Young Leaders and the power of Millennials

By Megan Shadrach, Associate, Affinity & Engagement, United Way of Greater Cleveland

Megan ShadrachBeing a young professional and working with a large network of young professionals across Cleveland can be an empowering experience. Young professionals have the curiosity to create positive change and think innovatively to help advance the work place and their community. Millennials are often thought to be know-it-alls, but I beg to differ. From my experience, Millennials are the exact opposite. We know that we don’t know everything, but we aren’t afraid to try something new and switch things up to make improvements.

Like many growing cities, Cleveland is overflowing with young professionals who are eager to make their community a better, stronger, well-rounded community to live in. The United Way Young Leaders affinity group focuses its work on minimizing the low-income achievement gap in Greater Cleveland. This group of young professionals works to identify and create opportunities for other emerging leaders to get their hands dirty, raise funds for the community and meet other likeminded individuals.

Being a young professional in this group has taught me quite a bit. Here are six key things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Young professionals want to make a difference, but they want to do it quickly. Provide resources to help make this happen.
  2. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be – simplicity is bliss. Simplifying processes will help make a large impact. Less truly is more.
  3. Provide your audience choice, but not too much. A constructive menu of options will help guide your vision and goals.
  4. Fail fast and fail often; mistakes aren’t bad if you recognize and learn from them. If you aren’t afraid to fail, the sooner you will succeed and reach your goals.
  5. Create a meaningful and impactful experience by listening to your audience and giving them opportunities to do what they want.
  6. Don’t let the Millennial stereotypes stand in your way – Complete a volunteer project with your friends or co-workers and meet up for happy hour afterwards because –  well, you deserve it

As the city continues to develop in 2016, we have many generations to thank. The young professionals in Cleveland cannot be overlooked as contributing to the impact our city and community is experiencing. Cleveland is lucky to have such passionate, energetic and innovative individuals working to make a difference here each day and I’m happy to be one of them!

Our Young Leaders group is in full swing with a packed calendar of volunteer opportunities and special events. Interested in learning more or stepping up for the community? Sign up here.

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