When I stepped off the plane and into the concourse, I had no idea what to expect. At that point, my experience with Los Angeles had been limited to sitting in LAX a few hours for layovers; I had plenty of experience at airports, it was when I stepped out into the morning air that I was really flying blind.
It began a few months prior, when my professor recommended me to look into a group called the National Millennial Community. I had little knowledge of what exactly this group was, but from what I could gather they were some sort of think-tank.
It aims to start conversations between college-aged millennials and established professionals in the business world, dispelling stereotypes about millennials and fostering positive relations between the generations. It was started in 2016 and had quickly spread to 46 campuses across 44 states, and Winthrop had become a partner just a few months prior.
As the first in my school to join, I was essentially Winthrop’s test run for the program. These three days in LA would be my chance to represent the school as an ambassador. From Feb. 3 through 6, I would prove whether or not this group would be beneficial to Winthrop, and if it was really worth my time.
Over those days, I met with all sorts of students from across the nation, and even a couple from Canada and the Netherlands, as we hopped a bus from business to business in Los Angeles county. I had little idea of what to expect: engaging in online conversations was one thing, traveling to business to business presenting my ideas and conferring with marketing and advertising executives was another.
The talks would vary in length and topic over the next few days; sometimes we would travel around the offices of a business, asking questions along the way, and other times we would be sat down in front of an entire room and answer questions posed to us by the staff, not too unlike panelists.
As the days went on, I began to open up more towards the group; we traded stories on the bus rides between businesses, sharing hopes and ambitions and having conversations in a way that felt more like making friends than networking.
We balanced our time visiting staples of the entertainment industry like Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Imagineering with some lesser-known choices like Riot Games, the game studio responsible for League of Legends and a major player in esports, and The Wonderful Company, parent company for products like Fiji Water and Wonderful Pistachios.
The conversations we had, though often about the marketing and advertising of the companies themselves, always came back to the concept of millennials and their role in the marketplace.
We began to discuss and dissect the topic in regular discussion, looking at the stereotypes surrounding millennials and the positives and negatives of the situation our generation has found itself in. As the conversations we had with businesses began spilling over into those on the bus, we truly began learning.
When I left Los Angeles, it was with a newfound feeling of kinship between my generation and I, and as we said our goodbyes to one another, we took valuable experiences home with us.
I see the NMC as spokespeople of my generation, and a bridge between millennials and past generations. In a time where millennials are coming into the workforce and starting to rise up the corporate ladder to take management roles, the work they do in starting conversations, between peers and businesses alike, is invaluable.