I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to give many values-based leadership talks to organizations around the world…companies, associations, universities, hospitals, etc. After being exposed to the amazing work of the One Acre Fund (OAF) my original goal was to give one talk a month to benefit the One Acre Fund. However, after realizing the multiple benefits of the talks (the ability to “spread the word” of values-based leadership, expand Kellogg’s reputation, raise funds for the OAF, and the fact that I love doing the talks), I have given more than 570 talks in the past four years (about three per week).

Every once in a while I am fortunate to experience a special organization with truly remarkable people. That happened to me last week when a fellow that attended one of my Kellogg classes, Josh Radman, suggested that I visit a not-for-profit called Year Up. I was not familiar with the organization, but I certainly am now.

Year Up trains thousands of disadvantaged young adults for internships that lead to permanent jobs in different industries. I learned that the Year Up program empowers low-income young adults to move from poverty to professional careers in one year! The mission of the organization is to “close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education”.

Year Up provides a one-year, intensive training program, the first six months of which focuses on technical and professional skills, and the second six months focuses on applying the skills in corporate internships. Before my talk, I had a chance to meet with two of the professionals (they don’t use the word students), Julio and Brianna (see picture below). They did a fantastic job of explaining the program and their experiences. I must say I was very impressed with my interaction with the 40 “professionals” during my talk. The questions they asked and their professionalism was equal to my experiences at Kellogg.

picture at YearUp