Turning ambitions into reality: AlphaSights and iMentor

The following blog was published by AlphaSights in partnership with NYC Service. It was originally published on their blog, and it is being reposted here with permission.

Even after many years, AlphaSights employees are still excited to be involved in iMentor. Why? Because our people see the value in mentorship and knowledge that can be passed from person to person — in essence, that’s AlphaSights’ business model. This week, we sat down with long-time Charity House volunteers Sean Corrigan, Region Head of the Americas, and Greg Sexton, VP of Corporate Accounts, to learn more about AlphaSights’ involvement and alignment with the organization.

What makes working at AlphaSights different from other companies?

One area in which AlphaSights stands out is the level of professional development (PD) available to its employees. Our PD team is dedicated to providing training and career advising sessions to ensure that our people are prepared to take on the large responsibilities given to them and that they continue to learn and develop skills that’ll help them excel throughout their careers.

“At AlphaSights, people are given a lot of responsibility quicker than at most companies. I’ve had the opportunity to manage many different personality types early on in my career, learning how to collaborate effectively with others, use emotional intelligence for growth, and take advantage of new and fresh perspectives.” — Sean

Another aspect that makes AlphaSights unique is our employees’ strong desire to volunteer and donate. We genuinely want to make a positive impact in our communities. When the company set a policy allowing advisors to donate part, or all, of their remuneration to our charity partner for that quarter, employees eagerly incorporated charity donations into their project pitches.

“It’s rewarding to see philanthropy become so ingrained in our employees’ everyday workflow.” — Greg

AlphaSights employees have also formed many affinity groups, encouraging people to get involved and meet colleagues outside of their day-to-day circles. We have a Women’s Initiative network (WIN), Brand Ambassadors, intramural sports teams, and Charity House.

What is Charity House?

When the New York office opened, employees were encouraged to get involved in building out different parts of the business. As a response, AlphaSights formed “houses” where people used 20% of their time to focus on other aspects of the business outside of their core role.

Over time, the houses were given specific, specialized teams and Charity House survived the test of time and became one of the hallmark initiatives at AlphaSights over the past 10 years. The affinity group provides a central place for employees to come with ideas for new ways AlphaSights can engage employees and get involved in philanthropy and its local communities. Charity House has partnered with several different organizations, joined NYC Service and its Good for me, Good for my City campaign, hosted lunch and learns for students, attended charity events, and more.

How is AlphaSights’ partnership with charities unique?

Both Sean and Greg share a common passion for philanthropy. They volunteered in college and wanted to continue their commitment into their careers. As they grew the New York office, they simultaneously began to incorporate volunteerism into AlphaSights’ culture.

“I always thought it’d be a good idea to offer advisors the ability to donate some of their remuneration. Several of these people are successful and a few hundred dollars an hour isn’t the real reason they participate in these interactions. I had the hypothesis that if we offered a donation to charity, we’d see high participation from advisors donating all or a portion of their AlphaSights payments.” — Greg

AlphaSights began integrating a new step in the invoicing process, designing a new advisor-facing page to explain the initiative, picking charity partners, figuring out regulations around donating to charities, and setting up our own internal accounting system. Eventually, the initiative was up and running; due to the enormous generosity of our advisors, many charities have benefited since.

AlphaSights also uses charity initiatives to engage employees. There are fundraising challenges in the office and, with the help of Charity House, AlphaSights hosts workshops for various organizations to teach students important life skills. It’s easy for employees to make giving back to their community an everyday activity.

What is iMentor and how did AlphaSights get involved?

iMentor is a nonprofit organization that matches high-school students with a committed, college-educated mentor to guide them on their journey to college graduation. The nonprofit serves nearly 9,000 students, facilitating relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school and succeed in college.

Sean and Greg were each introduced to iMentor through past colleagues. Given that AlphaSights is in the knowledge sharing business, mentoring and education hits home for a lot of its employees. iMentor was a natural fit to support high school students with ambitions to take the next step to higher education.

“I participated in a Big Brother, Big Sister program in college and was eager to continue volunteering. iMentor was the perfect opportunity. I talked to my mentee every week and had in-person visits once a month. It was a great fit given my other time commitments and travel schedule. I enjoyed my first experience so much that after my first mentee graduated I signed up to participate in the program again and got matched with another student right away.” — Greg
“The one-on-one nature with my mentee and the ability to build a long lasting relationship with someone during a formative time in their life really resonated with me.” — Sean
Sean and AlphaSights Co-Founder, Max Cartellieri, at iMentor’s 2018 Champions Dinner

What makes AlphaSights’ relationship with iMentor different?

Aside from encouraging and facilitating advisor donations, AlphaSights also participated in iMentor’s March fundraising challenge this past year. Employees were encouraged to personally donate as well as reach out to their individual networks to spark additional support for the organization. Sean alone raised over $10,000 for iMentor. To encourage engagement, AlphaSights transformed its kitchen into a speakeasy and every employee who donated received a ticket to attend. With the help of Charity House, employee donations, and advisor donations, AlphaSights raised over $60,000 for iMentor in 2018.

Speakeasy in the AlphaSights kitchen to reward employees who donated to iMentor

AlphaSights currently has 7 employees serving as mentors and Sean is on iMentor’s young executive board. In the future, AlphaSights hopes to host more events for iMentor that also engages a larger number of its employees. For example, a personal finance workshop and panel for the mentees.

“The opportunity to volunteer has had a huge impact on achieving a balance in my life. It’s a key component to fulfillment alongside family, friends, and my career. Volunteering is valuable because it allows me to connect with new people, learn about their stories, and hopefully have a mutual and lasting impact on one another.” — Sean

What is the most impactful experience you’ve had as an iMentor mentor?

“The most rewarding experience was attending one of Paul, my mentee’s, comedy improv shows in Manhattan. When we first met, he had just moved to Brooklyn, was naturally introverted, and a bit nervous to start meeting new people. After working on simply talking to a few people a week, he started to come out of his shell, met a great group of friends, and got involved in comedy and acting on stage. This kind of personal development allowed me to see first-hand how powerful mentorship can be and the difference it makes in a young person’s life.”
Paul was also accepted into Brooklyn College of Technology — that was awesome to experience with him!” — Sean
Sean with iMentor students
“My mentee was accepted into college this past spring, which is an incredible accomplishment as his acceptance was contingent on passing all of his regents. English is his second language and he was struggling with this one. He passed in July and received his diploma. He’s now starting at Medgar Evans.” — Greg
Greg with his mentee

Why is social impact important at AlphaSights?

AlphaSights’ people are the core of our company. They’re the driving force behind the business as well as the activities that reach beyond their initial mandates. The workers at AlphaSights strongly value humanity, leveraging their skills to bring knowledge to people everywhere in hope that they leave the world better than they found it. This attitude led to forming Charity House, their social impact segment Knowledge for Good, and solidifying partnerships with charities like iMentor.

AlphaSights is in a great industry to establish touchpoints with a wide audience through our employee, client, and advisor relations. It’s important to use this reach to improve the ecosystem we operate in and continue prioritizing the sharing of knowledge — from every angle.