LTA Shines, But is Outshined by Fine Local Youth

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Lance Lansrud, Florida Executive Realty

Lansrud, LanceLeadership Tampa Alumni – with leadership from Susan Maurer, Leah Carden, Kerri-Lyn Francis and Chris Maltezo – had the opportunity to engage with some youth who attend Robinson High School. Through the neighboring Boys and Girls Club, select youth were chosen to attend a valuable experiential learning workshop about interviewing skills and how to properly complete a job application.  Having never applied nor interviewed for a job, these youth showed up looking sharp, eager to meet us and ready for the experience.

Each LTA member was paired with a youth for the duration of the three-hour event. I was paired with a fifteen year old young man named David who came to the U.S. from Haiti and lives with a sister within walking distance from Robinson High. When I shook his hand, David responded with a confident handshake and a confident look in his eyes. Looking around my assigned table and engaging the other youth in some conversation, I found them all to be interested and mostly comfortable engaging with a random adult they had never before met.

A representative with Omnia led us through the evening and provided outstanding verbal coaching on how to properly obtain and complete a job application; how to present yourself in person, in writing, and via telephone during the process; and some tips for the interview process. It beautifully framed our forthcoming tasks, which were to help the youth complete their job application, interview them for the job and then provide them with written and oral feedback as to how they did.

Completing the job application together with David helped both of us. I was able to learn more about his background and we were able to figure out how his interests and life experiences could be used to shape how he sold himself as the right candidate for the job. David was applying to be a crew member at Little Ceasar’s, meaning he would be a part of the kitchen and cooking process. He had quite a responsibility as a young man, helping his mother prepare the daily meals to feed their nine-person family and also working to assist at their family store.

Of most interest to me was interviewing David for this job. He spoke of his being a leader among his peers and specifically about being a leader who engages his peers in positive and inclusive ways versus telling them what to do. His friends apparently don’t care for being in his classes because he makes them pay attention to the teacher versus goofing off. David’s father taught him as a young boy about focus, and clearly he was honoring his father’s words and teaching as we moved through this interview. When asked, David was able to name three strengths. More importantly he was focused enough to remember those strengths when I asked a follow-up question about providing an example of each. He sat up straight in his chair, maintained excellent eye-contact and paid full attention. When I provided some constructive feedback at the end with regard to a few items, he was extremely receptive and appreciative. At the conclusion, I gave David my business card and invited him to contact me should he ever need any help or guidance. I was pleasantly surprised the next morning to find an email from David – an email addressed to Mr. Lansrud, thanking me for my time and helping to prepare him for his future.

I am all about lifting each other up. David is an inspiration. He is struggling and working hard to create opportunities in his life and yet takes time to lift up his friends and peers to be better students. What are you doing?

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