The “M” word

By Jason Wilson, YMCA of the Palouse

On October 26th, I experienced my first Washington Nonprofits Conference. I picked up a tremendous amount of knowledge and met some great professionals who are currently working to make the Pacific Northwest a better place. I would highly recommend checking out one of these workshops or conferences if you have the chance.

I had an amazing opportunity to lead an open space conversation on millennials. To be honest, I was a little nervous to see how it would go. Being a millennial can be disheartening when you’re bombarded with negative stereotypes and misconceptions on a daily basis. If you go to Google and type “Millennials…” some suggestions the Internet giant provides include “Millennials are lazy,” or “Millennials are killing (insert industry here),” and “Millennials are ruining the world.”

I have to admit, I was caught off guard but pleasantly surprised by how willing this very jam-packed session was to having an honest conversation about how to better work with and adapt to the millennial generation’s view on the workplace. It was a conversation that helped to dispel some myths about millennials. Those of us who fall into that generation were able to offer some insight into how we think and what motivates us. This open space conversation consisted of voices that included a diverse mix of generations and provided a very real sample population of today’s work force. It proved that not only could we listen to each other, but that we also have an immense amount to learn from each other.

One thing the table agreed on was Millennials are passionate and they want to change the world. They just need a little guidance to get there. When the conversation ended, we were all surprised by how quickly the time flew by during our very productive conversation. We exchanged business cards and handshakes and left knowing that we all could take something away from the conversation and put it to work back in our offices and work places.

After having these experiences at the Inland Northwest Conference for the Greater Good, I highly recommend that we work a little harder to bridge those generational divides and be more willing to open our hearts and minds to one another. Some of the best lessons I learned that day came from that open space conversation. I look forward to having many more conversations like that one, maybe over a craft beer or cocktail. We millennials love a good happy hour after all.

About Jason Wilson

Jason Wilson grew up on the Palouse graduating from Troy High School in 2009 and receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from University of Idaho in 2014. Jason has been actively involved in volunteer work and youth programming since he was just a kid and is very excited to bring his experience, knowledge and positive energy where he serves as the Director of Community Outreach at YMCA of the Palouse.