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Helping teens be career ready

Do you have a friend who is a great connector/networker? You know, that person who always offers to introduce you to new people you might have something in common with?

That perfectly describes my friend, Betsy. Not only is Betsy a connector, but she happens to be a recruiter for Adecco USA, which is the world’s largest workforce solutions provider (the fancy name for what we used to call an employment agency or temporary services).

Earlier this week, Betsy introduced me to Adecco USA’s President, Joyce Collier Russell, who was in town. Turns out, Joyce’s family is a third generation farming family from the heart of Florida. So, the three of us sat at dinner in Santa Monica, California, talking about produce conventions, packing produce and merits of Indian River Grapefruit (the best tasting grapefruit ever).

Eventually, I asked Joyce why she was in town. Turns out Adecco has a global initiative called “Way to Work™.” On Tuesday, April 30, in Detroit, New York and Los Angeles, Adecco hosted simultaneous, day-long, Way to Work™ career-a-thons, where young professionals could get personal, hands-on job hunting and career advice. Joyce was in California to show her support for over 25 local Adecco team members, who gave up time to coach young professionals for free. With youth unemployment in California nearly double the national average, this is a fantastic program that serves an important need.

My friend Betsy is on the right.

Joyce Russell interacting with attendees.

So, what was it like having dinner with the President of a MULTI-BILLION dollar corporation?

Well, first of all, it was personally inspiring to know that a woman is the President of this huge entity. And to find out she got her start in business by selling produce is a great story. I was struck by her personal drive, her commitment to her fellow Adecco team members and, of course, her diligence to serve their clients, the who’s who of business in America.

As we were leaving dinner, I let Joyce and Betsy know that, coincidentally, I was spending the rest of the week at a prominent California university (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and was speaking to an Ag Marketing Class of third and fourth year students about career opportunities in our produce industry.

One of my personal missions is to mentor young people. It is always invigorating to go on campus, feel young again and hang out with a group of up and coming Millennials.

Have you ever mentored someone? It’s personally rewarding and gives new meaning to paying it forward.

Try it!


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