With sharing and mentorship, legacy will continue
If there was just one message she wanted to share with the members of her intergenerational audience, Jeanie Martin told the older members to “pass it on.”
She urged them to pass on their knowledge, their abilities and their mentorship to the generations that follow at an afternoon seminar sponsored cooperatively by the Sandwich, Plano and Yorkville chambers of commerce. A national sales director for Mary Kay, Martin presented her message in cooperation with her daughter, Amy Kemp, a senior sales director for Mary Kay.
Pete Dell, chairman of the Sandwich Chamber board, said the program committee had been looking for just the right type of program when Reed Martin, Jeanie Martin’s husband and active chamber member, suggested this one.
“We decided this would be an interesting topic,” said Sandwich Chamber board member Stacy Skillin. “A lot of businesses just don’t know how to deal with people from different generations.”
Skillin said about 83 people responded to the seminar invitation and another 20 walked in to the event on Wednesday, May 2 at Jacob’s Well in Plano.
Kemp said they first presented the seminar on generational leadership at a Mary Kay event in Chicago about five years ago. She called it a hot topic in the business world.
“Baby boomers are winding down and businesses want to know how to ensure the legacy of past generations is handed down,” she said.
They identified four generations – the GI generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y.
The GI generation was born between 1901 and ’24, and is known as one that is hard working, patriotic, loyal. They were Rosie the Riveter and World War II veterans that came home to little fanfare and went back to work. They saved and avoided debt. And they became the parents of the Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and ’64. They are now ages 47 to 65, and only 2 percent of them were ever in daycare as children. They changed the workplace dramatically. They created and embraced the annual review and have a deep desire to move up the ladder.
“To them, face time is important. If they don’t see you at work, you’re not working,” Kemp said.
Gen Xers were born from 1965 to ’81, and they were the first latchkey kids. They are self reliant and grew up amid rising divorce rates. The founders of Google, Amazon and eBay are Gen Xers.
“They are the first to seek a work-life balance,” Kemp said.
Although they are young, between the ages of 18 and 24, Martin called Gen Y “a force to be reckoned with.” Also known as the flip-flop generation, they are eager to live each day to its fullest in response to the randomness of world events.
“They don’t mind blending life and work but they want to be coached and mentored. They don’t need to know facts, because they can Google anything,” Kemp said.
“The GI generation puts the rest of us to shame with their work ethic,” Martin said. At the other end of the spectrum, Kemp said the Gen Yers either nail the work ethic or fail miserably.
“We (Gen Yers) have an unwavering faith that anything is possible. And we’re desperate for your mentoring and leadership,” Kemp said.
Martin called Gen X the connecting link. “You have enough of each generation in you to lead. And you all have to have a willingness to learn from each other.”
“Just pass it on,” Martin said.
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