Staff Spotlight: Kendall Simmons

New York Admissions Officer
Kendall is a native New Yorker and has lived, worked, and studied abroad throughout Latin America and Africa: leading youth trips in Ghana, conducting field work in Haiti, and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay as a beekeeper. Drawn by her belief in the potential of a bridge year to not only prepare students for success but to create opportunity, foster empathy, and launch the next generation of global leaders, she has been working with Global Citizen Year since 2015.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Kendall from Global Citizen Year

My most favorite travel memory was during my Peace Corps service when I would spend time sitting around learning to make a traditional Paraguayan food called chipa, sipping mate, and joking in Guaraní. It was in these moments that I truly felt integrated into the community because they were sharing such important parts of their life and culture with me. I returned to my community 4 years later and it was so wonderful to participate in these same activities as if I never left.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Our staff hails from all over the globe with a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds so working here has encouraged me to enter my stretch zone and to see myself as part of a global community. Global Citizen Year is truly a company that truly practices what they preach and is committed to professional development of its employees.

I have had the opportunity to explore other aspects of the company that interests me which has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to have a successful Fellow year and create the next generation of leaders.

Management encourages innovation and is always open to trying new things. I’ve never worked in such a supportive environment.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Global Citizen Year is unique simply because not many programs exist in our field that are to the extent of immersion and length of time. I’m most proud of Global Citizen Year because of our commitment to access to bridge years. As such we offer scholarships to students because we don’t want the price of our program to be a barrier to a student who wants to participate and would thrive in it: 80 percent of our fellows receive financial aid, including 30 percent who get a full ride.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

One of the biggest factors in being a successful company is having a staff that is aligned and committed to the same goal. Every single staff member believes in the transformative power of a bridge year no matter their role.

I think having this level of cohesion on our mission allows us to have the confidence in our staff to do the best in their roles that leads to our Fellows having fruitful years of growth.