Can you guess the average tenure of Millennial employees? Two years.
That doesn’t instill much confidence for human resources executives who are trying to create a stable workforce, especially when you take this into account: More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 36). And in 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Millennials embrace a strong entrepreneurial mindset and they are often on the lookout for opportunities that can continue to move them up the ladder, even if that means up and out of their current position.
But that’s not always the case. Here are 20 Millennials who are staying put long enough to have a big impact on Arizona’s economic landscape, changing the way their companies do business and altering the workplace culture at the same time.
Patricia Barney has three degrees from ASU — two undergraduate degrees and a master’s in communications. By the time she was 26, Barney had raised $1 million dollars for various charities.
Value of youth: “I have been fortunate to have great role models who instilled in me to give back to the community — my parents, Girl Scouts, friends and bosses.”
Impact of Millennials: “My favorite Millennial business owner is Aaron Pool of Gadzook’s, a fast-casual restaurant that is redefining the enchilada. He’s changing the food industry and in the process inspiring those around him of all ages.”
Justin Bayless took the medical group from a staff of 18 in 2008 to 100 in 2016. He is known for challenging the status quo. While most patients have to patronize two clinics for primary and mental healthcare, he brought the two under one roof in the transformative Bayless model of care.
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials will help shape a new paradigm as it relates to receiving your healthcare services through technology and the patient experience. Brand, customer service, access to care, price, technology applications and quality will be the competitive advantages that medical groups will need to obtain to stay relevant.”
John Chayka is in his first season with the Coyotes as general manager after being promoted to the position on May 5, 2016. At 26, he became the youngest general manager in NHL and North American major sports history. Chayka joined the Coyotes prior to the 2015-16 season as assistant general manager, analytics. He was involved in all areas of hockey operations, including NHL, minor league and amateur player evaluation, as well as player development and coaching support. Prior to joining the Coyotes, he co-founded and served as director of hockey operations at Stathletes Inc.
In her current position, Julie Friedly is trusted by some of the state’s top companies to help ensure profitably and manage risk.
Value of youth: “Millennials are known for relationship building. I’m driven to always help others first, whether that is improving their business, growing their networks or making impactful introductions.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials will have made the business landscape a much more collaborative environment, pulling in resources from many different industries and networks to improve the communities we live in. This will only continue to grow, especially in the insurance industry.”
Greg Gautam is a member of the State Bar’s Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law. Next year, he will assume the role as lead coordinator of the State Bar’s Diversity Legal Writing Program, which has provided almost $800,000 in scholarships to almost 170 law students.
Impact of Millennials: “The legal profession lags behind other industries in areas like technology, innovation, leave policies and flexible work arrangements. I believe Millennials will play a leading role in these areas and will work with senior firm leadership to develop new approaches to talent management and delivering legal services in an efficient and sensible manner.”
Dr. Randy S. Gelow II specializes in LGBT medicine, including the treatment of HIV, PrEP and transgender hormone medicine. He incorporates humor, empathy and shared decision making into healthcare.
Value of youth: “Being born into a generation centered on technology and friendly competition allows quicker improvement of self and society through ease of access to resources and the drive to innovate.”
Impact of Millennials: “We are already seeing the changes brought to health care by Millennials with improved access as medicine is turning digital: online appointments, immediate electronic contact with your doctor and electronic prescribing are just a few of the advancements.”
Ashley Gleckler guides companies through all phases of the business cycle and provides ongoing advice and counsel on day-to-day operational, business and legal issues. She is also a powerlifter who holds multiple Arizona state records.
Value of youth: “Millennials are not afraid of change. Not being afraid to make changes has helped me look at business challenges in different ways and work toward new solutions.”
Impact of Millennials: “Our use of technology in business will continue to break down barriers, making Arizona more accessible to companies outside Arizona and making the rest of the world more accessible to Arizona companies.”
William Hendricks, Ph.D., helps lead TGen’s canine cancer program, which uses saliva samples to study dogs’ DNA and look for not only what drives various types of cancers in canine, but how to use those discoveries to drive new insights into the causes and treatments for cancer in people.
Value of youth: “I’m driven by a deep desire to improve the lives of cancer patients through innovative research. As a young scientist empowered by extraordinary mentors, colleagues, collaborators, trainees, and by cancer patients themselves, I bring an unconventional perspective to expert teams working to solve difficult problems.”
Vivek Kopparthi is a healthcare entrepreneur on a mission. He and his Millennial team have developed a treatment for jaundice, a condition that causes 1,293 infants globally to either die or suffer permanent brain damage every day.
Value of youth: “Being a Millennial has empowered me with dynamism and the ability to think out of the box to get to my end goal.”
Impact of Millennials: “Our elder generation has sacrificed a lot to give us this elevated pedestal. Thanks to them, we are here to innovate, empower, solve some key problems and change the world.”
Melissa Iyer Julian’s practice focuses on complex business litigation matters and corporate transactions.
Value of youth: “Millennials are creatures of change, not habit. Our lives have been defined by how well we adapt to rapid changes in technology and in our environment. And that is our greatest asset – we embrace change, we thrive on innovation and we tend to be fearless in our willingness to challenge the accepted wisdom.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials will push businesses — in my case, law firms — to adopt more streamlined operations that rely more heavily on technology as a means of improving communication, increasing productivity and decreasing overhead.”
Lisa Mazza Lantz develops wellness programs for companies across Arizona. She sits on the board of Westmarc and Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Value of youth: “There is something to learn from every person you meet, regardless of generation. I incorporate those lessons in both my personal and professional life.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials love to innovate, which is great for the healthcare industry. I believe millennials will continue to push the boundaries in healthcare, contributing to new technologies and advancements, which will eventually lead to even better patient care.”
Julia Meyerson recently completed a year-long fellowship with Building Excellent Schools, where she had the opportunity to study high performing charter schools serving low income students.
Value of youth: “Our team believes that we can redefine what is possible in urban education in Arizona. We are proving demographics do not determine destiny.”
Impact of Millennials: “Young entrepreneurs are committed to quick change. Within education, these leaders are embracing innovation, unrelenting in their commitment to excellence and truly believe that every student, no matter where they live, deserves a quality education.”
David Racich is a serial entrepreneur in the fields of technology, online marketing and finance and began his career while still in college.
Value of youth: “I am the son of two school teachers who, if nothing else, taught me the value of hard work and perseverance.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials will continue to push organizations toward continued innovation while better leveraging technology to work more easily within their day to day. This will make it easier for any organization to seamlessly serve up their product/service with a tight integration into one’s day.”
Jeff Schelter began working at Alliance after graduating from the University of Arizona in 2005.
Value of youth: “I think Millennials have been adopting to dramatic technological change most of our lives, which has helped mentally prepare us to changes in our work environments.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials continue to demand innovation from banks, looking for new ways to access and utilize financial information, obtain credit, manage finances and enhance data security. This will continue to change in how day-to-day banking is conducted by businesses and consumers.”
Jen Koevary helps lead Avery Therapeutics, a biotech startup, and is also a research assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. Her expertise spans technical and business domains.
Value of youth: “Growing up in an increasingly technology-based environment where information is shared rapidly has made it easier to understand complex technology and take an active effort in innovation.”
Impact of Millennials: “There is an opportunity to find connections and solutions spanning many domains and I see immense potential for new themes and technologies that will impact social well-being.”
Innovators take leadership role at SRP
The leadership at Salt River Project says there are many young people on their team that blend positive Millennial traits, such as being tech-savvy, with the traditional traits that older generations see as assets in the workforce. Those Millennials are helping to make SRP a more successful business. Here are five of those SRP-shaping Millennials:
David Felix, manager of fuels, Age: 35
Felix oversees the procurement of fuels for SRP’s baseload generation. In his 12 years of service, Felix has held various engineering and leadership positions, including manager of Customer Program Innovation.
Value of youth: “I am a firm believer that a good work ethic and following the Golden rRule transcends all generations, from Boomers to Millennials.”
Impact of Millennials: “SRP is starting to address these trends as they are beginning to impact us now. Mobile customer engagement will be more dominant and it will be interesting to see how the ‘Uber-ization’ of society will impact our business landscape.”
Lora Hobaica, board and council relations manager in the corporate secretary’s office, Age: 30
Value of youth: “As a young Millennial, with time on my side, I had the opportunity to serve on community boards, volunteer and participate in Valley Leadership, all of which have helped me gain the diverse perspective I now instill in my daily life.”
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials bring a bright new perspective to the workforce and the community. We are not only giving, but also are open to hearing both sides of the story and keeping an open mind when coming up with solutions.”
Dan Killoren, manager of strategy, archives and contracts, Age: 31
Killoren earned a Ph.D. in history from ASU in 2011, completing his graduate work on Native American water rights settlements. He serves as president of the Heritage Square Foundation in Phoenix.
Impact of Millennials: “Millennials will continue to reshape the business landscape in Arizona through their high tolerance for transformative change. Arizona is historically a place where barriers to social and economic innovation are low by national standards, and if this continues, Millennials will be attracted to the state in increasing numbers. This will spur innovation across industries and increase the competitive position of Arizona businesses.”
Josh Schwartz, manager of learning and development, Age: 35
Value of youth: “Much of my career has been spent working to engage with Arizona students on the topic of possible careers in our industry. I have been able to leverage my youth to do just that — engage prospective talent. This has led me into several roles in the talent management arena.”
Impact of Millennials: “By 2027 we will be the thought leaders, the industry drivers and the experts. Through greater use of social mediums, community awareness, a connectedness with technology, not to mention our ceaseless proclivity for asking why? we will drive industry to look, feel and act more like us.”
Lesly Swanson, senior environmental scientist, Age: 34
Swanson stepped into her current role and transformed how her department works to support SRP personnel and the public. She coordinates internal environmental compliance efforts and works with public, state and federal agencies on environmental projects.
Value of youth: “My youth has allowed me to step into the business community with an open mind and a fresh perspective. I bring a sense of possibility and a belief that challenges can be overcome.”
Impact of Millennials: “By leveraging new tools and fresh approaches, Millennials will help drive innovative thinking, leading to a more efficient and more productive workforce.”