Category Archives: Meet a Leader

From the Paper Chase to Solving Problems, Simply

Financial freedom is the driving motivation for many millennials. That goal often drives many to choose majors and career paths based solely on earning potential, rather than any other factor. But, what happens when you go down that path and discover that you would prefer to solve problems for other people instead?

Jared Gold, Chief Simplicity Officer at Brevity
Jared Gold, Chief Simplicity Officer at Brevity

Meet Jared Gold, the super connected Chief Simplicity Officer that founded Brevity,  a digital media marketing company providing tailored services to small businesses. But, if you had met Jared when he was a George Mason freshman, owning a business wouldn’t have been on his radar. Knowing he wanted to do well financially, he tried out a variety of majors that could get him there. From finance, to exercise science, then ultimately decided to major in Operations Management and I.T. systems. Attracted to the big picture thinking, and the scarcity of math, Jared was felt like he finally made it. Lucky enough to nab a good paying software company job, Jared was ready to start building his adult life. But, within the first couple of months, Jared realized that he hated that environment. Looking for a way out of the 9 to 5 grind, he read the 4 Hour Workweek and  it literally changed his perspective on everything.

Buy the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1aeib7V
Buy the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1aeib7V

Jared realized he didn’t want to spend his days waiting for 5 pm to roll around. Instead he started building a marketing solutions business that focuses on digital media. After a couple of months of doing a few pro bono sites by reaching out to potential clients, he landed his first paid client. That first client was Jared’s signal to commit.“I had to force myself to succeed.” So he quit his job and launched his business. Two years out and Jared knows he made the right decision.

But, what were some steps that secured his success? When Jared left his full time job, he had saved enough money to support himself during the most trying months of building his clientele list. Although maintaining the motivation to keep working towards that first client was not easy, Jared was able to focus on building his business instead of his finances.

However, his greatest success in starting his business was learning how to live without the fear of failing. Failure, for Jared, was not earning enough money to pay his bills. But, as he watches his business grow, that fear becomes non-existent. Through building Brevity, Jared has been able to learn his strengths, identify his weaknesses and become a networking machine.

As a millennial entrepreneur, Jared sees his generation in a slightly different light. Having worked hard for his current success, Jared is concerned by the attitude of many of his peers.

Many millennials live with this ‘”woe is me attitude’” and expect things to just come to them. By positioning yourself and networking to the right group, you can take control of your destiny.

This concern stems from the habit of the “work, party, rinse, repeat” life cycle that doesn’t help professional millennials take initiative or get ahead and eventually leads to unfulfilling lives. On the other hand, Jared is quick to point to leaders within the millennial generation as his source of inspiration.

My peers who are overcoming challenges and achieving their goals and are moving at a quicker rate than their predecessors. Our savvy and not being afraid to make it happen are unique to our generation. I think they are inspiring.

Jared’s drive to build a business he loves has lead him to be generous with his wisdom and resources he thinks might be helpful. Through Brevity, Jared has found his passion and himself.

How to be a Mind Reader, Like Netflix

The Problem

When planning out your career, forecasting what you’ll need in future can be daunting. While many skills may come to mind, it’s impossible to ignore the significance of data. With companies collecting information on our every move, all industries are going to need employees who can make sense of that sea of information. How does Netflix know what to recommend? Data. How do these new billboards know when to show you what image? Data. But, if you’ve avoided analytics and numbers, can you even learn how to use these big, scary, complicated tools?

The Solution

Meet Dmitri Adler, the founder of Data Society; a startup that’s helping everyone learn about data, but in an approachable way. Together with Merav Yuravlivker (Education Expert), Josh Touyz (Advisor) and a team of collaborators, they are helping professionals of all kinds begin to harness the power of “data.”

Through a custom built online platform, the team has developed a curricula that allows students access to real data from real companies to gain a real life understanding of how these tools apply. They’ve even interviewed every instructor to make sure they have the right personality, energy, and ability to break down the 0’s and 1’s for your average individual. With their first class launching this weekend, major corporate clients are already considering Data Society to fill the gap in their employees’ skill sets. By teaching these skills, Data Society hopes, as Merav has said, “That everyone becomes data literate enough to understand and use what they have.”

The Back Story

Dmitri Adler (left) Merav Yuravlivker (center) Joshuah Touyz (right)
Dmitri Adler (left), Merav Yuravlivker (center), Joshuah Touyz (right)

But how did this power team come together? Fittingly, Merav, Dmitri and Josh all met at various places in their schooling. Dmitri and Josh from elementary school, Merav and Josh from university, and Merav and Dmitri through Josh.

By maintaining their friendship over the years, the three were able to share insights from their very different fields. When Dmitri could beat his competitor’s capital gains using data science at his Wall Street job, Josh was perfecting an algorithm that could generate an almost perfect picture of someone’s life by simply using their Facebook profile. Merav was building her teaching skills in New York and obtaining her Master’s in Education from Pace University. Their vastly different backgrounds have provided the perfect needs for their online education company.

The Insight

Looking back at their journey thus far, the greatest piece of advice the team would provide is be intentional and do your research. With as many free tools, books, articles, and resources there has never been an easier (or cheaper) time to start a business. “What would have taken $10 million five to ten years ago, is now only costing $250,000,” said Dmitiri, who speaks from his experience as a JP Morgan Investment Banker. By surrounding yourself with a good team and following a specific plan, are crucial to giving your business the best chance.

The Perspective

As Merav, Dmitiri, and Josh are all millennials, they have hopes and fears for what once was termed “the Great Generation.” Systems behind education, interacting with the environment, and healthcare all need reform. With their respective experiences in these fields, Merav and Dmitri were most concerned with how our generation will be tasked with addressing these crumbling, hefty problems. In terms of hopes, they believe the millennial generation should take advantage of today’s tools to build businesses that enhance the human to human connections to make the world a slightly better place. As the great Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

 

Not convinced? Check out Data Society’s site here and use the discount code DS100. If that kind of commitment is too much, check out their DC area Meetup group Data Driven DC. How has learning about data analysis helped you?

How Being Foolish Can Pay Off

Nestled in between an antiques store and a bike shop, Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux pairs the coziness of a local cafe with tastiness of your favorite sandwich shop. A cycling themed cafe, it attracts the full range of patrons making it the ideal location to meet with the inspirational Alex Hanse. Balancing a full time job with a clothing company, Foolies, and a podcast, Dream Without Limits Radio, would lead anyone to see this young man as a magician.

Photo Credit: Carey Mays
Photo Credit: Carey Ebanks

By inspiring young people the world over, Alex Hanse has staked his claim as an influential millennial leader driven by one thing: changing the world by inspiring others to follow their dreams.

Originally from Miami, Alex developed his talents in Sports Medicine at the University of Florida. After working in a variety of roles, a co-worker during his AT&T days encouraged him to pursue his dreams of working in the arts and entertainment industry. Taking that leap of faith landed Alex at Full Sail University where he truly explored his creative skills.

Driven to promoting powerfully positive messages, Alex and a friend took the risk and invested in their clothing company Foolies. Over time, they have built a variety of shirts that inspire with messages like “Have Faith without Fear” and “Dream without Limits.” Although his shirts were gaining traction, Alex kept finding other people who were also chasing their dreams. He was so inspired, that he decided that he had to share their stories through his podcast, Dream Without Limits Radio (DWLR). Since then, Alex has been giving back to his community by sharing his story by visiting schools, through his ebook A Shot of Espresso: Motivational Thoughts to Pick You Up, and a variety of other ways.

Photo  Credit: Carey Mays
Photo Credit: Carey Ebanks

While Alex’s wisdom is overflowing, the three top  lessons he’s learned along the way. First, pursuing your dreams isn’t hard, but you have to commit. Sleeping in until 11 am, isn’t going to get you there, you’ve got to put in just an hour a day and you will be able to move your project along. Second, if you want to engage a celebrity, or other higher level person with your project, you have to bring them an idea that has a plan behind it. Busy people don’t have time to engage in something that isn’t concrete. If you want that celebrity to get involved, make it so all the person has to do is say “yes” and participate. Finally, never underestimate the power of word of mouth. If you are working on something that you are passionate about, talk about it, get the word out there. If you find out about someone who is doing something interesting, talk about it. Don’t leave all the goodies for yourself.

Photo Credit: Carey Mays
Photo Credit: Carey Ebanks

Divulging every bit of Alex’s wisdom would probably break the limits of this blog post, but if you want to learn more about Alex and subscribe to his podcast follow this link here. If you want to check out the clothing that is impacting lives, check out his site here.

Are there other lessons that you have learned in your path to following your dreams? If so, share them below in the comments or on our Facebook page.

New Transportation Option Locks into Orlando

Visit any major city in the world and you will see hundreds of people using a bike to get around. In the wake of traffic, crumbling public transit, and a push to be healthier and more active, biking has grown in popularity. According to a U.S. Census Bureau study of commuter trends, Americans who biked to work increased 60.8% from 2008 to 2012. With Orlando leaders wanting to address it’s traffic issues, the demand for transportation solutions has become a key piece in its development. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when I was at an IDEAS monthly meeting and Peter Martinez was presenting on the latest trend to hit Central Florida, Orlando Bike Share.


An Iraq war veteran, Peter found an escape from his rough Miami neighborhood in the Marine Corps. Gaining a variety of experiences from up-armoring Humvees in the daytime, and providing convoy security in Fallujah at night, Peter learned the ropes in a variety of fields. As part of his final assignment there, Peter assessed vehicles destroyed by IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and re-utilized parts that were salvageable to maintain the Marine Corps’ mission in Al Anbar Province. Coming face to face with how short life truly is, he left the Marine Corps and moved to Orlando and found work as an automotive mechanic. Concerned by the potential physical toll of being a mechanic, Peter started his college education and tested out a couple business ideas.

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1GEmI8E
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/1GEmI8E

While doing some research, he went to Washington, DC to search out the Travel Channel’s Jumbo Slice in Adams Morgan. It was then Peter noticed the hundreds of red bikes that cover our Nation’s capital through Capital Bike Share. Inspired, Peter tried to get public transit services to start the program locally in Orlando. Peter decided to team up with Tampa Bike Share’s operator, CycleHop, to develop Orlando Bike Share that launched earlier this month.

When asked about his greatest  challenge, Peter is quick to point to working with any new project: “all stakeholders must understand, that in order to move forward, the status quo, must go”. The “red tape” associated with starting a new project, has required constant perseverance. But as for great successes, obtaining sponsorships has been critical in bringing the Orlando Bike Share to fruition.

Peter’s experience has allowed him to develop a variety of perspectives, and notes that the Millennial Generation has inherently adopted the Marine Corps attitude of  “Semper Gumby”: always flexible. This attitude is especially fitting in Orlando today, where almost every empty parcel is ripe for development.  Peter adds that “We must make sure that we don’t go back to our past habits of creating places that are homogenized, single-use, and designed with the car in mind. Instead, lets focus on creating neighborhoods where we feel comfortable walking to the market into our 90s, where we can age in place.” Peter’s insight echo’s the new direction of urban redevelopment of walkable, concentrated cities.

“Orlando has many cool and funky ‘third places’ such as coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, but the streets of these third places are not enticing for walkers or bikes” says Peter. In a city that relies on the car, people rarely get a chance to see how their favorite spot fits in with the surrounding community, almost developing a patchwork view of their city instead of being able to see the big picture. How can you change that perspective?  Peter believes, “get out there, on a bike. If you don’t have one, rent one and start to see people, eye to eye.”

Taking on Student Homelessness: Lauren Cantrell

A couple minutes drive from one of the largest universities in the country, and you arrive to what many deem a standard Florida strip mall. But, a look beyond the colorful walls and plentiful parking, will take you to a unique craft coffee shop known, as Vespr. Once you enter, academics aspiring and established alike,  claim their tables in this modern oasis. Sitting at the windowed bar, Lauren Cantrell, a Jacksonville native, was waiting for me. A mutual friend had identified her as the local millennial who was working to improve the student homelessness issue. Simultaneously working as an AmeriCorps Vista and obtaining her Master’s in Public Administration and Non Profit Management, Lauren has been developing her expertise in poverty alleviation.

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Lauren Cantrell on Graduation Day Photo Credit: Lauren Cantrell

But, what does student homelessness even look like? While the stereotype dictates an image of living on the street and attending classes, homeless students are typically those who are couch surfing, living out of their cars, or have some other sort of temporary unreliable housing. Usually students become homeless in the wake of something like a car accident or medical emergency for students who survive off of loans and other college assistance that don’t have incidentals built in. Often, these students don’t build a cash cushion into their budget reducing their resilience to life’s obstacles. Usually, all these students need is access to a couple hundred dollars to make rent or pay for food.

UCF provides students in need with access to a food pantry through the Knights helping Knights fund, and there were over 11,000 visits to the Knights Helping Knights pantry during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Dealing with this population is tricky, due mostly to a variety of stigmas. First, understanding what student homelessness is and knowing how to get assistance. Second, the belief that if students can get to college, then they will be fully capable to stay there. Third, as a  student the need to fit in can often delay asking for assistance. Although a nationwide problem, research on the topic has been minimal creating a challenge to identify the needs of this population. However, social media has provided the platform to share these stories and bring awareness of the issue.

While most professionals working with homelessness point to specific successes, Lauren’s most successful moment took place when she was fundraising for the Covenant House, a non profit that provides “shelter and services for youth or at-risk youth.” While tabling outside of Burger 21 in the UCF area, a gentleman approached Lauren and explained that he had received his GED from Covenant House many years ago. What struck Lauren most was how this man was a living testament that people can make their way out of homelessness, they just need a little help. “When you are working behind the scenes, you don’t really get a chance to see the direct impact you are having. So when you get the chance to talk to someone who is directly benefiting from the services you are providing, it is really rewarding.”
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Photo Credit: Lauren Cantrell (Center)
If you are interested in learning more about this issue or find resources check out this article from CNN Money. Lauren and I discussed the need for financial literacy courses in colleges and universities across the country. What other ways could help address this issue?

“Get Local” Your Newest Travel Buddy in Central Florida

Photo Credit: Get Local
Photo Credit: Get Local

Nothing compares to visiting a new place like a local. The killer food, the friendly conversation, and the opportunity to peek into the lives of others is something that tourists the world over are demanding. Living in an area dominated by Disney, Universal, and the others, to a one time visitor might seem that’s all there is to Central Florida. But like with any tourist destination, there is a local population that loves to live beyond the football field parking lots and nightly firework shows. But jumping into a city to get the local experience can be overwhelming and most definitely terrifying. Trey Dyer and Mike Black have solved that issue by starting Get Local.

High school friends and Central Florida natives, Trey and Mike grew up fishing, wakeboarding, surfing and taking advantage of the thousands of outdoor activities the region has to offer. After dating a pair of cousins, the two grew to become very close friends. When Mike (a University of Florida alum) decided to fulfill his dream of backpacking across Asia by leaving his accounting gig, Trey (an American University alum) was supportive and joined him in Vietnam. In Vietnam, the Florida boys went beyond the tourist stops on the map and traveled with a local guide named Ju Hai. They were so moved by this experience that immediately they started to think about how they could replicate this experience and become the Sherpas of Central Florida.

Since Mike’s return in May of this year, Trey and Mike have been hard at work launching Get Local. Using their personal experiences and recommendations from trusted friends, Mike and Trey have partnered with local businesses. Through these partnerships, they offer packages online and help drive traffic to these local spots. Ranging from paddle boarding and airboat rides to guided tours and art galleries, the duo are capturing what really sets Central Florida life apart from anywhere else.

Mike Black in China
Mike Black in China

While the serious upside to starting a boutique travel business is curating the experiences, the greatest challenge the duo faces is the aspect of self-promotion. As both members are working from home, the lakes they live on can be incredible sources of inspiration as well as distraction. “We’re just staring at this body of water that begs to be fished, or paddle boarded on, or wakeboarded on, all day. Right now, we’re just paying our dues to set the right foundation for the business,” said Trey.

Trey Dyer
Trey Dyer

Their approach to building the business is truly millennial. With a strong social media presence inspired by their travels abroad, Trey and Mike are living their dreams. But, what do they think is the greatest drawback for our generation? Trey believes that “our biggest drawback is how connected we are to the superficial things in life. It keeps us from really connecting to the world around us.” According to Mike, “We have a hard time focusing. It’s too hard to focus on one thing at a time because there are so many things to do and we are constantly entertained. But that is also something great, because it is pushing us to be better and greater.”

On the flip side, what excites these two about being members of the Millennial Generation? In Trey’s opinion, “We are already the ones trying to fix what our future problems are going to be. We aren’t waiting around for them to kind of take over.” For Mike, “our generation’s greatest attribute is that we are rebellious, not accepting of typical career paths, and that is allowing us to see a lot more of the world. We aren’t about please me, cater to me. We are more about show me who you are, be authentic, be real. It’s a healthier way to live and will serve us well in the future.”

Until the day Get Local is nationwide, those in Central Florida can access their services by going here. In the comments below, we’d like to hear about your favorite Central Florida experience or a time travel has inspired you to do something different.

Trey and Family to the Left  Mike and Family to the Right
Trey and Family to the Left
Mike and Family to the Right

All photos courtesy of Get Local

Environmentally Conscious and Loving IT!

Clayton Louis Ferrera leading a session at the Hive.
Clayton Louis Ferrera leading a session at the Hive.

If you have never been to Florida, one thing that might surprise you is the abundance of wildlife. It is not uncommon for residents to come across alligators, squirrels, or the occasional bear. While for most this can induce cartoon-like freak outs, for Clayton Louis Ferrara it is just a part of nature’s beauty and fuel for his work to educate the community about our most precious gift, the environment.

Ferrera spent most of his young life volunteering at research facilities in Stuart, Florida like the Marine Life Center of Juno Beach under Larry Wood and the Florida Oceanographic Society where the young naturalist was able to establish his scientific foundation. From that foundation, Ferrera deepened his knowledge with dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies at Rollins College. Upon graduation, Ferrera had planned to pursue a Master’s in Science Writing at MIT. While volunteering at the Oakland Nature Preserve the summer before he was to start at MIT in 2009, Ferrera’s efforts to fund a Head Curator and Director of Education position came through.

After two years of leading the nature preserve, a group of students from UCF presented at the Florida Wildlife Federation’s Board meeting that was being hosted there. Since then, Clayton Louis Ferrera has been actively involved with IDEAS for Us, a UN accredited NGO that educates and empowers people to advance sustainability through action. Starting as the National Science Director, he then became the South Eastern Regional Director and ultimately took on the role of Executive Director on January 1st of 2014. His passion for IDEAS has allowed the organization to gain momentum in truly empowering citizens for sustainability.

Using a chapter model, the all volunteer staff has been able to grow IDEAS beyond the borders of Central Florida with members all over the world. Ferrera’s passion for IDEAS is contagious and the natural teacher has inspired students of all ages to reconnect with nature.

Map of IDEAS Chapters and Partners.
Map of IDEAS Chapters and Partners

Although Ferrera has many accomplishments of which he could place his walking stick, like being the first American to be named a Darwin Scholar by the Field Studies Council of London, Ferrera is quick to recognize those who have supported him along the way. From his parents to his teachers and peers, Ferrera believes that every person has the capacity to accomplish something incredible, they just need the support to recognize what is within them. “If we are able to do that, we could end poverty, we could improve our environment, and we could live happier lives.”

To capture the whole of Ferrera’s insights couldn’t possibly be contained in this space so if you would like to learn more about IDEAS for Us, like them on Facebook to stay up to date.

Embracing the Squiggly by Making Truffles

In anticipation of Small Business Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet Jenny of J&G Chocolate and Tea. A self-taught chocolatier, she used Youtube and Pinterest to learn the delicate art of making chocolate. While working in a traditional job, Jenny learned that she was actually pretty good at making tiny moments of delight with her creations. One thing led to another and then she was able to leave her job to start building the business with her sister Gina.

Jenny and Gina
Pictured: Jenny (left) and Gina (right).

Having launched J&G at the beginning of the year, the startup chocolate shop has seen success pretty early on. With an ultimate goal of being a chocolate and tea cafe, the sisters have grown their reach by selling online and at farmer’s markets throughout the Central Florida area with new locations to be announced.

While many may pick up chocolate making as a hobby, Jenny’s commitment to building a business took timing and “growing a pair.” Not a natural risk taker, Jenny was encouraged to take the leap by her supportive husband and sister. With their backing starting a chocolate and tea company seemed completely doable.

Photo Credit: J&G Chocolate and Tea
Photo Credit: J&G Chocolate and Tea

At first, Jenny didn’t completely realize what kind of risk she was taking by leaving her stable job to start a chocolate company. That is, until people started to say, “Wow, you are so brave” and other things that made her take a second and question the path she had already taken. For example, challenges with figuring out the permitting rules, red tape with licensing, and the very steep costs when it comes to shipping chocolate. These constraints led the sisters to start doubting what they had already accomplished and the research they had done.

But then Jenny had a moment of clarity, “until you know what you are going to do, you can’t do the research.” It took making the mistakes to learn how to ask the right questions so she could get the right answers and get the business to where it is today.

Photo: Jenny at a Fall Pop Up Shop
Photo: Jenny at a Fall Pop Up Shop

In addition to being in a constant game of trail and error, Jenny noticed how at times she felt like the odd duck in her circle of friends. To have a work schedule where she may not get started until 10am but was working until midnight in the kitchen, sometimes did not come across to anyone else as work. That simple difference in schedule can be hard for others to understand. However, for Jenny, having that flexibility is one of the most rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur.

Another challenge that almost every female business owner has dealt with is the self imposed need for perfection. In Jenny’s case, she learned to overcome getting bogged down with the details through the valuable experience of planning her wedding. “As the planner you can get all wrapped up in the teeny tiny details, but no one else will know but you if it is missing. Now with J&G, time is what influences how things will get prioritized and accepting that has allowed me to keep getting our product out there and refining it as we go along” and it might come out even better than planned.

When asked about the greatest piece of advice she would give to anyone who would want to start something like J&G,”research and testing are the most important things for anyone developing a product, especially a food product. Get the feedback of your family, your friends, everyone you know so can be confident in your product.”

Photo Credit: Candace Dyer at http://bit.ly/12cYvU0
Photo Credit: Candace Dyer at http://bit.ly/12cYvU0

Now I had the chance to eat one of J&G’s Caramel Pretzel and Bacon Apples and I can honestly say it was one of the best things I ever ate. But don’t just take my word for it, check out Candace Dyer’s review on her dessert blog Dessert Geek. And if you are interested in purchasing any of their chocolates or teas go to their online shop here or visit them at these locations.

Healing the Community through Holistic Counseling

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Changing the world often comes in the form of improving foreign policy and informing how the United States interacts with other countries. As rewarding as that field can be, the results of that work could take years or even lifetimes to be seen. Navigating the governments, trade deals, and other institutions can hold up a project for years, so patience and trust in that process is crucial. But what if you doubt that process or want to directly help people?

Zac Dodson Meet Zac Dodson, serial entrepreneur and owner of HD Counseling, an Orlando based holistic mental health service provider. Zac initially went to graduate school in Geneva, Switzerland, the heart of international policy making, and within his first semester felt that he needed to make a switch. So, he went to the Counseling department and just asked if he could transfer into their school. Since it had never been done before, he met little resistance and within the year was studied his way to becoming a licensed mental health counselor.

Upon graduation, he set up his own practice and moved to Orlando, FL. Within months he learned that most of his patients were coming to him with “co-morbid” issues or environmental factors that kept them from living their happiest life. So, Zac began a holistic practice that brought in healers of all kinds to an affordable workspace and require that they are active in the community. What first started out as a 4 person practice flourished into a team of 18 practitioners in just 3 years. With offerings beyond counseling, such as meditation, acupuncture and art therapy workshops, HD Counseling provides less intimidating experiences to better one’s mental health.

HD Counseling Team
Inspired by his work with clients who live with PTSD, Zac noticed that workers who burnout are dealing with this trauma that goes on to turn these professionals towards private sector work and ultimately harming the whole non-profit sector. Now that HD Counseling has reached a level of stability, Zac has found his way into addressing this millennial issue: burnout. Most common in non-profit workers, Benefact is Zac’s next project in helping others. Non-profit managers tools and workshops to help their employees avoid burnout to remain engaged in the often grueling industry.

Zac’s work is impacting an aspect of our society that often is overlooked or stigmatized, as evidenced by the shooting this week at Florida State University. By going out into the community and offering workshops, seminars, and other services, HD Counseling is creating safer places for people to get help.

If you want to learn more about the incredible work that HD Counseling does click here or post in the comments below if you have any questions.

Federal Employment and Why Millennials Want More From Their Work

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar from San Francisco Bay Area - California, USA
Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar from San Francisco Bay Area – California, USA

As the dust settles from the midterm elections, citizens far and wide return to their regularly scheduled programming. However, according to the Office of Personnel Management, for 4.312 million people these changes impact who are their coworkers and how their work is accomplished. Working for the red tape laden federal government, as one millennial working at the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has learned, can actually be the most rewarding job.

What is the FMC? Well. You know the screen you are looking at? It’s safe passage, like almost everything else we interact with daily, are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission. Established in 1961 by President Kennedy, the commission handles tariffs, ports, and trade regulations to help businesses with the actual importation and exportation of their goods. But how does one get a job working with such an organization? Just ask my friend Jewel Jennings – Wright. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Jewel is currently a Counsel at the Commission, meaning she supports and advises a commissioner.

Jewel Jennings Wright

Prior to landing this dream of a job, Jewel received her B.A. in Political Science at Carnegie Mellon, then her Master’s and J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. With an ongoing interest in the strategic aspects of international security, Jewel first became interested in port security during her graduate studies in International Security and Intelligence. “We have ports leading to almost every major city, and almost anyone can ship anything” therefore creating a very murky security challenge. By interning for the Commission she was able to bring together her love for ports and law.

Upon graduation, however, a position was not available. Instead, she went to work with a private equity firm in Detroit. But, after about a year was able to return to D.C. to work with the Commission. “It’s rewarding, yet demanding work” as Jewel isn’t just pushing paper, but is actually making a difference.

Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University
Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Along the way Jewel has been able to learn some important life lessons. The primary among them being,

“Actually listen to your gut. If you are absolutely unhappy and upset where you are change your situation or make steps to change it that may mean changing jobs, it may mean moving (usually both), it may mean taking a leap of faith of some kind but actually try. If you feel it ‘in your bones’ that something is bad, it most likely is.”

When asked about millennials in the workforce,

“I think millennials often get a bad rep because people think that it’s a soft generation. We’ve seen the baby boomers and our parents work lives that didn’t necessarily lead to a good home life. There are a lot of people asking millennials to ignore that and do it anyway. For baby boomers, a hard days work sometimes was at a factory and it was actually hard. Now we’ve seen baby boomers come down with things like asbestosis, unions being busted, pensions going bust and our parents going through bubble after bubble. Are we supposed to do exactly the same thing?” 

Although early in her career, Jewel has found herself as one of the youngest counsels at the commission. With that experience she has identified the key issue that drives millennials. During our childhoods, we’ve witnessed the damaging side effects of our current systems and how our families have coped with them. Is it entitlement to demand for more from our professional lives, or simply a desire to avoid the terrifying challenges our families have had to weather? Post your thoughts in the comments below or tweet @themtakeover.