MEDA Client Pays Tribute to LinkedIn Employee’s Guidance on “Thank Your Mentor Day”

1977-01152016_WFD-Elijah Toluaou Social Media Image_blog_v1Awesome. Easygoing. A great teacher. This is how Elijah Toluao describes his mentor, Ian Lindsay.

Elijah, of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill, is a graduate of the spring 2014 cohort of Mission Techies, a free program at MEDA that puts 17- to 24-year-olds on the path to a career in tech. Elijah originally heard about the Mission Techies program when the nonprofit’s Teresa Garcia came to the young man’s economics class at City College, the MEDA financial coach offering guidelines for how to deal with such things as student loan debt.

Once Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa spoke to Elijah about the benefits of the Mission Techies program, the latter was convinced.

“Elijah was a model student. He was dedicated and had a thirst for knowledge,” states Sosa.

Then last April, MEDA did some mentorship “matchmaking,” first having young adult clients fill out a survey that highlighted their interests. Volunteers looking to help in the community then looked through this stack of prospective mentees’ paperwork and made a choice of whose life they most wanted to better.

Elijah’s story resonated with Lindsay, and a professional match was made.

Lindsay is a lead UI engineer at LinkedIn, although he describes it as “product and UI evangelist.” The tech company has been offering support to MEDA, via grants and volunteerism, for the past couple of years. LinkedIn’s impact has been especially important when it comes to young adults from underserved communities.

Initial meetings were for Lindsay to best gauge Elijah’s interests in the tech world, with it being discovered that web and backend development were high on the list. This meant coding lessons. Plenty of them.

A plan of action was made and meetings continue nine months later. The pair meets at a conveniently located coffeehouse. Think of it as learning Java over java.

Elijah has quickly picked up coding language. The now 25-year-old explains Lindsay’s coding instruction as follows: “Ian is a great teacher. He makes what seems like a foreign language be more like English.”

It’s more like three foreign languages: JavaScript, CSS and HTML.

Elijah also looks to Lindsay for counsel. One major piece of advice is to volunteer as much as possible, as a means to garner experience, make contacts and live in the world of tech.

The current plan is to have Elijah apply for the web-development program at TechSF. Funded by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, TechSF offers participants fully subsidized workshops and individual coaching sessions covering resume-building and job-searching skills, in addition to advanced tech training and connections to employers.

Concludes a thankful Elijah, who is optimistic about his future, “My mentor, Ian Lindsay from LinkedIn, has set me on the right path. I can’t thank him enough for taking the time to guide me. He’s awesome!”

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