Posted by Ancestry Team on September 4, 2015 in Inside our Offices, Interns, IT

Recently Ancestry employees in San Francisco volunteered to help Genesys Works, a local nonprofit. Their mission is simple: to change the life trajectory of underprivileged high school students by enabling them to work in meaningful internships, at major corporations, during their senior year in high school. The organization has partnered with JPMorgan, Accenture, Salesforce, PG&E and the list goes on and on.



Ancestry volunteers were split into pairs and asked to facilitate four 20-minute mock interviews followed by 10-minute feedback sessions for high school students. An hour prior to their arrival, we met with Peter Katz, the Executive Director of Genesys Works. I was surprised (and a little saddened) to learn this was the first time many of the students would be entering an office building with a lobby and reception.

Students were provided a fictitious job description for an entry-level IT opportunity, and were asked to bring their resumes. When the students arrived, they were poised and professional; the young men wore suits and the women formal dresses. Their nervousness was palpable… at first. It reminded me a bit of my high school prom.


Genesys Works supplied a list of starter questions and an assessment document. We asked IT related questions that would dig into technical acumen:

     – How would you problem-solve a computer that is not turning on?

And reflective questions such as:

     – Tell us about a time you encountered a conflict. What did you do to resolve it and what did you learn?

Students were thoughtful, engaging, greeted us with a firm handshake and had excellent eye contact. I was floored. No way was I this mature at their age!


Students were genuinely interested in feedback and our perception of their performance. I’m truly touched by this experience and am glad Ancestry decided to host this opportunity at our office. It gave me enormous perspective and a unique chance to pay it forward with young professionals. These talented teens are rock stars!


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