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  • By: Ariana Nikmanesh

A Year in Review

It’s amazing to think about just how much can happen in a year. One year ago today, my life was entirely different, I was merely a college student going through the motions of the typical college experience. I would simply attend class, chat with friends in the hallways, work my part time jobs, and go home after the day was done. I was oblivious to the vast world around me and all the opportunities it had to offer. My mind, however, was profoundly opened to these possibilities the day I met “the one and only” Mr. Bill Imada.

As a lost college student, I attended university panel events and networked with professionals in order to gain a better idea of what career path I desired to take upon graduation. At one particular marketing panel event, I met a powerful panelist, Chief Connectivity Officer of IW Group, Mr. Bill Imada. He spoke authentically about the climate and relevancy of marketing. His responses differed from the other panelists’, as he took a futuristic look into the capabilities of marketing rather than the way marketing is being used today. Imada was a resilient voice that provided a truly believable perspective, even though they weren’t the typical responses expected by the rest of the panelists. He was genuine, thoughtful, and fearless; someone I quickly came to admire. After the event, I approached Mr. Imada and thanked him for his wisdom and tenacious spirit. We then shook hands, however, in that moment I was unaware as to just what that handshake would mean in the future, for a couple weeks later, Mr. Imada invited me to become a founding member of his recent project, the National Millennial Community.

The National Millennial Community is a community of millennial thinkers who desire to change the conversation about the millennial generation. At the time that I was asked to join the community, it was small, consisting only of a handful of motivated universities who desired to shed light upon millennial issues. Today, the community has expanded from Alaska to Florida and from Massachusetts to Hawai’i. Within its first active year, the NMC has collaborated with organizations including Google, eBay, Coca-Cola, Nielsen, the Golden State Warriors, the White House, as well as various other entities. Community members have traveled across the nation to New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Atlanta and even internationally to Brussels, in order to represent the millennial generation. Whether it be through video chats, round table discussions, or even meetings at the organizations themselves, the community has created everlasting partnerships with government entities, corporations, media outlets, and others of the like in order to generate a shared understanding of who we millennials truly are.

I speak for myself and the other community members when I say that at the time of the community’s creation, no one really knew just how impactful the group was going to become. We were unaware that we would be meeting with high profile executives to generate a continuous, real dialogue about millennials. We could not have imagined that one day, we would be working with these executives to help eliminate the generational disconnect. As a diverse group of thinkers, we were unaware that our team would not only become a powerful, progressive unit but that we would also cultivate some of the best friendships any of us could have ever asked for along the way. We never knew that one day, we would become a prominent voice for our generation. While the community made a huge mark throughout the year of 2016, we were just getting started.

While the NMC has already changed the conversation regarding millennials in its first year, this is just the beginning of a lifetime of advocacy for the generation. Moving forward, the community will continue to expand, provide an authentic voice, and create everlasting partnerships to minimize the generational gap. The community will continue to challenge stereotypes about the millennial generation and will fight for what it believes in. As a community member, I now hold the platform to provide a powerful voice regarding who I, and my peers, truly are. I now hold the ability to be a voice for my generation. I now hold the opportunity to change the world. And to think, it all started one year ago with a simple handshake!

With that, I say, happy anniversary and cheers to the start of a brand new year.

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