Conrad Person, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson
I've been privileged to visit many of the inspiring charitable organizations that the company supports, such as the Nyumbani Children of God Home in Nairobi. But one of the things that challenges me the most takes place right in my office. During the past four years I've been a mentor to students in the Johnson & Johnson Bridge to Employment program, and they've taught me a lot along the way.
The Bridge to Employment program, which was launched in 1992, provides mentoring to high school students to help prepare them for college and, ultimately, for future careers in the health care industry. Johnson & Johnson employees volunteer as mentors to show students various career opportunities that exist in health care, as well as practical workplace skills such as how to communicate in a company setting.
I know Bridge to Employment was designed with the student in mind, but as a mentor, I have gotten a lot out of it, too. We talk a great deal about the multigenerational workforce and how we all must effectively manage our interactions with associates of other generations. Mentoring has brought this message home to me and made me challenge assumptions about communication. Just as Nexters have their own jargon, so do Boomers. When I am talking with the Bridge to Employment students I often have to challenge my own long-held assumptions about how to communicate interest, information and concern.
What do the students think about all of this? This video gives some student perspectives on the program: