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  • Writer's pictureMakeba Grant, Lehman School of Business

No Idea is a Bad Idea

I went to Cleveland, Ohio, for our April National Millennial and Gen Z Community field trip. I met several amazing top-level executives in the communication field. However, the most insightful part of this trip was our meeting with Dix & Eaton, a public relations and marketing agency.

I am a business major with a concentration in international business and marketing because of the free creativity that goes into product making. At Dix & Eaton, we got to do that. We met Mr. Chas Withers, Chairman and CEO at Dix & Eaton, and Ms. Lisa Zone, Senior Managing Director at Dix & Eaton; they have been with the agency for 20+ years.

Mr. Withers told us about the company policy that embraces a positive work environment. I agree with their no-negative-employee policy because one negative employee can ruin the day for other staff, and that can decrease work performance and morale. He also said they have an approach where you give someone constructive criticism but not in a negative way; you have to say it in a way that not only improves the company but also improves your co-workers. That was a fantastic policy because every day is a new learning experience, and you must learn to take criticism to improve yourself and grow. I got this feeling from Dix & Eaton. While touring the agency, I found the layout of their offices to be beautiful, and the agency’s colors did not dull the area. The color choice brought a positive vibe to me; I felt bright and light the whole time.

After Mr. Withers told us about workplace ethics, Ms. Zone took over the conversation, and I finally got a glimpse of what I would love to do. She introduced us to a brainstorming exercise and said there is no right or wrong answer in this exercise.

First, we had to pick a topic, and the topic that won was how to attract or engage Millennials and Gen Zers. Since we had our topic/product, we had to brainstorm how to engage our peers. We used three brainstorming methods. The first was the alphabet method; for this method, you start from A and give a word that starts with A, which can help engage your peers. My letter was N, and I picked "negotiation" because our peers are very opinionated, and you usually have to negotiate to get what you want from us.

The second process was 100 thoughts per second. For this method, Ms. Zone gave us 90 seconds to write out as much as possible on separate sticky notes. After we wrote out our thoughts, we placed our sticky notes on the wall and shared them with everyone. I focused on reaching our peers through mental health videos, blogs, and live social media videos. Once I completed that step, we moved to another method, from good to better. In this part of the exercise, we revisited our choices, picked the one we were not the most pleased with, and handed it to our peers to the right of us. My peer was Blair from the University of Southern Mississippi, and the choice he gave me was transparency; immediately, I thought about the game Truth or Dare to be more transparent and engage Millennials and Gen Zers. If you pick truth, you’re honest; if you pick dare, you have something to hide, and the NMGZ, we love interactive games and challenges.

Based on brainstorming, we learned how to engage with our peers through a transparency game; this is what I want to do, and to see it in action was just insightful and one of Dix & Eaton’s promises to their clients. They uncover insights to provide foresight. Ms. Zone gave me an even more adept understanding of brainstorming, and now I have the foresight to lead my brainstorming meeting to develop Ad ideas and marketing.

I left this trip more inspired and confident than when I entered it. I am very grateful for this experience. Meeting new people and breaking out of my shell are things I never thought I would do.


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