Thursday, October 22, 2009

Millennials: The Next Great Generation

Bob Buford, founder of Leadership Network, author of HalfTime, Game Plan, Finishing Well, and Beyond HalfTime is writing his next book one chapter at a time. And publishing it one chapter at a time, via free subscription. His website,, is a great source of information and allows you to sign up for the book.

The latest installment arrived today: "Millennials: 20/30 Somethings Come Into Their Own". How appropriate is that for the topic of this week? You will need to sign up to read the whole article, but here are a few great snippets:

  • During a recent evening I sat next to Tom Tierney who, after years as CEO of Bain & Co. (the number one consulting career choice for many elite school MBA graduates) left a pile of money behind to form Bridgespan which does Bain-level consulting for nonprofits and foundations. I was stunned when he told me that Bridgespan had 2,500 applications for 17 new jobs. He also told me that the largest club at Harvard Business School was the Social Enterprise Club. Hmmm – huge demand and lower pay – a quest for meaning over money amongst these well educated 20/30 Somethings. A hundred times more demand than supply. Sounds like a big unrecognized opportunity to me!
  • Last week The Drucker Institute hosted a group of super-star for profit and nonprofit CEO’s convened by A.G. Lafley, Chairman of Proctor & Gamble. The venue was Claremont Graduate University. I had a chance there to speak to Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America. She told me that 15% of the Princeton graduating class applied to spend their first two years teaching in inner city schools. Two-thirds of these kids remain in teaching after their two years. It was the same story as Tierney told me – meaning over money, mean streets over Wall Street.
  • That same night, I flew east in an accommodating friend’s jet to join George Gallup and Tim Keller, Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, for three presentations the next day hosted by New York City Leadership Center. Keller’s congregation now numbers 6,000 weekly attending. That’s really an exceptional number for the East Coast – actually double what it was last time I attended Redeemer! The average age is 30, and 45% are young well-off Asian professionals. Seventy percent are single. Keller said that Halftime comes early for these super bright kids and that they go about it differently. They integrate it with their work through a whole variety of social enterprise initiatives. For example, a 28-year old female in Keller’s congregation, described herself as “bored to tears,” practicing corporate law. She negotiated a deal with her big Wall Street law firm, “Every five years,” she said, “I’ll practice four for the firm and the firm donates a year of my work to the International Justice Mission.” The firm agreed. Eighty percent success, twenty percent significance. A parallel career.

Buford closes every post with relevant questions that are designed to make you think about the post. Here are the current ones:

  1. Is this what you see when you “look out the window?”
  2. What can we do to give permission and encouragement to 20/30 Somethings who want to change their part of the world?
What do you think?

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