Last week, Tremor International had the privilege of partnering with the Madison Boys and Girls Club through SuitUp – a non-profit dedicated to bringing companies into the classroom and leveraging employees’ expertise to enhance young students’ learnings.
We “challenged” groups of middle schoolers to think up a new product or service that could support young professionals starting their careers at Tremor International, pairing Tremor employees with each of the groups as volunteer coaches. The students then presented their ideas to a panel of judges – including myself – and we selected a winning team (which proved to be very difficult to do!), who designed a smart watch concept to improve the onboarding process and employees’ mental health during the work day. This was definitely an educational experience for both the students and our volunteers.
“I was so impressed by the student CEOs drive and can-do attitude. It was a great way to coach and share career experiences with students, but also the chance to collaborate with coworkers I don’t work with all the time,” said Rachel Schwartz, one of our fabulous coaches. “Plus it was an awesome way to channel our competitive spirits!”
Not only did these students approach everything with a digital- and tech-first mindset, they were also unafraid to share their proposals and cheer on their competitors. A study from Columbia University found that SuitUp drastically increased students’ self-perception and motivation to learn, with 92% of those surveyed saying they ”believe their SuitUp competition and coaches have helped them feel more confident in school.” Watching the students present their ideas really brought that statistic to life: these middle schoolers spoke with such confidence; they demonstrated such camaraderie. It was impressive, a little unexpected, and so cool to see.
As one student put it, “To be an entrepreneur is not just to have the ideas, but finding a way to make them happen.” That can-do attitude absolutely shone through.
Personally, I’m a big believer in taking the time to give back to your community, in any and every way you can – something Tremor believes in as well. And that was the initial goal of the week: to give back and share our teams’ insights and knowledge with the next generation – coaching them through the challenge, encouraging them to think up innovative solutions, and reminding them that the corporate world’s not so scary after all.
But, cliche as it might sound, the students taught us a fair bit along the way, too. Without ever having heard our company’s values, they showed us – so clearly and touchingly – how to bring those values to life.
They were innovative, committed, collaborative, and authentic, with no ego in sight. It was such a joy to watch. And who knows, maybe these kids will be future Tremor International employees one day. I, for one, will be keeping an eye out for their applications.