October 6 2018

"Having a mentor can make all the difference"

Step Up alum Nahom Kebede's inspiring speech at our Evening of Excellence

Step Up alum Nahom Kebede
Nahom Kebede
At our October 4 Evening of Excellence, over 300 people came out to celebrate the work of AchieveMpls and support our career and college initiatives. Here's the speech by Nahom Kebede, a graduate of South High School and alum of Step Up.

Hello everyone, my name is Nahom Kebede.

It’s an honor to stand here this evening and speak in front you as an alumnus of South High School, where I graduated in 2012, and the Step Up youth employment program.

I had the privilege to participate in Step Up the summers of my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. Throughout that time, I held a variety of diverse internships, including Children's Minnesota, Kraus-Anderson, and Thrivent Financial.

Each internship opened up the world a little more to me, not only because of the skill sets I developed but because of the way my mentors went above and beyond to ensure I gained what I could from each of those experiences. For instance, my mentor at Children's Minnesota made sure that I was able to shadow an orthopedic surgeon and a pharmacist during my time there. This wasn't part of her responsibility, but she took the time to help me explore my interests. 

I also gained invaluable insights through the internships themselves. For example, I learned that I did not wish to pursue medicine as I had originally desired, but that I was instead driven by a passion for finance and financial literacy. I also discovered I had a strong interest in business and social entrepreneurship, and became fascinated by the possibility of making an impact on the world simply by the work you produce. 

Because of these experiences I went to St. Olaf College, where I majored in economics and started an entrepreneurship club on campus called Free Thinkers Society. And today I work as a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial. 

I still connect with many of my Step Up mentors. The confidence my mentors had in me helped me gain confidence in myself. I soon trusted in my ability to achieve in an academic setting, in work settings and in my personal life, as well. Step Up also widened my perspective of what I thought possible for myself.

It is now my time to give back to the program that gave so much to me. 

Having a mentor who inspires you, motivates you, believes in you, and who shows up for you can make all the difference in how a young adult shapes their outlook on life. I know this to be true because of what my own mentors did for me. I am truly honored to be in a position where I can mentor as an AchieveMpls Graduation Coach and, in return, be mentored by the students I'm working with at Roosevelt High School. 

So I would like to end by thanking everyone here for supporting the program, as well as every monitor for being committed to the students and to this work. Thank you!