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CYDNEY-JERIN MENESES

Independent Contractor

Success:

Contract with YWCA O‘ahu for managing the MBDA EWOC Business Center Marketing and Social Media

Cydney-Jerin Meneses received a contract to manage Marketing & Social Media for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center at YWCA O‘ahu.

She is also a first-year graduate student studying Communication Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Cydney was born and raised on O‘ahu and is a multiethnic woman. She identifies as being Filipino, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, German, and Irish. Before this position, Meneses was the Advertising and Marketing intern for the American Cancer Society (ACS) on Hawai‘i Island from May to December 2020 and was the Community Relations intern for Ōlelo Community Media in 2019 from May to August. Additionally, she recently obtained her Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication with a Public Relations emphasis from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in May of 2020.

“2020 was a difficult year for college graduates with cancelled graduation ceremonies, last college semesters were cut short, and it was harder to find employment. For me, many job emails were regretting to inform me that I didn’t get the position. With that, I also began to question my career path and goals because of how low my confidence had dropped…” – Cydney-Jerin Meneses, Marketing & Social Media Manager

From January to April of 2020, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 6.6 % to 25.6% of college students and graduates between the ages 20 and 24. After April 2020, the unemployment rate slowly decreased. By December of 2020, the unemployment rate for the ages 20-24 was 11.2%. Despite temporary funding relief – such as independent work or internships – students still struggled with taking on more debt. Upon obtaining the contract, Meneses felt that her and her family’s financial situation improved. She expressed her gratitude towards the organization:

“When Hawai’i went into lockdown, my dad didn’t have many clients for his small business, my grandma had less workdays, and I was laid off from my job at NAU. Watching my family stress over our financial situation was difficult and heartbreaking. Receiving the job acceptance email from EWOC, I felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders; this job and opportunity not only changed my life, but my family’s as well.” – Cydney-Jerin Meneses, Marketing & Social Media Manager

In addition to her excitement of receiving the job, Meneses felt inspired by the YWCA O‘ahu and MBDA EWOC Business Center’s mission. She was thrilled to know that she was a part of an organization that benefitted local minority women business owners. “Women are so underrated, especially within the professional setting. Yes, it is getting better, but this organization can really change the game for women!” Cydney said.

Women business owners often feel that they need to be a large corporation to qualify or compete for state and government set-aside contracts, but you don’t. A business of any size can get certified and contracted. Cydney continues to promote the services of the MBDA EWOC Business Center. She is applying her passion and professional background to help her empower local minority women and their businesses. “It’s important for women to feel powerful and worthy. As a woman myself, I know how easy it is to lose that confidence and spark. I want to make sure other women feel that confidence. Now is the time to do it. We’re in a time of change!” Cydney says.

Cydney has a striking piece of advice for job-seeking college students and graduates:

“I know it seems the time we are living in is challenging and scarier because the future is unknown, but you can get through it. Don’t give up. Stay strong and confident in yourself and your work. The perfect opportunity will come knocking on your door when the time is right, and when it does, walk through that door and give it all you got! When you get that opportunity, be the change you’ve always wanted to see in the world!”