What I learnt from a 24 year old
Another gross generalization, but the reality is that too many of the Gen-Xers who have started businesses 5 years ago, are working their butts off and are not spending the time needed to lessen their load by giving the young, up-and-coming executives the chance to really make a difference.
Here's my experience. I was sharing a glass of wine with Maikayla Desjardins, a Marketing Executive at Marketing Eye Atlanta yesterday and I asked the question, "why did you leave your job in New York and come and work for me in Atlanta?"
Her first response was: "You sold me on Atlanta as this awesome place to live - but let's face it, it's not quite New York!"
Then, she told me her story:
Some time ago, she did an internship in Australia at Marketing Eye Sydney and from that experience, she really loved the diversity in the role that she had and desperately wanted to explore marketing as a career. She also wanted to learn more.
My gut instinct told me that I had to have Maikayla work for me in Atlanta. As a start up business, I needed someone that I could trust who already knew what we did and how we did it. Someone who appreciated the value of the brand and what we can do to help small businesses grow. I rang her repeatedly begging her to move to Atlanta but it took some convincing. There were some obstacles to overcome in that she had just signed an apartment lease in New York and she had a job that she was doing quite well at. It was more sales orientated though and she did really want to be in marketing, doing creative stuff - so there was at least something I could work with.
The lease was a bigger obstacle than I would have liked but the reality was that it wasn't insurmountable. Moving from New York to Atlanta was! Atlanta is known as Hot Atlanta (80 degrees today) and in the summer has souring temperatures that ensures that the air conditioning in working overtime. I actually quite like the heat so it doesn't bother me too much but it definitely is a cause of concern for many Americans who don't live here and hear the rumors.
After months of pleading, she finally said yes. I was thrilled. Within 10 days, she was sitting at her new desk at Atlanta Technology Village working in her new job for what is to us, the most exciting marketing start up Atlanta has ever seen! We are biased and incredibly passionate - so please don't knock us for being overly boisterous on this one!
In our conversations, this is what I learnt from Maikayla:
1. She can sell ice to the eskimo's - so I really need for her to share her knowledge and skills with others in the team
2. She has an incredible way about her that immediately ensures that people like her and are engaged by her friendly demeanour - so networking events are a must
3. She is charming, witty and a tad cheeky - great wing person in the big meetings!
4. She believes that by doing 80 calls a day telemarketing will help us achieve our goal of 1000 clients in 3 to 5 years - in fact, she guarantees it - so up the commission
5. Her can-do attitude and unabashed determination to be successful will ensure that anything she does for Marketing Eye will be successful
6. We have to let her lose to do whatever it is that she wants to do with the company as long as she meets our goals each quarter because there is something really special about her and I believe her when she says she can turn this business into a huge success. I just want to follow her lead and sometimes that's exactly what founders and entrepreneurs need to do!
This young woman is incredible. I really believe in her. I think she can take this company to exactly where I need it to go in the next few years - and she is only 24 years old. How awesome!