By 2030, the oldest members of Generation Z — those currently between the ages of 20 and 25 — will make up 8.3% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Looking ahead to that future, BizTimes Media asked the Wisconsin 275, the state's most influential business leaders, what advice they had to share with young professionals.
From starting with small objectives to building a long-term vision of the future, below is a sampling of their responses.
What advice would you give to a young professional?Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Ellen Censky, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum: “Embrace change! It is going to happen whether you like it or not.”
Debbie Allen, president of DNA Network, LLC: “Walking in uncharted territory is the best method to learn, persevere, and manifest resilience.”
Tom Richtman, Wisconsin market president of U.S. Bank: “Never be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’”
Find your niche
Kevin Anderson, market president of Old National Bank: “Strive to become a ‘subject matter expert’ in a field you have strong interest in and wish to make your life's work. Expertise in any meaningful field can be invaluable as you build out your career.”
Rick Barrett, chief executive officer of Barrett Lo Visionary Development: “Do one thing and do it well. We do mixed use residential development, and it is what we excel at and are passionate about. Find your passion and use that to motivate you!”
Listen and learn
Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Groupware Technologies: “LISTEN! Nobody knows it all, and the earlier you learn to take feedback the higher your chance of success.”
Marty Brooks, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Center District: “Some of the best quality time with senior staff is impromptu and occurs when the office quiets down. Getting to know senior staff and learn about them as both professionals and individuals is just as worthwhile as afterhours networking functions.”
Erik Iverson, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation: “Try to take a new contact out for coffee or lunch each week to build your network, and continually explore new potential professional opportunities.”
Richelle Martin, managing director of the Winnow Fund: “Don't be afraid of the word ‘no.’ Hearing it or saying it. Your time is valuable. You'll need to say 'no' to things that will take away time from your goals. And when you hear 'no,' but don't take it personally. Not everyone is your target audience.”
Trust in yourself and your team
Paul Eberle, CEO of Husch Blackwell LLC: “Believe that you belong in the room, around the table, and in the conversation.”
Khalif El-Amin, co-founder and COO of the Young Enterprising Society: “It won't always be easy, but it'll be worth it. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, who are willing to answer questions, and make meaningful connections.”
Andrew Wronski, Milwaukee managing partner of Foley & Lardner, LLP: “Family first, always. You’ll never regret that decision.”
Michelle Schuler, manager of TechSpark Wisconsin (Microsoft): “Find people in your life that naturally lift you up. Leverage them as mentors, listen to what they say, and how they encourage you. They will see things in you that you never thought possible. It is up to you to make it possible.”
Additional stories on the Wisconsin 275 and responses to other questions will be shared to biztimes.com in the coming weeks.
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