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Flying Delta? AmeriCorps Alums Will Get You There

March 24, 2016

EONS badgeToday’s blog captures an interview between Ben Duda and two AmeriCorps alumni, Ashley Jones and Kelsey Reinke who went on to work with Delta Air Lines, one of the newly announced Employers of National Service. Ashley and Kelsey each share how their experience in AmeriCorps led them to their current role and how other alumni might follow in their path.

Ben: Hi, Ashley and Kelsey, we’re excited to spend some time talking with you about your experience in AmeriCorps. Before, we dive in, can you share what your current role is at Delta?

Ashley (left) and Kelsey (right)

Ashley (left) and Kelsey (right)

Ashley Jones: Hi, Ben! I’m looking forward to sharing more too. I am an IT Developer based out of Atlanta.

Kelsey:  Good to meet you, Ben. I was a Cargo Agent in Seattle for the last year, but I just took a new position last month as a Flight Attendant and am really excited to start my training for that role.

Ben: Congratulations on your promotion! I’d love to have you each tell me about your AmeriCorps year – what are your lasting memories about the impact of your service?

ashley city year delta blogAshley: I served with City Year in Miami (FL), and my role put me in the classroom in a mentoring role with middle schoolers. My service connected my academic passions (math and technology) with my drive to make a difference in the lives of young people. I remember missing one day because I was sick and how it felt to have multiple teachers and kids ask about me – I felt truly missed. It was clear that I was valued in the building and had a role to play. My time in AmeriCorps was a true blessing.

Kelsey: I served with Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County, as the Community Engagement Liaison, coordinating community volunteer groups from processing and logistics to volunteer management on site. So I was learning community building and engagement skills plus homebuilding in order to be a group’s single point-of-contact. And that led to some very meaningful, and deep, connections with homeowners. Two families have invited me back to their house to dinner, to see how they decorated it – it’s an amazing feeling.

Ben: So how’d you end up at Delta? What makes Delta a great place to work for AmeriCorps alums and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers?

Ashley: I took computer science in college, and my AmeriCorps service in a math and technology classroom and teaching experience after that just kept growing my interests in STEM. After joining Delta, the biggest thing that stands out is the culture – Delta is focused on a mission, and that feels very similar to City Year. We all may be doing different things inside the company but we’re all collectively focused on accomplishing what’s never been done before. It’s exciting.

Kelsey: I never intended to work in the airline industry. My major and background is in architecture. But, during AmeriCorps, Delta renovated a house with Habitat and in over six weeks, I met close to 300 employees with the project. All that face time with Delta added up and that was a network I tapped into when I was looking for a career change. I joined Delta because the company had their heart in the right place. Now that I’m here I’ve been amazed by how Delta exceeds my expectations on community engagement – giving so much time and money to the community. So my transition to private sector, because of the company and employees, still has had such a philanthropic approach.

Ben: What would you say are some of the things you learned in AmeriCorps that helps you in your day-to-day at Delta?

Ashley: Working with different types of individuals, effectively communicating with different people – finding that one thing that you have in common so that you can get work done – that’s been the biggest thing. And patience – we learned how “to flow like water” in AmeriCorps and that flexibility is required at Delta. And accountability and responsibility – we were accountable to our students; it’s the same in meeting my deadlines at Delta.

delta habitat volunteers

Kelsey: The nature of AmeriCorps is “hands on” – my service taught me to take initiative rather than sit back and wait for someone to tell you what to do. I was able to be a leader, to step up. AmeriCorps teaches you initiative and flexibility, and it gives you something that many employers don’t expect. Working with volunteers and the community gives you a lot of customer service skills – all this transitions to Delta where working effectively with others is a huge priority.

Ben: What advice do you have for a newly graduated AmeriCorps alumnae applying to Delta?

Ashley: Just be yourself and go after your dreams.

Kelsey: Delta is really looking for “good people” – hard working, friendly, able to work in teams – all these things AmeriCorps reinforces and builds. Be ready to work, be flexible and adaptable – because there is a lot to learn.

Ben: Why do you think other employers should follow Delta’s lead and join Employers of National Service?

Kelsey: AmeriCorps folks are some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever meant. I think my generation (mid-20s) are seeking change, and companies seem like they are more interested in that now but don’t know where to start. Bringing people into your company that have a background in AmeriCorps brings in a workforce with their moral compass on the right track for where the company is trying to go.

Ben: Thanks for sharing your stories, Ashley and Kelsey. It’s great to hear from alumni who’ve taken their AmeriCorps experience into powerful careers and have kept growing in leadership and service. Thank you to Delta Air Lines for joining the Employers of National Service Initiative – if you’re interested in working at Delta, you can find more information here, and be sure to say you’re an national service alumni in your cover letter. Final and special thank you to Jina Sanone, Delta Senior Executive, AmeriCorps Alums Founders Club member, and one of the original staff members in the Clinton Administration that contributed to the very beginnings of AmeriCorps and has helped to champion Employers of National Service inside her company.

This interview was prepared by AmeriCorps Alums with two alumni in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Delta Air Lines, Inc.

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