May 8, 2018

This month, many of our Club members will take a huge step: graduating high school. Whether they are going on to college, joining the military, or starting their first job, our staff has worked with each high school senior to discover their unique pathway to success and make sure they’re ready for life after age 18.

Even though they will no longer spend their afternoons and summers at the Club, many of our Club alums stay in touch, asking staff for advice and sharing exciting news in their lives. We had the chance to catch up with two of them - Carmen Sosa and Precious Listana - who took different paths after high school. Today, they are building successful careers and learning a lot at United Airlines and Twitter.

Carmen, 2015 Citywide Youth of the Year, launched her career after high school with a summer internship at United Airlines. That internship eventually grew into her current full-time customer services role, which has provided a viable career path, financial security for herself and her family, and the added perk of traveling around the world.

Precious, 2015 Tenderloin Youth of the Year, went on to UC Berkeley to study Cognitive Science. While there, she co-founded the Invention Corps of Berkeley, an organization that uses design thinking to improve solutions to poverty, health, environment, and society. Precious is also a Public Policy Fellow at Twitter, where she helps bridge the gap between tech and local communities.

We had the chance to catch up with both of these incredible young women to learn how the Club helped prepare them for these big achievements and what their plans are for the future.

BGCSF: How did the Club help prepare you for life after high school?
Carmen: The Club has not only given me many life skills like financial literacy through Money Matters and leadership skills through volunteering opportunities and Keystone Club, but I have also gained new confidence and lifelong relationships.

Precious: The Club has been instrumental in guiding me to my career aspirations. Both of my internships with the Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership and Twitter have been through the connections I developed with the Club. I have Jonell Molina, Tenderloin Clubhouse’s High School Services Director, to thank for teaching me the importance of building my personal brand and reaching out to my network for opportunities.

BGCSF: What is your favorite part of your job?
Carmen: I love my work. I like working with the aircraft, the people, and my co-workers. There's a lot of teamwork, patience, and problem-solving involved in my work. At United, employees and their immediate families are able to travel for free domestically on standby; to fly internationally, we just pay taxes. We also have great medical, dental, and vision coverage.

Precious: Working at Twitter as a Public Policy fellow is an eye-opening experience. One of my favorite parts of the job is to be mentored by Caroline Barlerin, who oversees the entire company's corporate philanthropy. I get to lead multiple projects which is exciting, and also a little bit daunting.

BGCSF: Where do you envision your career going next? Do you have any big dreams for the next 5 or 10 years down the line?
Carmen: At the moment, I love my job with United Airlines. I would eventually love to move up in the company, but for right now I am happy where I am. I would also love to go back to school and study something in the medical field (since I still have a strong passion for helping people) and see what happens after that.

Precious: I envision my career switching into education. My work at Twitter has shown me why it's extremely important to level the playing field for people of color in tech. Specifically, Latinx & Black representation in this space is close to 5-7%. I know that Diversity & Inclusion teams are pioneering some of the most important work to increase that representation. I also know that this work also starts within early education. It's crucial to plant the seeds in every student, especially students of color to see themselves in these careers.

BGCSF: If you could give some words of advice to younger Club members, what would you say?
Carmen: Take the time to explore and find yourself in this big world. Those are memories that will define you as a person and will stay with you forever.

Precious: Continue pursuing your interests and let the Club know about it. It doesn't matter if you are still a member or an alumna; the Club will always be a resource and support network for you.

carmen sosa and precious listana

Precious (left) at the Twitter office, where she works as a Public Policy Fellow, and Carmen (right) at San Francisco International Airport, where she works as a Customer Services Representative at United Airlines.

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