Life at Zayo. It’s defined by employees who work closely together in the office and on a variety of projects in the community. In April, National Volunteer Month, we’ll step up to initiatives that range from clean-up at Chautauqua Park to mentoring high school and university students. Zayo’s culture encourages involvement in projects that support entrepreneurship, education and diversity. But most importantly, Zayo attracts people who believe in giving back to the causes they believe in. Here are just a few of their stories.
Boots to Suits: Volunteering for Veterans
Erik Thomson, senior director – strategic partnerships, and Jim McGuirk, senior manager of training and development actively engage in the Boulder, Colorado community, volunteering their time to organize events and lend their leadership to veteran groups, local universities and community organizations. As veterans, it’s a cause that’s personal.
Erik works with the University of Colorado Boulder Chapter of Boots to Suits, a program designed to help veterans transition from the military to the classroom to the workforce. “The transition from the military back to school, jobs and civilian life can be very challenging,” said Erik, who served in the Marine Corps, was deployed to Afghanistan as a sniper platoon commander and promoted to an operations captain. “Our goal is to provide the resources, mentoring and specific support our fellow veterans need to make a successful transition.”
Erik and Jim, a former NCO for the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, deployed to Iraq, are also involved in a new Department of Defense Technology Accelerator MD5. The accelerator is leveraging technology expertise from across the country to develop solutions to disaster relief and humanitarian assistance in dense urban environments.
Jim is also involved with Team Rubicon, a team that deploys veterans with first responders in disaster situations. “One of the greatest takeaways from being in stressful situations with like-minded peers is that you quickly learn how important community is and how powerful it can be when focused on a shared mission,” Jim said.
VP Gives Back to Hurricane-Ravaged Home
“You can be what you want to be. The sky’s the limit.”
That’s the advice that Kathleen Buchholz, Zayo’s vice president of Integration and Financial Systems shares with young people in the Colorado community. But those aren’t just encouraging words. Kathleen’s life and career story provide powerful inspiration for her family, colleagues and community, both here in Colorado and on the island of Dominica, where she was born and raised.
Despite hardships like walking to school barefoot, she worked hard in school and took her grandmother’s advice to follow her dreams. In 2000, she moved to Boulder and took a job as a receptionist for a security company. Kathleen worked her way up from clerk positions and into the controller spot, balancing her job with business studies at the University of Denver, where she earned a degree in business administration.
In 2008, Kathleen joined Zayo as the controller for Zayo Bandwidth. Over the past 10 years, she’s been promoted into increasingly responsible positions within the Finance organization, including CFO roles for product groups and Zayo’s international teams. Along the way, she earned a master’s degree from Regis University with an emphasis in international business.
Kathleen’s volunteerism, focused on giving back to Dominica, took on increasing importance after Hurricane Maria struck the island last fall. Kathleen’s story inspired Zayo colleagues to get involved, raising thousands of dollars and filling fifteen 70-pound drums with supplies to send to Dominica.
Although conditions are improving, progress is slow, she reports. She will continue to support the island community as she has for 24 years, with donations and time.
Mentors Support CU Computer Science Students
With challenging classes and a completely new environment, college can be tough to navigate.
Zayo mentors are making it a little easier for computer science students at the University of Colorado’s Engineering School. It’s all part of a program called ZAPS (Zayo Achievement Program Scholars), which pairs students from the BOLD Center with Zayo Mentors: Alex Ackerman, manager software development, Melissa Cushing, program manager, Danielle Silverston, security systems analyst, Luis De La Pena, junior OSS developer, Brent Hebert, application developer and Kathleen Lockhart, product manager.
All recent graduates from CU’s Engineering School, they can relate to the challenges the students face. The mentors share their insights and provide support for students pursuing computer science degrees. Students and mentors have formal monthly check-ins as well as ongoing, informal communication throughout the year. As part of the program, students are also encouraged to apply for Zayo’s 2018 summer internship program.
“I came from out of state to Boulder and have been able to build a great network both at CU and Zayo,” said Alex Ackerman. “I really love this community and I have had awesome opportunities at Zayo. This is just one way I can give back.”