As of Thursday, August 11, 2016
TOPPENISH Twenty members of Microsoft’s leadership team visited Heritage University to work with Heritage Enactus club students and the club’s “Camp S.E.E.D.” project on July 27.
The team, which included Tony Prophet, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of education marketing, and Chris Capossela, chief marketing officer for Microsoft, met with the campers and Heritage students and staff.
Camp S.E.E.D. aims to teach social, economic and environmental development as well as financial literacy to at-risk middle school students in the Yakima Valley.
The opening ceremony held in Smith Family Hall, featured an inspirational speech by Prophet, who shared his story of humble beginnings and eventual climb up the corporate ladder, with positions at top companies including Hewlett-Packard.
Camp S.E.E.D. student Bobbie Lewis was happy to see Prophet and the other Microsoft executives at Heritage.
“Who knew people who are busy running big companies in big cities would want to visit us here in our valley,” said Lewis. “But I’m glad that there are people out there wanting to guide us towards success.”
The impetus for the visit by Microsoft is the result of a visit by Enactus club members to the Microsoft company headquarters in Redmond last March.
During that visit, the Enactus presentation team members previewed the business presentation they would later deliver at the Enactus United States National competition in St Louis, MO., where they placed fourth in the nation.
While at Microsoft, the students also discussed their projects to train low-income individuals both in the Yakima Valley and abroad to become successful entrepreneurs. These include teaching seasonal farmworkers in the Yakima Valley how to dehydrate and sell fruit year-round to clients in the Seattle area; and traveling to Panama to train indigenous peoples on the efficient use of machinery to increase yields and earnings from rice crops.
Microsoft executives were so impressed by the results of the Heritage Enactus team, the employees wanted to get involved. During their visit, the Microsoft team spent the day watching the students in action mentoring the campers, introducing them to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) joy of learning, and teaching them business practices and marketing skills.
“It was wonderful to see firsthand the impact of the Heritage students on the lives of the S.E.E.D. campers,” said Prophet after the visit. “We left humbled and excited to do more together.”
“It was great to meet established industry professionals who shared their stories of humble beginnings and stories of perseverance, and who showed they truly care about young people and will help guide them towards a path of success,” said Camp S.E.E.D. mentor Suzet Teodoro.