Wisdom Exchange: Connecting Generations
On April 24th, 2019, we hosted the first ever Wisdom Exchange. The theme of this inaugural event was: “Connecting the Intelligence of Your Intergenerational Workforce.” Throughout the evening, a group of 14 speakers representing each of the five generations currently in the workforce discussed stereotypes, frustration, admiration, and ideas for how to best work together.
Of the many things we discussed, a few things stood out across all generations. Namely:
Listen more, talk less. A timeless piece of wisdom that was surprisingly shared by all five generations.
The most admired generation was Generation Z. Other generations mentioned how inspired they were by Generation Z’s ability to redefine success and take action on their desires.
The five generations currently in the workforce really are that different. The good news is, however, that they are all willing to talk to and learn from one another.
Wisdom Exchange Highlight Film
Most of us don’t keep the ages of each generation at top of mind, but almost all can define a generation by the impactful moments and artifacts prevalent at the time. The Generation Stations experience brought attendees through gigantic walls of images and moments, accompanied by the music, toys, and even candies that were most popular at the time. Gen X featured the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Millennials, the fall of the Twin Towers. Bank foreclosures and the Great Recession for Gen Z. Baby Boomers saw a smoky scene from Vietnam, and the Silent Generation a dreadful and iconic photo of a nuclear blast.
Growth often comes in the form of a difficult conversation. To inspire difficult and honest conversations, ten thought leaders representing each of the five generations in the workforce faced off on stage in a one-on-one question and answer session. Each leader would ask a provocative question around the topic, “Things I think about you, but never say.” Then, each leader gave a one to three minute response, sharing insights on their workplace mentality and what motivates their actions in an effort to educate the other generations.
As an example, the first question in the Lightning Round was from Shelby Bocks, a Gen Z student from the University of San Diego, directed at Jeff Campbell, former 15+ year Global CEO of Burger King and representative of the SIlent Generation–
“Your parents were the greatest generation. Given that advantage–why was your generation not able to achieve more?”
Following the Lightning Round, our panelists came together to discuss questions covering positive and negative stereotypes of each generation and ultimately express a bright outlook for the future. Above all, Gen Z was revered for their ability to redefine personal and professional success, as well as their knack for stepping up and taking action on important social movements. We finished the evening with several questions from the audience– challenging yet encouraging for both the leaders and the audience.