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  • Shelbey Prusia

Urban City Knocks Down “Small-Town Values”

During the month of January, I was lucky enough to attend the National Millennial Community trip to Los Angeles. Coming from a rural Wyoming town where the cattle outnumber the people, I knew the LA culture and my culture were going to be a lot different. I suspected it would be a lot more fast paced, intimidating, and out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t only nervous to meet big name executives, but the members of NMC as well. I have been around the same type of people my whole life and branching out isn’t an option in Wyoming. I was expecting to bring small-town values to the group, but that was not the case.

“Small-town values” is a phrase thrown around more than a baseball. Aside from the stereotypical love for country music, big trucks, rodeo, and an overwhelming involvement with agriculture, small-town values go deeper. In various articles and from what I have heard around here my whole life, small-town values normally include: general respect, friendliness, simplicity, hardworking, and all the terms in between. The area I grew up in and reside in takes a definite pride in their small-town values, but the people in Los Angeles and the members of NMC exhibited more small-town values than I had ever been exposed to.


Within thirty minutes of the trip, I was sitting across from Mr. Gordon Ho, the Princess Cruises Head of Marketing, at the first dinner. Keep in mind this is my first NMC trip and the only prior knowledge I had on how to talk to someone in such a high position was through the few video conferences we’ve done for NMC. To say the least, my nerves were at an all-time high, but they were soon lowered to normal when Mr. Ho sat down. He was one of the most easy-going people I had ever met.

Rather than speaking of himself, he gave us useful advice, asked questions, and was genuinely interested in what the group had to offer. There were numerous laughs and a few tangents during dinner. This was not how I pictured a conversation with a VP of Princess Cruises. Around where I’m from, if you stick “President” or “Vice President” in front of a name, noses sky rocket to the air. It is not particularly fun or easy to talk to someone in a higher position where I’m from. Mr. Ho was just one of the many humble people I met on this trip. I could name countless other executives, members, and go on for days about the humility Mr. Bill Imada displays.


Almost every person I met was very inquisitive and pleasant. The people on this trip were so different in the best way possible. I’m used to meeting new people and keeping small talk conversation going. It’s polite to ask basic questions about the other person when you first meet them to keep the conversation going, but the people, especially the members, genuinely wanted to know about you and your opinion on various topics.

Unless you’re on a date, very few around here want to take the time to sit down and get to know each other. Maybe that stems from the fact that everyone knows everything about everyone, but people my age around here typically don’t sit around and talk about different issues/topics. On the shuttle, during meals, and any time the group had free time, there were conversations amongst everybody. There wasn’t a quiet moment on this trip.

Efficiency & Work Ethic

I used to think I stay busy and have a lot of responsibilities on my plate, but I don’t compare to the members of NMC, Mr. Imada, and the executives I met. These people are working around the clock at work, school, clubs, and other functions. I could send an email to someone from around here and not expect an answer for hours or even the next day. I have sent multiple emails to Bill and others located in Los Angeles and they reply within the hour if not in ten minutes.

Some of the members of NMC hold jobs/internships while going to school full-time, are extremely involved in campus clubs and activities, and are doing some pretty amazing things with their lives outside of National Millennial Community. Their work ethic inspired me so much and made me so excited for my future. I’ve honestly never met such a hard-working group of people. I didn’t suspect otherwise, but it truly blew me away to see all the accomplishments these people have achieved and are striving to achieve.

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