independence, and promotes self-growth.

From left: The 2017 Interns, Nneka Akukwe, Chad Pantin, and Kristina Thompson

Nneka Akukwe, a junior analyst and summer intern, exercises her creative freedom to develop content on Laisar’s social media platforms to highlight the tremendous achievements of the company while meeting with her managers, Florence Amate and Frank Welffens, to compile research and data for case studies. When asked about her time with Laisar and its impact on her career goals, Nneka stated that the tremendous mentorship she received from Laisar is her biggest take away and without this kind of environment, she would not have been able to advance her technical skills. Other interns like Kristina Thompson and Chad Pantin, both agree that the support network at Laisar was crucial to their success.

Nneka Akukwe presenting her project to the office staff at Laisar.

Laisar is a huge proponent of hands-on experiences. By providing its interns with strong technical skills needed to support the company’s operational tasks, they play essential roles in collaborative and independent tasks.

As an intern-project assistant, Chad Pantin, implements special projects to support administrative and operational functions that boost the company’s performance. These set of responsibilities allowed Chad to independently develop a tracking system that assesses Laisar’s supply inventory. When asked about the structure of Laisar’s program, Chad praised the program for letting him be a “valued member on a team and providing its interns with a purpose.” Additionally, he believes that the free range provided by his managers, Frank Welffens and Florence Amate gave him the ability to implement creativity into his assignments, resulting in him successfully developing efficient technology that facilitates the company’s corporate management.

Kristina Thompson, believes that her time at Laisar solidified her confidence in how she thinks. As a junior analyst and second year intern, Kristina has a tremendous amount of responsibility mostly including managing program spend on Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) through documenting and filing their certifications and reconciling the payment reports between the MBE companies and prime companies. Kristina admits that she struggled to adjust and found herself questioning her abilities when she started as a first-year intern with the company in 2016. Now, she fully trusts her capabilities and has gained so much confidence in her work. She credits her growth as a young professional to Laisar’s hands-on working environment and guidance she received from supervisors and coworkers.

Past intern, Ruth Ngwana, has a similar success story attributed to Laisar. Ruth interned with the company in 2014 and thanks Laisar for providing her the opportunity to work in a corporate setting. Without Laisar she believes she would not have learned how to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients. When asked how her experience at Laisar helped guide her towards her current career, she said that she still utilizes the transferrable skills (time management, organization, and communication) gained from Laisar in her current job as a “Corporate Insurance Management Analyst Intern” for New York Life Insurance Company. Ruth also believes that if she had not interned with Laisar she would not have learned the importance of business etiquette which includes “speaking up for yourself and asking appropriate questions that are necessary for growth.”

The program’s aspirations continue to grow as the company expands. One major goal is that its interns successfully translate the measurable skill (communication, operation, and technical) taught at Laisar into their respective future careers. Additionally, the company plans to continue to actively engage with college ready and young professionals by providing them with a core framework for achieving professionalism and maintaining a strong professional network. The future of Laisar is very promising; Florence and her team will continue to make a lasting impact for the years to come as her company continues to employ and guide youth towards their respective career goals.