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Meet Gabby: Apprentice turned 2023 Outstanding Mentor

November 13, 2023
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Apprenticeship Colorado and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment celebrate Colorado Apprenticeship Month by recognizing those who demonstrate remarkable commitment to apprenticeships

Congratulations to Gabby Ayala, Pinnacol’s former apprentice turned software engineer and apprentice supervisor, for winning the Outstanding Mentor Award for the 2023 Colorado Apprenticeship Awards. This recognition celebrates Gabby’s exceptional contributions to Pinnacol’s apprentice program, her journey from apprentice to mentor and her profound and positive contributions to the workplace. 

Gabby was part of the first cohort of apprentices at Pinnacol and became a highly respected employee within a few short years of graduating from high school. The opportunity to supervise an apprentice knocked on her door last year. Always up for a challenge, Gabby embraced the opportunity and became a mentor and apprentice supervisor at just 22 years old. 

Being an apprentice supervisor is an excellent way to develop management and leadership skills. Gabby participated in Pinnacol’s Apprentice Supervisor Certification Program, where she learned how to onboard, train, set expectations and coach an employee for improved performance. She applied her learning to hands-on experience supervising Ralen, a third-year apprentice.

Gabby played a pivotal role in Ralen’s personal and professional development. She encouraged him to ask questions, embrace a growth mindset and view mistakes as valuable learning experiences. Ralen’s newfound confidence and active participation in team meetings showcased the positive impact of Gabby’s guidance. 

Julie Wilmes, apprenticeship program manager, remarked,

“Gabby carefully selected appropriate training to help Ralen develop his coding skills through Harvard and tutored him when he struggled with content. She met with him regularly; mentored him on his career-ready skills, such as prioritization and time management; and provided timely feedback and coached him through challenges. Ralen made incredible strides in his technical and career-ready skills during his time with Gabby.”

Thanks to Gabby’s unwavering support, Ralen received Department of Labor-Registered Apprenticeship Certification for 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of software development-related instruction.

As we celebrate Colorado Apprenticeship Month, Gabby’s Outstanding Mentor Award demonstrates the power of apprenticeship programs and the positive influence of dedicated mentors. Her journey from apprentice to supervisor underscores the potential for transformative change within the workforce. 

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