Gabriela Batres Salinas
My Portland Experience, as a New Member
This past summer, I received an opportunity to join an organization called the National Millennial and Gen Z Community (NMGZ). My involvement in the organization started when one of my public relations professors at CSUN sent an email about attending a four-day conference in Portland, Oregon. My professor did not mention that the trip was tied to an organization and instead positioned it as a great one-time opportunity to participate in. I did not think of it much and I saw it as an excuse to travel to a new place that I have never been to before, and Portland did not disappoint.
For context, the National Millennial and Gen Z Community takes field trips every few months to different cities around the country, meeting and engaging with business leaders and senior leadership across different industries. In these meetings, conversations are centered around challenging the stigmas and stereotypes placed on Millennials and Gen Z’ers in their working environments.
During the span of my four-day trip in Portland, I had the privilege of meeting students from across the country, from Hawaii to Boston. Each emerging professional and recent graduate in the community was unique and inspiring in their own way. Through their perspectives, I saw their passion and desire to change in the world through their chosen careers and their advocacy towards advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their chosen industries.
My largest takeaway from this trip was that it’s important to encourage diversity and foster inclusion in any room, regardless of what industry you’re in! From a business perspective, diversity and inclusion is essential for companies trying to reach out to new consumers and grow as an organization. Companies are realizing that having a diverse workforce is an advantage and are seeking ways to find, hire and retain professionals of color. Taking it one step further, the company's culture influences whether a diverse set of professionals can work together and feel like their perspectives are heard and taken seriously. It’s up to corporations to create space for this growth and provide lasting and tangible commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This trip to Portland opened my eyes and helped me see that there are a lot of emerging professionals in the National Millennial and Gen Z Community who have the passion and drive to make an impact in this world.
I am confident that my peers who were a part of this Portland conference are well equipped to be great professionals. They give me great hope for a better tomorrow as I graduate and join the workforce!