Tag Archives: millennials


Ducey becomes the governor for Millennials

Arizona is a great place for millennials. It’s the perfect example of an ideal state for our generation to live, work, and play. We are the generation of start-ups, entrepreneurs and Internet campaigns, with a burning desire to express our innovative ideas. And in November 2014, we solidified Arizona as the ideal breeding ground for these ideas when we elected a governor who has proven to us that he wants millennials to have every opportunity to succeed.

Generation Y is all about speed. We like to see change, and we like to see change happen quickly. After one of the shortest legislative sessions in Arizona’s history, our governor made it clear that he likes to see change happen quickly, too. In just 81 days, millennials saw a number of new bills pass that will keep us pursuing innovation for years to come.

Let’s begin with a topic that my generation is particularly passionate about: craft beer. Arizona is proud to call itself home to dozens of craft breweries that are equally popular among tourists and locals. With so many breweries within close proximity to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, students in the 21+ age range have become quite fond of Arizona’s homegrown beers. When many beloved breweries were threatened with having to close their restaurants due to a statewide production limit, our generation immediately took to social media to express our concern. Thanks to our well-connected and social media savvy governor, our voices were heard. This session, the governor signed Senate Bill 1030 which allows our favorite microbreweries to continue to grow and thrive. Thanks to him, we can continue to boast about our state as home to some of America’s best breweries.

We’ve already established that millennials enjoy craft beer. But another thing we care about is our ability to get to and from a brewery safely and affordably. That’s why you’ll notice almost every single Generation Y smartphone user has a Lyft or Uber application on their phone. We’re crazy about ridesharing. It’s easy, safe, and affordable. Near a college campus, it’s practically a travesty not to take advantage of ridesharing and its advantages. That’s why we thank you, Gov. Ducey, for making Arizona a place where start-ups like Uber and Lyft can be given a chance to succeed, while making sure those of us who use their services are well protected and insured. In a national debate over the regulation of ridesharing, our governor has put Arizona ahead of the curve.

Like ridesharing, our generation loves coming up with new solutions to old problems. We love to be our own entrepreneurs and find innovative ways to make and raise money. That’s why many millennials have embraced online money-raising platforms, like Kickstarter, to help fund our ideas. This is another example of how our governor has protected our interests by helping us cultivate our spirit of innovation. By signing House Bill 2591, he has allowed small businesses and entrepreneurs in Arizona to raise capital from investors and offer equity to them through crowdfunding, making it clear the governor wants to see entrepreneurship thrive in this state.

The governor’s belief in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology extends to the medical field as well. He signed into law H.B. 2645, which allows anyone to get laboratory medical testing without a physician’s orders. This means companies like Theranos, which is helmed by 31-year-old self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, can thrive in Arizona. The Theranos technology allows for a battery of tests with just a tiny drop of blood,  empowering patients with knowledge and driving down health care costs. 

On a similar note, Gov. Ducey has also protected us from being pushed into higher tax brackets should we ever receive a raise. Our generation appreciates follow-through on promises, and we certainly need to thank the governor for following through on this promise made during his State of the State address. When he said he would protect taxpayers from being pushed into higher tax brackets, he meant it. By signing House Bill 2001, the governor made it clear yet again that he wants Arizona to be a place where businesses can thrive and taxpayers won’t be punished for making more money. We like the sound of that.

If you’ve ever had the fortunate opportunity to meet Gov. Ducey, you’ll instantly be reminded that his respect for young people is genuine. In the private sector as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, his company gave many teenagers their first job, so he understands who’s entering today’s workforce. He’s also a dad. Gov. Ducey has three children, and it’s clear when talking to him that he wants to make Arizona a place where his children and all other children can thrive.

As a millennial, I want to thank Gov. Ducey on behalf of my generation for protecting our interests. I look forward to seeing our state continue to grow under the leadership of a governor who embraces our entrepreneurial spirit and does everything he can to protect it.


Melanie Lehnhardt is the assistant to the president and CEO at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She’ll be graduating from Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business later this month.

technical education career training looking at petri dish

How to build the next generation of innovators

The average Millennial sends 67 text messages per day – one every 15 minutes of their waking lives. The next generation is inherently tech savvy because they have spent their whole lives around tech. It is easy to imagine that our future will be an unprecedented avalanche of innovation as these digital natives grow into their roles developing tomorrow’s technology.

But there is a difference between understanding technology and being an innovator of it. While the number of text messages sent by teenagers continues to climb, America’s educational readiness has been falling. In 2013 only 36 percent of high school graduates were prepared for college-level science classes.

Education in science, mathematics, and technology disciplines remains crucial. It is impossible to be a technology innovator without the strong fundamentals of a STEM education. Tomorrow’s biotech leaders need access to strong biology, mathematics and engineering curriculums today. Tomorrow’s software wizards are enrolled in computer science classes right now.

As important as those fundamentals are, we must remember that innovation tends to occur at the fringes between disciplines. Driverless cars occur at the intersection of automotive and computing engineering. Augmented reality innovators require an understanding of human psychology in addition to expertise in engineering and computer science. It is not enough to simply educate our youth in STEM disciplines. We must encourage their spirit of innovation by inviting them to explore the powerful results of intertwining specializations.

It can be difficult to foster interdisciplinary interconnectedness in the classroom. Because innovation occurs on new frontiers, tomorrow’s developments will occur at crossroads we haven’t yet imagined. How can we ask educators to write a curriculum to cover a convergence still undreamed of?

We need to encourage today’s youth to participate in experiential learning activities held outside the classroom. By providing them with hands-on educational projects, activities, and seminars, we can organically introduce young people to the power of lateral thinking and cross-curricular synergy. While we cannot predict what skillsets will overlap to produce tomorrow’s epicenter of innovation, we can make sure the next generation is practiced at looking for it.

The Arizona SciTech Festival is a great example of a program that gets this right. The festival features events from an impressive variety of fields, from coding to manufacturing polymers to directing videos. By enabling young people to engage in a wide swath of activities, we can help inspire tomorrow’s visionaries who will make the quantum-leap discoveries that occur at the interface between different disciplines.

But as proud as I am of the SciTech Festival as a Foundational Partner, it’s just a start. Businesses, academic institutions and technology innovators need to keep coming together to advance STEM education. We must invite today’s youth to participate in programs that encourage interdisciplinary overlap and engage multiple skill sets simultaneously. Leaders of all stripes can collaborate to encourage young people to practice making new connections. We know great things happen when you get bioscience and business together, and when materials manufacturers and industrial designers inspire one another. We need to get that message out to young people.

Outreach to youth can have a significant impact. Young people consider environmental responsibility to be of paramount importance. My own children would react with horror to the idea of dumping chemical runoff into a river, yet that practice was routine only two generations ago. The environmental movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s had a big impact on teachers, who brought conservation messaging into their classrooms. We can see the results: Contentiousness about sustainability isn’t just widespread but viscerally important to today’s youth.

Imagine the impact we can have on the technology leaders of tomorrow if we invite teachers to support STEM education with the same enthusiasm with which they support environmental awareness. Imagine those teaching efforts being backed up by business and technology leaders coming together to create extracurricular spaces where young people could employ the toolsets from many disciplines at once. Tomorrow’s leaders will be blazing trails along frontiers we haven’t even imagined. Let’s get them excited about exploring.

Steve Zylstra.photo_.1Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.


Law firms prepare Millennials for the business of law

Law firms are changing. The future of the profession is in flux as newer generations and Millennials move into the workplace.

In order to stay relevant in this dynamic atmosphere, firms need to teach incoming associates and new partners the business of running a law firm, foster loyalty, offer flexibility and connect to Millennials.

When thinking about law, business operations do not necessarily come to mind. However, business skills are vital for running a law firm. Being a lawyer is an entrepreneurial endeavor, said Lauren Rikleen, president of Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and author of “You Raised Us – Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams.”

Today, being an entrepreneur is part and parcel with being a successful lawyer. An ideal law firm focuses on talent management, training, growth and development, transparency in the workplace and motivation for employees, Rikleen said. Firms must invoke a sense of camaraderie among associates and partners.

In January, Fennemore Craig launched its Director’s School for all newly promoted partners. It is a year-long program that focuses on business skills, teaching law firm management and connecting Millennials to more senior team members.

“You have to look at a law firm functioning like a business as opposed to coming to work and practicing law as an attorney,” said A. Joseph Chandler, a shareholder and attorney at Fennemore Craig in Phoenix. Chandler is one of four key directors in charge of the program.
One of the goals is to make training effective and meaningful for young partners, and to integrate newly promoted partners as owners and operators of the firm, Chandler said.
The program also aims to help new partners build a mentor and mentee relationship. “We are reaching down and across,” Chandler said. “The senior partners are building relationships with Millennials.”

The law practice would benefit by making sure that each partner has the ability to understand, think and work like a business owner, Chandler said. “It is looking at the long-term success of the firm by making sure that we have long range goals for the success and development of our partners.”

You have to approach operating a law firm as you would any business, said Alison Christian, co-founder of the Ladder Down Program and shareholder at Christian, Dichter and Sluga. “It’s critical to understand the business operation of a law firm, no matter what your level is within that firm.”

Christian’s Ladder Down helps accomplish that goal. The year-long program presents monthly sessions dedicated to the three big areas of concern in the legal profession: leadership, business development, and rainmaking

New partners should not be the only ones learning business skills, experts said. It is important for associates to understand the practice and know how to think like a future owner.

“Law schools should be developing courses to help law students become more practice ready,” said Rikleen. And that encompasses the business side of practicing law.

Law schools are still teaching “Black Letter Law,” said Laurie Hodgson, director for professional development at Arizona Summit Law School. “We are always changing, always evolving, yet we haven’t changed the way law schools operate since the 1860s.”

In the spring of 2013, Arizona Summit Law School started an annual “Business of Law” seminar for attorneys who want to start their own firm or be successful within a firm.

Law schools need to shift their curriculum in order to keep up with the evolving profession, which is transforming as Millennials and technology take the forefront.

Understanding the business of law is part of a larger goal – the long-term success of the law profession.

There is a generational gap between seasoned and incoming attorneys. Millennials who enter the workplace want to have meaning and purpose, said Elizabeth Fitch, co-founder of the Ladder Down program and founding member of Righi Law Group.

Law firms today need to have a vision, Fitch said. New lawyers are “not given the big picture, they’re not shown the story. They’re not connecting what their daily grind is to the overall success and vision for the law firm.”

According to Fitch, Millennials need to have a positive relationship with the directors of a firm. They will stay at the company if they connect to their team and share common values.
It is important to have lawyers who care about the firm and its future, said Leah Freed, managing shareholder at Ogletree Deakins’ Phoenix office. In order to maintain a strong law firm, you must have strong lawyers who care enough to spend time and develop new associates.

With guidance and training, a firm will be able to integrate the newer generations into the company’s culture, Rikleen said. All partners need to embrace their new role as leaders and visionaries.

“Lawyers by nature are more resistant to change,” said Freed. Which means law firms are slower at progressing and adopting new technologies.

However, through the use of technology, law firms are striving to be more efficient and reduce overhead, Freed said.

Technology allows attorneys to connect to their clients and keep in touch throughout the day, which in turn provides flexibility within a firm.

Being able to integrate work and life is vital for newer generations. They want to have an active career while being present and involved with their family, Rikleen said. Which means flexibility is key.

In the future, Freed said she thinks there will be more opportunities for lawyers to contract or do part-time work, providing flexibility to the lawyers and the firm.

Today, males and females share in family responsibilities, so work-life balance is necessary for both.

Ten years ago, women were grappling with that balance, learning how to draw boundaries and prioritize, said Marianne Trost, The Women Lawyer Coach. However, it is no longer a gender issue, but a generational issue.

Millennials are not going to tolerate the current structure, Fitch said. Their values are going to start putting “pressure on law firm systems and it’s going to force a positive change.”

Retaining Millennials is key to ensuring the future of the law profession. Law firms are beginning to recognize that generational differences are present. However, the profession as a whole is far from addressing these new challenges, Rikleen said.

The law profession is undergoing constant change as technology is utilized and newer generations enter the firms and move up the ranks.

“What we see today is going to be a shadow of what’s to come,” Hodgson said. Though the jury is still out on what that means for the future of the law profession.

Content Marketing

4 Emerging Trends in Social Media Marketing

When Beyoncé released her self-titled album late last year, she didn’t go through any of the traditional promotional means, which she called boring. Instead, she simply posted a video featuring the new album cover and pictures of her with the caption “Surprise!” on Instagram.

That was enough for Beyoncé, one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Within the two days of that post, more than 430,000 “Beyoncé” albums were sold on iTunes for
$15.99 per download.

Of course, the wildly popular album would have been a hot product no matter how Beyoncé chose to promote it, but the story is yet another testament to the power of social media, says marketing entrepreneur Robert Danard, CEO of Spriza, Inc., www.spriza.com, a global social network for group prizes from major brands.

“It’s no secret that the 18- to 34-year-old demographic is the most coveted one – they are the future of any product, and if you want to reach them, then you have to have a social media strategy,” says Danard, who started his career a decade ago by founding an early social media site.

“Beyoncé saved her record company plenty of money in traditional promotions, which would have been all but useless since her target audience is on social media.”

Danard discusses social media marketing and the trends that are currently unfolding.

• The “attention economy:” This refers to the demand for companies to focus on multiple social media sites, and the underlying human need to be validated through acknowledgement. How do young adults define their worth? Increasingly, it’s through the numbers of “likes,” “re-tweets” and “follows” they get on social media. Companies that acknowledge and engage with individual users in real time help validate their self worth and quickly turn them into brand fans.

• Creating winning circles of friends: Brands increasingly are recognizing the power of social media recommendations from friends. This referral process can be harnessed by offering real value, and incentives, to those who make recommendations. Danard points to his own site, Spriza (as in “surprise”), which encourages sharing by offering a memorable experience to the winner and the friends with whom he or she shared. For instance, a grand prize currently up for grabs will award 10 winners $1,000 cash each. All entrants will also have a chance to participate in the contingent (game of chance) draw to win a condo valued at $150,000.

• The future of customer service: Millennials trust the social media format, despite its potential for fraud and misrepresentation, more than government, businesses or religious institutions, according to a recent report by the global public relations firm Edelman. Many companies, including American Airlines, are focusing more of their customer service resources to answer complaints via social media. This can speed complaint resolution, and it makes businesses and their customer service departments more accountable because users can see when, if and how complaints are resolved.

• Socially enriched sales: People like to be engaged online, and they like to buy things, but they don’t like to be sold products in the traditional way. Companies currently experiencing the most success online are not lazy about it; they don’t buy fake friends and followers. They engage, entertain, nurture relationships and build on shared values with their outreach.

Increase Cash Flow, Reduct Debt

Millennials: Burdened by Debt Today

In a new Wells Fargo study on the attitudes and behaviors of millennials on money and saving,  more than half  (54%) say their top financial concern is debt. That’s right, primarily student loan debt. And 42% say their debt is “overwhelming” — twice the rate of boomers who were also surveyed.

Other key findings:
· Sixty-one percent of millennials consider themselves “a saver”.  The gender differences are big with 66% of millennial men calling themselves a ”saver” versus 56% of women
· About half (49%) of millennials have begun saving for retirement and the gender differences persist with 54% of men saving and far fewer — 43% — women millennials saving
· Millennials (43%) rate the value of their education as “a great value” and 45% say “somewhat of a value.”

Although millennials are burdened by debt, they are very optimistic about their future with 67% of millennials saying they believe they will be better off than their parents. Seventy (70%) are very to somewhat confident that they will be able to save enough to afford the lifestyle that they hope to have in retirement.