I had the high honor and privilege to be one of the seven NMC members given the opportunity to attend the Worldcom PR Annual Conference in Vienna, Austria earlier this month. Going into this trip, I had a lot of expectations and looked forward to an exciting adventure. Most of my expectations revolved around what I hoped to personally gain from the experience. Whether it was the industry knowledge I would attain, the new LinkedIn connections I would acquire, or even just the photos of beautiful scenery I would be able to show off to my friends back home -- I knew this trip would be worth loads to me. But, as I sit here, a 10-hour plane ride and a couple weeks of time between myself and beautiful Vienna, I reflect on so much more than I ever expected from this experience.
If I have learned anything from being a part of the National Millennial Community, it is to always say “yes.” When faced with the opportunity of this trip, I hardly thought about it before excitedly expressing my interest in attending. Being someone who has yet to graduate college and isn’t entirely sure where to begin my career, I am in no place to turn down networking opportunities. Especially networking opportunities in Europe. And, especially those with a plethora of high-level executives representing agencies from all over the world. So, to say that I was very much looking forward to the possibilities of what could come from this trip, would be an understatement.
The conference was indeed amazing, and definitely lived up to the expectations I had set. We had the opportunity to sit in on presentations that explored case studies on various topics lead by different professionals. They explained things they had learned from projects they worked on throughout the past year and different challenges they had overcome. We also had plenty of opportunities to chat with them, and ask them any questions we had. Along with this, they asked us questions and took the time to get to know us. It was awesome to take a peek into their typical work and get a look at problems they deal with. Sitting through these presentations and hearing first-hand about their day-to-day life was very helpful and inspiring to me, because I felt like I was able to place myself in their shoes and learn what it would look like to work in this industry. This experience was invaluable.
As with every NMC trip I have taken part in, these career-impacting experiences are incredibly beneficial. However, the main thing I walk away with from this trip, as I do every other one, is the impact that my fellow Millennials and Gen Z-ers have had on me. This community is worth so much more than new LinkedIn connections or potential job opportunities. Yes, those things are vastly important, and yes, those can very well be byproducts of being a part of NMC. But please hear me when I say, that is not the most valuable aspect of this privilege that we have. I flew across the world to a continent I have never been on with a group of people consisting of some I have met once or twice, some whose names I have maybe seen online before, and some who were absolute, complete strangers. I left with a group of friends who I will forever have in my corner, friends that will answer when I call and need encouragement, friends that will give me advice when I am trying to decide my next career move, and friends that will give me a couch to sleep on when I stumble across their corner of the country.
If you hear anything I have said over the last few minutes (or technically, read anything I have written) please, take my advice and take advantage of what this community, or any community you are lucky enough to be placed in, can be for you. You will learn something from everyone you meet, and you will teach something to them as well. No matter where you go in life, you will be surrounded by people. You don’t have to travel to other countries, or work for large companies. Wherever you are and whoever you are with, make the most of it. Get to know those around you, I promise it will be worth it!