Leslie Morones, a member of the Class of 2014, is pursing a Bachelor’s in economics here at Lehman College. This past summer she was an intern at American Express. Here she shares her experiences:
In the summer of 2011, I was selected out of a pool of over 400 applicants to participate in a professional development fellowship called “New York Needs You.” This three-year program has equipped me with the tools and resources necessary to succeed in my career.
“New York Needs You” has a vast network of professionals from a variety of industries. As a Fellow I have been exposed to many opportunities: over the past year I attended seventy-two hours of professional development workshops that helped me become a better student; in one academic year I succeeded in raising my GPA from a 2.33 to 3.5; for the last two consecutive semesters I made Dean’s List. My mentors, Alan Fuentes, a career counselor in Lehman’s Career Services Center, and Krista Duffet, a project manager at Sony, have also played major roles in my success by motivating me to stay focused throughout the many challenges I have faced. Having someone believe in you makes all the difference in the world.
My biggest accomplishment this summer was being selected as one of the first CUNY students to participate in American Express’s Summer Paid Internship Program. For eight weeks I worked at American Express Industries (AXPi), the arm of the company that designs, builds, and governs all of American Express’s global digital properties.
The project I was responsible for involved working on AXPi’s Senior Vice President’s Global Communication strategy by revamping the department’s intranet site. This meant working closely with the executives as well as the internal marketing and technology teams and other business units within AMEX. Because I did not have prior technology experience I was intimidated by the project, but I stuck with it and soon learned what I needed to know. The learning curve throughout the summer was very steep, because every day I had to meet two to three new people who would provide me with the knowledge necessary to keep my project moving. Team collaboration was essential in getting the job done; every aspect of this internship was a high collaborative effort. I learned how to best present my ideas to large and small groups, in both a formal and informal setting. I also learned to become comfortable using MS PowerPoint—an essential program to know in the business world.
At the end of the eight weeks I was an expert in designing, building, and governing the department’s intranet site. I became comfortable in leading a project from start to finish and my communication skills improved significantly. In the end, I delivered six redesigned intranet pages, which are now aligned with the Senior Vice President’s global communication strategy, and a customized user guide. I was able to launch both and I am proud to say they are used to by the department to this day.
AXPi’s Senior Vice President and Global Chief of Staff, my internship leaders, were so pleased with my work ethics and deliverables that they invited me to return next summer for the full ten-weeks paid internship program. I hope that my success will lead other companies like AMEX to open their recruitment doors to the many talented students CUNY schools have to offer.