At College for Social Innovation, we know that our first jobs and internships shaped our futures and cultivated our passion for social sector work. These experiences are the reason we are here today! The beginning of summer marks the start of similar experiences for college students everywhere—experiences that will open doors of opportunity and launch inspiring careers. In this blog series, our staff will tell the stories of their own first internships, sharing advice, memories, and appreciation for their earliest professional experiences.
Kiyo Gomi is our manager of Finance and Administration! Kiyo earned his MBA in Finance and Nonprofit Management from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business in 2018. His passion for nonprofit work was cultivated through two summer internships with LearningWorks at Blake and he brings six years of experience in the nonprofit sector to his role. Kiyo has numerous responsibilities surrounding the finance and administration of CFSI, but he is especially eager to build and implement systems on the back-end to advance the mission of College for Social Innovation.
What was your first internship experience like?
I had my first internship experience the year after I graduated high school, working with a telecommunications company in New York City. Going into the internship, I was so excited to be in the city and to have my own cubicle. However, the internship itself was a bit of a disappointment. I was paired with the IT department, but there was very little for me to do. I ended up spending the summer "studying" many Microsoft products. While it was not the most exciting summer internship, having the opportunity to learn how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access proved to be helpful both academically and professionally. Through the internship, I also learned that I would be happier in a faster-paced environment and would be more interested in a career that kept me busy.
What made you interested in this type of work (your current job)?
I first became interested in the nonprofit world as a result of an internship I had the summer going into my senior year at Carleton College. That summer I was a math instructor with LearningWorks at Blake: a Breakthrough Progam that required me to work closely with middle school students. I really enjoyed being around talented and motivated people, and have never left that space.
Through the internship with LearningWorks at Blake, I quickly learned that direct service roles are not for me and that I instead preferred to work on the backend of organizations because I was able to utilize my strengths to create sound operations and financials to propel the organization to achieve its mission.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students in their first internship?
There is always an opportunity to learn and bring your passion to the workplace. I am an excel nerd and I have found that my interest in data and analyzing numbers has been embraced in every organization I have been a part of. Incorporating your passion not only makes your day-to-day tasks more exciting but also provides value to the people around you and encourages them to advance their work as well (they will find a way!).