A spotlight on our Compass interns
August 17, 2021 | Source: Compass California Real Estate Blog
Congratulations to our seven intern graduates for completing Compass’s first ever internship program! For 10 weeks, the interns gained real-world experience by working on various projects across our Search, Notifications, Schools & Property Pages, ABW, and Deals businesses. The program was led by our Head of Diversity and Inclusion Jodie Taylor to help increase Compass’s representation of Black, Latinx, and Native American talent within the Product and Engineering organization. We partnered with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a non-profit organization that makes a lifetime of achievement possible for underserved and underrepresented communities, to source this amazing group of individuals.
“These experiences and programs provide amazing support and opportunity through the overall learning experience. For a lot of kids, this is their first time in a professional environment. We get to learn how to dress, act, and complete tasks professionally and through an internship, everybody is always willing to help and guide you,” said Angela Perez, a Product Management intern from Hunter College.
During the course of the program, the interns were challenged with tasks outside of their normal scope. For Guilhermo Gonzalez, a Product Management intern from UC Berkeley, that meant starting a product from scratch and developing it until its documentation phase. “Working on the project has allowed me to understand several facets of what it takes to be a Product Manager, but also has allowed me to participate in something that actually is very important to our business. I am happy to leave knowing that I have left a considerable mark on a product that is yet to come within the Compass product pipeline.”
Search Product Intern Katherina Ozaetta from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor added, “one of my proudest moments was using the prototype for a project I have ownership of. It felt like the culmination of all of my work since I have been working on this project from the very first day and now I could physically see and use the feature. The feeling of accomplishment is almost indescribable because you can see the result of all the docs, meetings, and research within each aspect of the design and behavior.”
In addition to working hard, the interns also saved time for fun which included playing a game of virtual trivia with our Diversity Council. “My most memorable moment during my time here at Compass is participating in the Pride Trivia event with my fellow interns. This event introduced to me the fantastic environment of Compass and the phenomenal people who work here who continue to show passion in the work they do but also in building strong teams that openly share and collaborate with each other to reach the end goal, which is serving agents and helping Compass grow to higher levels,” said Product Management intern Kaia Smith McDonald from Pace University.
The team valued this internship program because they know that opportunities can be limiting for young professionals of color. “Thinking back to my background, both of my parents are immigrants from Honduras which made schooling very tough for me. Nothing I learned in school before could have prepared me for this role out of college, and my parents could only support me so much but really do not understand the nature of this work. If it weren’t for this internship and all the support here, I don’t think I could build myself up to be a full-time Product Manager out of college. These experiences are what allow people like us to thrive,” said Bryan E. Sanchez, a Product Management intern from Northwestern University.
Scott Gargrove, an Engineering, Automation & Tasks intern from Pace University, believes that some changes are needed in the tech industry in order for more people of color to join. “I think a change that I would most like to see in the tech industry to create an equitable environment would be the barrier for entry. A lot of people are willing/interested in the tech field but are limited by their circumstances and/or background. If the tech industry were able to lower the barrier for entry and even begin training people from the ground up more frequently I think that would improve the landscape of the industry drastically.”
Now that they have completed the program, the interns are reflective of their time at Compass. “My favorite part of Compass is the warmth of everyone I met. No matter which team, I was always welcomed with patience and kindness. And that’s a testament to the culture that Compass has created!,” said Deal Brokerage Workflow intern Yousef Abu-Salah.
We want to extend a huge thank you to all our interns for their hard work this summer and for playing such a huge part in our initiative to recruit more professionals of color. We wish them the very best in all their future endeavors and hope that one day they will come back to a part of the Compass family!