A Q&A with 2011 Lime Connect Fellow, Jim SanMarco
Why did you decide to apply for the Lime Connect Fellowship Program?
Lime Connect was unique in that it was the only program that I knew of which focused on top performing students around the country who happen to have disabilities. It was clear during the entire process that it was a top-tier program dedicated to connecting some of the best students with some of the best companies in the country. It was a unique and exciting opportunity for me and deciding to apply was a no-brainer!
What has the experience been like as a Lime Connect Fellow?
The Lime Connect Fellowship has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have participated in. Lime Connect has always felt like an elite program to be a part of. The fact that every one of us happens to have a disability was not something to be ashamed of or looked down on. It was something to be embraced and proud of because of the unique perspective that each of us had. This was a complete mind-shift from how I previously viewed my disability. The spirit, talent, intelligence, and drive of each of the Fellows in my class was truly inspiring, and I still look to them as some of the best people I have the pleasure of knowing.
What was one of the most memorable moments for you during the Fellows symposium?
Meeting and getting to know all the other Fellows was, by far, the most memorable aspect of the symposium. Freely talking about my disability (which happens to be a largely invisible disability) was something that I had never done prior. Frankly, it was something that I avoided at all costs. The openness of other Fellows during the symposium inspired me to share my own story, which was a very empowering experience.
Overall, what was one of the biggest takeaways from your experience in the Fellowship Program?
For me, one of the biggest takeaways was an understanding that my disability is not a weakness. It is a strength that makes me unique and gives me a perspective that others may not understand. Lime Connect has taught me to not hide from my disability, but rather embrace the strengths it has given me. This is something I will take with me forever.
How have you stayed engaged with Lime Connect over the years?
Lime Connect has been a constant stream of support since becoming a Fellow and Lime Network member almost a decade ago. I've been able to attend a few networking dinners that Lime Connect has hosted in the Bay Area and I helped organize, and participated in, a Lime Connect event with Bloomberg in New York. Today, I'm also excited to have the opportunity to pay it forward as a LinkedIn consultant for the organization. I look forward to many more opportunities to engage with the Lime Connect team and the Lime Network going forward!
How did your experience in the Fellowship Program help prepare you for your professional career?
Without a doubt, Lime Connect was a critical jumpstart to my professional career. Through the Fellowship Program, I was connected to an internship opportunity in San Francisco with Lime Connect's partner, Bloomberg. As someone from Texas, it was an amazing opportunity for me to move to a city that I might never have imagined previously. Lime Connect was there to prepare me and help guide me through the entire interview process.
I was offered a full-time role with Bloomberg after graduation – a transition that Lime Connect also helped to prepare me for. After several years at Bloomberg and a small ad-tech startup, I eventually moved into my current role as an Enterprise Client Solutions Manager for LinkedIn – a company owned by another Lime Connect partner, Microsoft. Without Lime Connect, I might have never made it out of Texas, and my professional career would likely look very different. I was also blessed to meet my fiance in San Francisco so Lime Connect may have been that critical link to finding the love of my life!
Do you have any final words for students interested in the Fellowship Program?
If you are questioning whether or not you should apply, STOP. Just apply! Becoming a Fellow has been a life-changing experience. The Lime Connect team are rockstars who are deeply committed to helping students and professionals who happen to have disabilities achieve all the success that they deserve. I am proud to be a Lime Connect Fellow and will always be an advocate for this program!
Jim SanMarco is a Lime Connect Fellow from the Class of 2011. Jim is currently a Senior Enterprise Client Solutions Manager at LinkedIn.
The Lime Connect Fellowship Program is Lime Connect's flagship program in the U.S. designed for highly accomplished sophomores/rising juniors with disabilities. The application deadline for the 2020 Fellowship Program is . Click here to learn more/apply.