Clouderas Lynne Montalbo volunteers as mentor for nonprofit

Cloudera's Lynne Montalbo volunteers as mentor for nonprofit

 June 15, 2022

Debbie Kruger, Senior Manager, Social Impact at Cloudera, spotlights colleague Lynne Montalbo, a Senior Business Systems Analyst from Santa Clara, California, who volunteers as a professional development mentor with Braven.

Braven’s mission is to empower promising, underrepresented young people - first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students of color - with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs, which lead to meaningful careers and lives of impact.

Discovering Braven through Cloudera 

Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lynne heard about Braven and the important work it is doing to empower the next generation of talent through Cloudera Cares. As a graduate of San Jose State University and a resident of the Bay Area herself, she wanted to support local undergrads and help them make a successful transition into “the real world,” especially during such a challenging time. What Lynne wasn’t expecting, however, was that she too would learn skills useful for her career.

“I was surprised,” Lynne shared.,“I was learning how to be a better interviewer throughout the process too.” Two years and a handful of Zoom interview prep mentoring sessions later, Lynne is eager to continue her volunteering (hopefully) in person. 

Addressing opportunity gap

Braven was founded to address a critical problem facing our young people. Before the pandemic, only 30% of the 1.3 million low-income or first-generation college students who enrolled each year graduated and secured a strong first job or entered graduate school. That’s more than 900,000 students every single year. Now, the number of students whose dreams have been deferred is even greater.

To address this opportunity gap, Braven focuses on embedding their differentiated support into higher education settings, ensuring their participants receive innovative career education services, a network of peers and mentors, and comprehensive support cultivating the “soft skills” required to succeed.

Seeing the impact firsthand 

Lynne saw the impact with her own eyes. 

“After my first experience I wasn’t sure the mission of the program resonated with the candidates I was meeting. But even by the second time I participated, I saw a shift in the way the candidates engaged in the interview.”  

The Braven program had expanded and deepened, and so had its impact.

A rewarding experience volunteering with Braven

When asked, “Would you recommend volunteering with this organization to other Clouderans?” Lynne responded, “Yes, I definitely suggest volunteering for Braven and the Mock Interviewer program. It’s a great way to keep in touch with the interests of new grads entering the workforce and it’s rewarding to be able to provide some tips for pursuing your passion as a career.”

Supporting communities diversifying talent pipeline

Cloudera’s Corporate Social Responsibility team is committed to diversifying the jobs of the future. Their mission is to support communities by reskilling and upskilling already underrepresented talent, ensuring that diverse and empowered pipelines of talent exist for the future economy. 

As a company, Cloudera proud to be partnering with organizations similar to Braven that provide the technical, emotional, and behavioral support required to enter or re-enter the workforce prepared.

Joining committed volunteers, like Lynne, is a tremendous way to get involved in your local community and support Cloudera’s mission to diversify the future of tech.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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