Rebecca Yemo is a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and joined the Roundtable as a summer fellow through the UMass Boston Civic Action Project (CAP). Below are reflections from Rebecca’s summer fellowship experience, in her own words.

The past 10 weeks have been nothing short of educative, inspiring, and an all-round pleasant experience working with the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. As someone who has mostly worked in the non-profit industry, I had limited knowledge concerning how the business community plays a key role in advancing social justice and other issues that are typically seen as non-profit work. My experience with the MBR has however given me a newfound appreciation of the business world and it has made me consider expanding my career options as well because I have learned that I can do the kind of work I want to do in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. 

Though my time was short, I had the opportunity to work on diverse projects pertaining to workforce development, the future of work post-pandemic, early childhood education, early college expansion, and offshore wind development. I am definitely leaving this internship with more knowledge about these areas than I previously had. I have also gained more knowledge of how social justice and human rights policies can be advanced from the business and local levels. What struck me the most about all the projects and activities I worked on or participated in was the emphasis on equity. I would say that the hallmark of MBR is its effort to advance equity in all its programs and activities. As someone with a keen interest in human rights, I am very much concerned with issues of equity and inequalities around the world. It is therefore heart-warming to know that the MBR is working with business leaders towards addressing issues in this space. 

From the very beginning, the team welcomed me with open arms and I felt at home and part of the family. I felt that my opinions mattered, and I am truly honored that people with as much experience as JD, Lauren, Tom, Claire, and Katelyn gave me the opportunity to weigh in on different issues. I was given a voice and it was empowering for me to feel valued by the team. I will always remain thankful to them for this. I especially appreciate Lauren’s detailed way of explaining tasks as that helped me to deliver the expected result. In different ways, I have learned a lot from each team member and I am certain the lessons will be vital in my professional and academic life. From each team member, I have learned skills on how to focus and be more attentive in virtual meetings, how to introduce myself to others, the art of notetaking during virtual meetings, how to communicate with policymakers and business leaders, the art of writing and researching for a non-academic audience, how to write a testimony, among others.

The mark of knowing you have had a good experience at a workplace is that the thought of leaving makes you feel sad and I must say that I have had an amazing journey this summer. Samiya did not exaggerate when she spoke highly of the team, and I am happy to say that I share her sentiments. Although my summer project with MBR is over, I look forward to working with the organization on future projects and participating in other programs and activities. I am honored to be a lifetime member of the MBR family. Thank you for selecting me out of many for this opportunity and thank you for funding this fellowship. Your continuous support to CAP is contributing towards building the next generation of policymakers and changemakers who will make an impact both within and outside the United States. I am a better person for my experience with the Roundtable and I am thankful for the opportunity, the experience, and the memories.