Bloomberg employees give back to local communities with their talents, time and hearts. Damien Savage in Bloomberg Government reflects on the most rewarding aspects of mentoring at-risk youth and how it led him to help launch Bloomberg Startup in Washington, DC.
By day, Damien Savage is a Congressional Sales Lead at Bloomberg Government (BGOV) in Washington, D.C.—managing the sales strategy for BGOV clients and prospects. By night, he’s a Bloomberg Startup mentor with Capital Partners for Education (CPE), a college prep program serving low-income youth in the Washington area.
“I am, myself, the product of mentoring,” said Damien. “Growing up, my home life could be difficult — there were lots of times where it was lonely and there was a temptation to start running with the wrong crowd. My mentors shaped me into who I am today.”
Damien’s experience of being mentored inspired him to become one. In 2015, he began working with CPE to mentor Chaz, a high school sophomore at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.
“He was shy at first, but over time we just kind of clicked,” explained Damien. “It turned out we had a lot in common. His home life was similar to mine—lots of distractions and opportunities to run with the wrong group.”
Each week, Damien and Chaz chat on the phone and plan monthly in-person activities. They talk about careers, college and anything and everything in between. For Damien, it’s an opportunity to share “everyday advice” he wish he’d known when he was growing up.
“He doesn’t need another parent, just someone he can trust with what’s on his mind,” said Damien. “I get to be his healthy distraction. I share with him the things I wish I’d known as a teenager. Whether it’s how to respectfully ask his crush on a date or that it’s okay to be smart.”
Damien’s dedication to mentorship led CPE to recently name him Mentor of the Year.
When it comes to paying it forward, Damien doesn’t stop with his mentee—he’s been working to get his Bloomberg colleagues involved as well through Bloomberg Startup.
Bloomberg Startup is our company’s global mentoring program, led and designed by employees in partnership with non-profits to provide activities supporting student academic achievement and preparation for further education. Only in its second year, the program has grown to more than 3,600 employee mentors with career talks and workshops hosted in 33 cities.
Through Damien’s work in CPE, he helped expand Bloomberg Startup into Washington, D.C. with CPE as the first Washington-area non-profit partner. Last year, Damien brought 15 CPE students to the Bloomberg Government office for a Bloomberg Startup workshop entitled, ‘Careers and Java Coding.’ For many of the students, it was their first time in a professional office setting.
“It was pretty cool,” said Damien. “The Bloomberg Government engineering team took time to run a workshop with the students on Java and careers in software development. We’re planning to do more. In March, Bloomberg Startup’s career classes will be featured at the CPE career fair, which exposes students to industry areas they might have never even imagined before.”
“I make a personal commitment to lead by example for those in my community,” Damien explained. “And to work somewhere like Bloomberg, somewhere that is also committed to the community—that’s very important to me.”
Read more about Bloomberg Startup and other Bloomberg philanthropy and engagement highlights in our 2016 year-end review.