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April 17, 2017 KNOW HOW

Bridging the gap between Boomers and Millennials

Che Anderson (left) is a project manager for the City of Worcester. John Vo is the owner of the Nine Dot Gallery in Worcester.

As children, we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We would enthusiastically answer with often-outlandish responses; having no true concept of aptitude, logistics. or failure. We simply wanted to be whatever our hearts desired. If we wanted to be astronauts, elite athletes or the next Paul McCartney, adults encouraged our interests in astronomy, athletics and the arts to ensure a diverse education; we had no limitations, but the expectation was that as we matured, we would temper our ideas to something more practical.

As we grew older, we Millenials chose not to be limited by the status quo and developed our own rules. There was less interest in ownership with an added focus placed upon inclusivity and accessibility. The technological innovation we've experienced during our formative years has influenced a different set of behaviors than many of our predecessors; we are a generation coming of age in a time of immediacy, and we expect things to move, and change, seamlessly. We intend to impact our communities through grassroots movements, creative placemaking and the innovation economy.

Most importantly, we cannot perform these tasks without the support of the Baby Boomer generation, which can take many forms in our community, but when coupled with innovative ideas, can catapult the city to new heights. One can look at initiatives like Working 4 Worcester, the Nine Dot Gallery, Action! Worcester, and POW! WOW! Worcester to see examples of what is possible when the stalwart collaborate with the vanguard. The validation it provides allows the emerging professional to properly navigate matters, and see further as they stand atop the shoulders of giants, while allowing the established professional an opportunity to find value where it doesn't currently exist and launch future successes. The entrepreneurial spirit can drive both generations. Not all ideas are good ideas, and not all investments can be great ones, but each generation needs to understand the value that others bring to the table.

Baby Boomers:

• Don't just entertain the creativity of Millennials, embrace and support it

• Serve as mentors, supporters and cheerleaders for new ideals

• Consider some form of angel investment

• Embrace change


• Create unique opportunities

• Educate those around you on technological advancements and inventive concepts

• Remove the sense of entitlement

• Respect history


• Find creative ways to collaborate across differences

• Balance long-term sustainable ideals and trendy short-term investments

• Incorporate institutional knowledge into innovative frameworks

• Develop mutual mentoring relationships

All parties must be willing to give with magnanimity, developing a shared network, narrative and resources to not limit the possibilities in the City of Worcester and beyond.

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