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  • Writer's pictureRohan Nipunge

Portland Reflection

Earlier this month, I was in Portland, Ore. for a business conference with the National Millennial/GenZ Community. Though this was the organization’s 29th trip, this was my first, and the experience was invaluable. Here are my takeaways:

  1. Corporations Should Invest in NextGen Leaders

    1. Having the opportunity to have extensive discussions with organizations such as Intel Corporation, Sport Portland, The Oregonian, and Tillamook Company was great. What carried more value, however, was the eagerness of these notable companies to hear from Millennials and GenZ. Not only did I obtain valuable insight from these companies regarding their business and operations, but I was also able to openly provide my thoughts on key areas of interest and concern to NextGen leaders, like me, on topics such as business development, corporate sustainability, DEI, and more. The NextGen carries immense brilliance that is bound to revolutionize industry. It truly is in the best interest of corporations to invest in diverse young talent to ensure success in the decades ahead.

  2. Diversity Develops New Perspectives

    1. The National Millennial/GenZ Community brings together ambitious and driven individuals from across the country to engage in conversations with notable corporations, often Fortune 500 companies, and their executives. Being able to connect with these individuals, face-to-face, and not Zoom, was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Not only was it an honor to shake hands with the community, but to hear their backgrounds, their upbringings, and their perspective on 21st century business. Interacting with those 10+ years older than me, representing ethnicities from around the world, was a critical experience that I hoped I’d have. I’m happy to say that my expectations were exceeded. Listening in on the community’s thoughts on a variety of key topics encouraged me to challenge my thinking and cultivate an appreciation to unique perspectives.

  3. “Smart People” Aren’t Always at Elite Universities

    1. The National Millennial/GenZ Community is not a national organization of students from Harvard and Stanford. The community is comprised of hundreds of students (closer to thousands, considering alumni) from lesser-known institutions across the United States. Experiencing the high caliber of intellect from the community only dismantled the stereotype that top talent stems from elite colleges and universities, only. Top employers should re-consider their student outreach structure, integrating lesser-known universities into their recruitment portfolio. Being able to experience top quality talent from students attending schools that are often unheard of is a remarkable experience.

It is an honor and privilege to continue my involvement with the National Millennial & GenZ Community while representing the University of Colorado at Denver. Though the Portland conference was live and in-person, the community meets often with key leaders via Zoom. Regardless of the source, the knowledge and insight gained is impressive. Without the leadership of Mr. Bill Imada, who I consider a mentor to me, none of these opportunities would be made possible. I passionately look forward towards the journey ahead as I continue to expose myself to unparalleled learning opportunities with the NMC.


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