Back to stories

Blanca Gonzalez’s Leap into a Project Management Career

The Year Up National Capital Region graduate now works as a Business IT Analyst at Exelon, the nation’s leading competitive energy provider.


There were times when Blanca Gonzalez wished she was more like her sister Vanesa. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blanca felt stuck in her position at a dog daycare, where she had landed after exploring the veterinary field and realizing it wasn’t the career for her. Vanesa, though, seemed to seize opportunities. “She was all about risk, willing to try new things,” Blanca said. 

Then, her sister heard about the Year Up program and shared the information with Blanca. This time, Blanca was the one who took the leap — and it paid off with a career in project management with help from YUPRO Placement. YUPRO Placement is Year Up’s mission-driven talent placement firm that offers companies access to a robust talent pipeline to hire smarter and optimize business performance. 

The Alexandria, Virginia, native began her internship journey with Exelon, the nation's leading competitive energy provider. Since the start of the partnership in 2009, Exelon has hosted almost 400 Year Up interns and hired more than 160 Year Up alumni to date.

“Before, I would wait until someone gave me an opportunity,” Blanca said. “With Year Up, I realized I could accomplish more. I could put in the work, go out, and see what’s out there.”

Blanca’s learning and development phase on the business operations track, specializing in project management support, was virtual due to the pandemic, but working in breakout rooms and receiving candid feedback made everyone feel connected. The most significant feedback Blanca received: raise your hand. Share your thoughts. Make yourself known.

She took that feedback to heart, especially at her Exelon internship. Other key skills acquired during the program that she brought to her internship included networking, critical thinking, and problem solving. Blanca decided it was on her to work with precision and speed, impressing her group with her ability to complete tasks.

“I decided that I would always reach out, even if I didn’t always get a response. I wanted to show that I was flexible, ready to work on anything, and that if I was given a task, I would complete it same day.” 

Blanca Gonzalez

Business IT Analyst, Exelon

She also found a mentor who encouraged all the interns to have conversations with their managers about joining Exelon full time. With that reinforcement, Blanca decided to contact her manager about her desire to apply for a position.

Exelon didn’t have a full-time role available at the time, but thanks to her mentor’s advocacy and YUPRO Placement’s work, Exelon hired Blanca as a contractor. This provided her with the opportunity to gain experience working as part of the Exelon team as well as taking on a variety of tasks. Finally, when a full-time role opened in 2022, Blanca officially launched her career in project management.

“I see myself growing more here with Exelon. We can go and get our certifications, and I want to take advantage of that. I’ve also been assigned an intern as my mentee, and I’ve told her about my experience and what actions I took. Maybe she can implement some of what I learned in her work, too.”

Blanca Gonzalez

Business IT Analyst, Exelon

As a Business IT Analyst, Blanca is a project manager for four different applications. She holds daily meetings with the team to deliver new tasks, share expectations from managers, escalate IT issues, and find resources. “I like how organized the team is, and we check in to see if there’s anything we can do to help each other,” Blanca said. Blanca also takes advantage of one-on-one calls with her manager to ask questions and solicit feedback. She doesn’t stop there, either — she wants to hear from her colleagues how she can better serve them.

“Blanca is a strong team member, consistently learning, delivering results, and demonstrating our core values. I look forward to watching her continued professional development within our organization."

Jennifer Shearer

Senior IT Manager, Exelon

“Before Year Up, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, my sister hit me with a question: ‘Is this what you see yourself doing your entire life?’” Blanca continued, “I saw that if she finds a good opportunity, she’ll take it. This was my opportunity.”