Millennial leadership panel kicks off Wilmington's Young Professionals Week
Young Professionals Week in Wilmington kicked off with a panel discussion about millennial leadership Monday.
The discussion hosted by Accelerate Delaware focused in part on the differences between baby boomers and the millennial generation.
Robert Herrera is co-founder of the Mill – a co-working space for entrepreneurs and freelancers in downtown Wilmington. He says unlike the baby boomer generation, the young people today - himself included - are more transient and less willing to spend an entire career climbing the leadership ladder at one company.
“I came from one of the largest firms in Manhattan, my career was moving forward at a clip that’s a-typical to the young architect, and I couldn’t stand it, I had to get out of it," Herrera said. "And it’s hard to explain that to my parents even now. I caught my mom telling somebody nothing about the Mill and she was telling them I’m an architect in Manhattan.”
Denita Thomas with the Delaware Small Business Development Center says that’s when her organization can help: defining a different path to leadership and success.
“You may have a dream, and your parents may say – well that doesn’t make sense," Thomas said. "I don’t see where you’re going with this. We’re there to kind of help you put something on paper.”
One area panelists see millennials leading the way is transportation.
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer says the city and county need to start planning for a future that’s less reliant on traditional cars. Meyer wants to build on the state’s bike-friendly reputation sparked by former Gov. Jack Markell to keep and attract more millennials to the area.
“What if you could very easily and safely be on 202 in 7 or 8 minutes using your bicycle? What if there were safe commuter routes coming into the city from the west, from the south, from the north?”
Additionally – Meyer says more money at the state and local level should be spent on growing the startup community.
Meyer says Delaware is currently competing with other states – and spending taxpayer dollars – to attract large private companies to the area. He thinks the state focuses too much on these large companies and should shift some of that focus to startups.
Monday’s panel discussion was the first of several events centered on young professionals taking place throughout the week in Wilmington. An all-day Millennial Summit is also scheduled for August 1st at Wilmington’s Chase Center.