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How a Passion for Helping Interns Builds a More Inclusive Future in Tech
Imagine you have the chance to use your skills and knowledge to inspire the next generation and help set them up for success. What ways could you empower them? For Niaya, it meant going above and beyond to ensure a smooth program experience for a cohort of 19 interns on the precipice of an exciting new opportunity. That is why she was recognized as the 2020 Julie A. Elberfeld Tech Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Impact Award winner. These awards, first presented in 2020, are given to associates who embody Tech Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging principles, much like the impactful leader for whom the awards were named.
Respect and inclusion for underrepresented people
Niaya’s passionate commitment to her work made her a natural choice for the Impact Award award, which recognizes work on projects for the community beyond Capital One. The winner should demonstrate respect or inclusive treatment of others, advocate for underrepresented groups, and show a commitment to the advancement of diversity in the community. Niaya is a shining example of this with her strategic support of the Year Up program, both internally to Capital One and on the national level.
The Year Up Program helps to close the opportunity gap and provide real experiences for the interns to help them find their ultimate career. The program engages 90% minority individuals without a Bachelor's degree for a year long intensive program that culminates in an internship focused in technology and business. The program helps Capital One shrink the gap for diverse talent in technology, and the program participants exit the program well prepared for a career. Niaya joined Capital One as a Year Up graduate in September of 2017. Not only did Niaya benefit from opportunities the program provides, her first position within Capital One was managing our Year Up program.
Facilitating a positive program experience during team transitions
Niaya is committed to ensuring the success of the program and a positive experience for the interns each year. When her team was undergoing changes and transitions as the program was gearing up to start, Niaya jumped into action to make sure no loose ends were missed. She gathered help from other teams across Tech and Community Affairs and onboarded them in a very short time span. She was also able to compile comprehensive training and transition guides and facilitate the onboarding process for all 19 interns.
One Year Up program administrator shared “I have not only been impressed with the speed at which Niaya works, but also with her accuracy. Niaya has had to field multiple phone calls and hop on countless meetings to ensure we were setting our interns up for success.” Not only was she committed to making sure the program got off to a great start though, she also offered support and encouragement to the cohort throughout the program. Whether she was leading during orientation or sharing her experiences during a Year Up Alumni Panel, Niaya was there to help and support wherever she could.
Niaya also suggested to her own team that they hire a Year Up intern, whom she volunteered to mentor. In a time when many companies were cancelling or downsizing their internship programs, Niaya was committed to making sure the Capital One Year Up interns had a full and fulfilling experience and that everyone had a team to join.
The Year Up program provides an important career opportunity to its participants and everyone benefits greatly from passionate, committed partners like Niaya. To create a welcoming workplace for all and foster a diverse group of associates, it is important to make sure there are opportunities like this program available. And this is just the beginning of a journey to create inclusive spaces and a workplace for all associates. Niaya and others are leading the impactful work to make it happen and paving the way for a more inclusive future across the company.
Want to make a difference like Niaya? Join our innovative and inclusive tech team!
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