Last week, the 17th annual WISE Symposium was held at SKY Armory. As “Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship,” the event is just that. A jam-packed day filled with both seasoned entrepreneurs, and those just getting started (no shame in your game, there’s one right here 🙋🏼♀️), the event is all about networking, getting inspired and taking actions on your goals and aspirations.
As luck would have it, I was asked to speak give my thoughts on a small panel. No, I was no keynote speaker (some day!), but it was an incredible experience nonetheless. It was a privilege to give millennials a voice in the workplace and dissect some of the stereotypes we’ve been given as a generation, both good and bad.
Our panel, called “Millennials in My Business” consisted of millennials from each end of the spectrum:
Daneille Roche: Sales & Marketing Manager, HR One
Sarah Mastrangelo: Vice President of Operations, Digital Hyve
Sarah Hassler: Owner & Chef Consultant, Hassler Hospitality Group
…and then lil’ ol me. As you can see, the rest of the panel consisted of millennials who have worked their way up through the ranks, and now hold senior management positions within their respective companies. My purpose was to provide the perspective of the millennial being managed, as since 2016, we have grown to become the largest generation entering the workforce. As many of you I’m sure already know, the mindset of millennials in the work place is much different than your, we’ll say, seasoned workers, and this can causes problems for management in deciding best practices, and trying to make all levels of employees happy. It’s definitely a juggling act, and the panel quickly became an open floor discussion with our audience as people had a lot to say. What I see being the largest problem overall is really just lack of communication. I can’t speak for all of my peers, but I think for the most part, we leave college full of excitement and high expectations about what our careers are going to look like. Well before we graduate, our heads are filled with terms like “company culture,” dreams of half days on Fridays and even working from home, and we are soon met with reality. While we might be at fault for this, we do bring fresh, new ideas to the table, and are able to adapt quickly with the changing technology, and often these skills are taken advantage of. All that really needs to happen are more conversations like those that happened at WISE, and Baby Boomers and Millennials (and soon to be Gen Z-ers) will fear each other a little less.
Of course, our panel was just one of the day’s many events! Robyn Crane started the morning off with inspiration of her own, sharing her story of how she went from $500 to $500,000 in one year. A few of Robyn’s first words are those that so many of us have already heard, but often forget when we get comfortable in the routine of our daily lives:
“The only way to be successful is to continually step outside your comfort zone”
Robyn spoke a lot to how, often like a rubber band we stretch our comfort zones… at first. Until we aquire enough things within this newer, more comfortable zone, that we no longer see the need to continue to stretch. She urged us all to always aim to stretch just a little bit further, and we’ll be amazed by what we can achieve.
Later in the morning was my personal favorite session of the day, the Passionpreneurship Panel. I always love a good success story, and the 3 women on the panel gave just that. Where my side-hustle sistas at – this ones for you! I could try to summarize the panel for you, but I thought instead I’d leave you with some of the badass quotes from the women themselves that left me feeling inspired throughout the rest of the day. Thank you to Bryony Grealish (The Fingerless Kitchen), Katelyn Kriesel (Reinvest CNY) and Kelsey Davis (CLLCTVE Agency) for your words of wisdom.
On following your dream and not looking back:
“Many of us are faced with the decision to choose, whether we want to start a family, work a job or follow our passion. Today, we can have it all. And we should work to normalize this idea.”
“A lot of us have this imposter symdrome, like who the hell am I to think I can wake up and do this every day. When you wake up and think ‘who the hell am I,” think of the people you want to help. That’s who the hell you are.”
“The worst thing that can happen is I run out of money and I get another job”
“There is no opportunity that can happen that is failure”
“If you walk into a room and say that you’re an expert on something, people are going to believe you”
“Life is not a chess game where you have to map out all your moves ahead of time. You just need to have a move or two.”
On overcoming fear and failure:
– Find a way to get quiet and still
– Replace negative thoughts with something better
– Start the day thankful
– Remember, the things you fear are the things you value most
On concrete, practical steps to getting where you want to go:
– Read books, lots of books, to get the technical knowledge you need to build a sustainable company. Build the company strong enough to survive without you if it had to.
– Go to stuff and introduce yourself. Go alone. Build relationships. You can build your entire business on networking.
– If reading isn’t your style, listen. To people around you, to TED Talks, to motivational speakers.
And last, but not least, what left me feeling inspired and still has not left me since the symposium ended last Thursday:
“You can do more than what you think you can do”
Even when you think it’s the end of the road for your dream (and ya know what, for some dreams it might not be time yet), never give up. When times get tough, you’ve just gotta get tougher.
If you’re not feeling inspired enough already, all you have to do is save the date 😏
Next year’s symposium will be held on 4.23. You won’t want to miss out!