Celebrating Success: Transact's First Diversity Internship Program Makes an Impact

August 28, 2023

Meet The Team

In an era where diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of workplace discussions, Transact Campus recognizes the importance of fostering diverse talent pipelines. This past summer, Transact welcomed seven new team members to the family as part of its first-ever Diversity Internship Program. This blog delves into the program’s objectives, key accomplishments, overall impact, and the significance it holds for Transact and the industry at large. 

A vision for diversity and inclusion 

Transact has consistently embraced diversity and inclusion as core values. Recognizing the need to create opportunities for underrepresented talent in the tech sector, Transact launched its Diversity Internship Program. The program was not only designed to provide participants with hands-on experience but also to foster an environment where diversity of thought and perspective thrives. 

"Our goal was to pilot a talent pipeline program for students from diverse backgrounds to gain valuable work experience and professional growth as our commitment to social responsibility. The pilot consisted of four (4) participating universities and seven (7) interns," said Mechelle King, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Transact.

Seven students representing Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Chowan University, and Coppin State University each took on different roles, working with various department managers throughout the company. And while the intern team was small in number, these seven interns left a huge impression across the enterprise. 

From the moment the interns arrived at Transact, they rolled up their sleeves and hit the ground running. From attending department meetings to designing targeted marketing campaigns, they came to learn and grow. 

Interns bring unique skills and fresh ideas to Transact 

The real measure of any program's effectiveness lies in the stories of its participants.  Here, a few interns share their experiences, highlighting the transformative nature of the program.  

Ben Bustamante, a junior at Grand Canyon University who divided his time at Transact between Lori Caffrey, Director of Campus Engagement Marketing and Wade Poezyn , Senior Digital & Demand Generation Marketing Manager, was eager to share his accomplishments. 

Some of the projects he worked on included a Mobile Ordering campaign, multi-channel marketing campaigns, assisting other marketing teams with email campaigns, testing new forms of marketing content and channels, and creating a "meet the interns" video featuring Nancy Langer, CEO at Transact. 

"Nancy discussed her career story, offered career lessons and answered questions, allowing us the opportunity to grow and take in her valuable knowledge and expertise," said Bustamante, who will continue to work at Transact through the end of the year while attending college. 

"I came in not knowing what to expect. What I received was the professional start to my career that will serve me for my whole life, which I'm very excited about. I loved working with each person at Transact," Bustamante said. 

"Ben’s overall dedication came through in every single facet that he allowed himself to focus in within the marketing team. He brought a fresh perspective and willingness to dig in deep and uncover certain elements in our marketing strategy that we could implement into campaigns such as those targeting business outcomes," Poezyn said. 

Francis Allotey, who will be starting his senior year at Grand Canyon University soon, reported to Tony Carter, Program Director of Campus ID Management.  

"I've been working on Campus ID; some of my roles and responsibilities included planning, organizing, directing, and operations that related to ongoing projects. This summer there have been four installations across several U.S. campuses. I also created project pages and dashboards," Allotey said.  

He continued: "This internship opened my eyes to the collaboration and dedication that it takes in the professional world. It's been so inclusive—if I had any questions, they were always answered. It’s been so cool to see how products like Mobile Ordering and Campus ID are being installed at other universities. This experience was so enjoyable. The opportunities to network with my fellow interns and gain professional mentorship from the managers and even advice from the CEO herself were invaluable," he said. 

"From a corporate perspective, the interns were able to push the vision and carry it to execution. They had the energy and the creativity to get some of these amazing ideas off the ground, so that individuals within our organization could start taking advantage of them," Carter said. 

In addition to Bustamante and Allotey, other interns included Jay Alshouse, Raneim Gadala, Hesley Masara, Valentina Sanchez Valbuena, and Aubriana Strickland. Like Bustamante, Strickland is also staying on for a bit to learn more and help out at Transact. Strickland is assigned to the office of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, working alongside Mechelle King and Carmelitia Coleman, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, and Engagement. 

"Inclusivity is the very foundation of the Diversity Internship Program at Transact. The program is a catalyst that brings together various perspectives, thereby creating a tapestry of innovation," Coleman said. 

At the end of the internship program, each intern delivered a Capstone Presentation for their department leaders, other executives, and participating university faculty staff members including Ruben Arangure and Arriel Pilapil (Grand Canyon University); Loretta Campbell, Tania Williams, and Helen Dunkley (Coppin State University); and Dr. Hunter Taylor (Chowan University). 

Significance for Transact and the industry 

The success of Transact's inaugural Diversity Internship Program holds meaning not only for the company but also for the broader tech industry. Here are just a few key outcomes the program achieved: 

  • Fostered diversity: By actively recruiting interns from underrepresented backgrounds, the company ensured that diverse perspectives were integrated into its operations and decision-making processes. 
  • Built a talent pipeline: The program served as a reliable talent pipeline for Transact; two interns remain on staff and in the future, participating interns will likely be open to applying to full-time roles at Transact since they’re already familiar with job functions and best practices. 
  • Industry inspiration: The success of Transact's internship program sets a positive example for the tech industry. It demonstrates that by investing in diverse talent and providing meaningful opportunities, companies can drive innovation and create a more inclusive workforce. 
  • Drove change: The program aligns with broader industry efforts to drive change in the tech sector. It sends a clear message that diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but actionable commitments that lead to tangible results. 

Program’s success sets the tone for year two and beyond  

The internship program's accomplishments, impact on participants, and significance for both the company and the industry underscore the importance of fostering diverse talent in tech. As companies like Transact continue to pave the way for inclusive workplaces, the tech industry stands to benefit from a wealth of fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

"By successfully completing our internship program, we have not only invested in the professional growth and development of diverse, talented individuals but have also reinforced our commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders. These seven interns have brought fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and valuable contributions to our organization, making a significant impact on our success. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to witnessing their continued growth and success in their careers," Langer said. 

The program serves as a shining example of how companies can play an active role in developing young, diverse talent. By creating tailored support systems, fostering skills, and encouraging cross-disciplinary exploration, Transact is paving the way for a more inclusive and skilled workforce. As the program evolves, its impact on both students and the industries they enter is poised to grow, contributing to a brighter and more equitable future. 

"When you embrace diversity, it unleashes potential, fresh perspectives and innovation.  Our diversity internship program has been a transformative experience for our first cohort of interns and organization that fosters inclusivity and empowers tomorrow’s leaders to make a difference in our globalized world. It depicts the value of client engagement and partnership in which we can impact the ecosystem together, so that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Based on the program feedback circuit and professional development that yielded innovative solutions, we have measurable proof of concept with plans to expand the program offering to more colleges and universities in 2024," King said.