During City Year’s Summer Academy in June 2017, David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, sat down with five* of this year’s six Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award winners to discuss how they’ve used the foundational skills they’ve gained through City Year to become leaders committed to making the world a better place. Cohen had extraordinary praise for the winners, stating that they exceeded Comcast NBCUniversal’s high expectations in what they’ve done with their lives after graduating from City Year. Listen to the podcast below to hear Brent Holsinger, Beth Marco Bayouth, Dan Foley, Alex Peay, and Mubarak Lawrence share what they’ve learned from the challenges and hardships they’ve faced professionally, and how their service with City Year helped them overcome those challenges.
The panelists each shared one leadership skill they developed during their time as an AmeriCorps member with City Year. Many mentioned learning the true meaning of teamwork and how to be a good teammate (Skip to 13:10 to hear all their responses). Dan Foley, Executive Director of City Year Jacksonville, said, “I think much of the work that you do outside of City Year can be very individualistic, and you just apply your talents the way that you know how, and let everybody else do what they need to do.
“When you're talking about having a team that's meant to be serving students and making an impact in the lives of other people, the stakes are really high,” Dan added. “I am limited in what my skillsets are, each of us is, but together when we're working with one another, we can do something pretty magical for folks who deserve that time and attention that we're providing them.”
The panelists also discussed the greatest challenges (timestamp 22:05) and triumphs (timestamp 36:44) they’ve faced during their careers. “I'm starting to grab this concept that there's no true failure if a lesson is learned,” Mubarak Lawrence, Vice President & Director of Operations at Rising Sons, said. “I've heard the Jay-Z album. He said, ‘A loss isn't a loss if it's a lesson, and you have to appreciate your blessings.’ That's a lot [of] what I've been preaching to a lot of our young people [at Rising Sons].
With every success and every roadblock, the Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award winners show persistence and dedication to continue making our communities better places for the next generation. To all the Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award winners, Cohen said, “One of the many reasons why I love City Year is because when I get to interact with young people like you, I see the future of America. There are a lot of problems roiling our country these days, but when I see young people like you, I feel incredibly optimistic about the future of our country. Thank you for your service and congratulations on your awards.
“Over the course of your careers, my prediction is … you're all going to do great things, and you're going to get recognized for that. That's clearly one of the reasons we do this, because we want you to feel appreciated. …[You] deserve to be recognized and to be honored," Cohen added. “Thank you for letting us use you as examples to inspire others to follow you a year from now, three years from now, five years from now.”
* Whitney Parnell (City Year Washington DC ’11, ’12) was unable to attend in person.
To learn more about the Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award and this year’s award winners, visit the City Year alumni website here.
Beginning comments and introductions from panelists
Give me one leadership skill that you developed during your time as an AmeriCorps member with City Year, and how it still applies with what you're doing today.
What’s been your greatest disappointment or failure in your young career, and what do you think you've learned from it?
What's the single accomplishment of your life that you're proudest of?
What does it mean to each of you to be recognized for the Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award?
Closing remarks by David L. Cohen