January 11, 2010

The Breakfast with Champions

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Jan. 12, 2009

After a three-day hiatus from work due to wisdom teeth extractions, I am back to work at City Year. Kristen McClellan and I met Diana Vining, the recruitment outreach manager, and Itai Dinour, the executive director, at a diner for breakfast this morning. This was the first time that Kristen and I were able to talk to Itai, an ILR grad, one-on-one. The office is often hectic, with MLK day around the corner, so this morning was very valuable to us.

It was great getting to know Itai better, including his experience at Cornell and what he did with his ILR degree. After graduation, Itai dabbled in different projects before getting involved in City Year and is now the Executive Director of the New York site. Aside from his day job, Itai is finishing up an Executive MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business at night.

“You guys will never have this little responsibility — so enjoy it,” he told Kristen and me. We discussed different phases of our college career and how each year we need to explore different opportunities that lie ahead of us.

Since freshman year, Itai has been breaking with common expectations. Most execs don’t follow the rules, and Itai is no exception. As a freshman, he lived in the University Halls (UHalls) on West Campus that were all demolished by 2007. “My windows never had screens on them so I used to climb into them to get to my room instead of using the front door,” he said, “Needless to say I was J.A-ed a few times.”

After swapping stories about our ILR experiences, Diana, Kristen and I returned to the City Year office on West 22nd street. I am working on an outreach plan to contact public service sector clubs at Cornell to let the club members learn more about what City Year has to offer.

Midway through the day, Diana set up a small meeting with the Recruitment and Development departments to allow us, the interns, to keep everyone up-to-date on the projects we have been doing. After talking about all the work we have done over the past few weeks, I realized how close I have grown to this organization. Tomorrow is my last day before returning to Ithaca — I’ll be sad to trade my MetroCard for my Cornell ID.

Original Author: Samantha Padilla