I was sitting on a weekly “Community Coffee” Zoom call that the Next Gen group puts together weekly led by Rachel Gross, the Next Gen Director of Community. It’s an open forum for members to show up and have a collective discussion about almost anything. As we were having a debate around what people are doing to grow themselves, both personally and professionally, it reminded me of just how powerful a community Next Gen is. Here I was, around a mix of people of all different backgrounds, ages, and experiences but with the same common vision in mind – to surround themselves with a support system of like-minded people that are enthusiastic and inspired to change the world for the better.
I’ve been fortunate in many areas of my life for the opportunities that have come my way both as lessons learned from tough times or luck that just happened to work out in my favor.
Fast-Forward 18-months and the connections and life-long friends I have made from that single encounter could not be put accurately into words or probably an equivalent dollar amount.
I was able to attend their Next Gen Summit event in June of 2019, their signature event for their group of entrepreneur members, which totals in the thousands.
I’ve met countless Podcast guests through there, mentors, friends, and even have had the chance to provide guidance to members in need.
One member, in particular, Rich Keller has focused my mind on understanding who I am and the mission I have in life and has helped me discover my One Word, Navigator, which has been a key to defining that purpose.
And Chau Mui, Founder of Ciaooo! Magazine has become a great friend where we can be a sounding board for one another with advice while always having the best intentions for the other in mind.
I have dozens of these examples from being a part of this group.
Throughout our lives, we come into new groups and leave old ones. We spend a little time with some and a whole bunch of time with others. We all have reasons for joining certain groups or being attracted to certain situations.
Mine was a community.
I haven’t had many great support systems in my life. Growing up as a middle child and having low self-esteem, I had a hard time fitting into a lot of groups and didn’t have a ton of friends growing up. As I got older and started to find my voice I found the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for. Guys that are still my friends 20 years later. But, as I started to venture into the entrepreneurial waters and tap into my mission in life, I was looking for a new support system, one that looked a lot different than any group I’d ever been a part of before. The Next Gen group appeared to be that fit I was looking for, even as an older Millenial like myself.
My expectations have been exceeded.
From their member-driven Facebook group, to live interviews with well-known Founders, to being one email or message away from making a warm connection to anyone, these folks have the goods.
Full Disclosure, this post was originally slated to be about great support systems, and maybe there was a flavor of that, but it’s also turned into a Next Gen Pep Rally of sorts, which I’d be leading the marching band in. The momentum behind this group, led by Founders Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, is unreal and I’m so thrilled to be a part of the next phase of Next Gen as we come out of these unprecedented times and into a “new start” filled with optimism, innovation, and gratitude; all key characteristics of the Next Gen group.
I’d encourage anyone looking for a new support system in their lives, has the drive to do great things, and has the “go-giver” mentality, to look towards Next Gen as a place for you.
Episode 91 features Founder and CEO of the Conversationalist, Sophie Beren. This wide-ranging conversation gets into some depths around overcoming fear, mental health, difficult conversations, self-awareness, and much more.
Sophie Beren is an entrepreneur from Wichita, Kansas, who is on a mission to unify the world. While at The University of Pennsylvania (C’17, SPP’17), Sophie founded TableTalk, a multi-campus nonprofit that empowers young adults on college and high school campuses to have conversations that matter. She recently launched her new business called The Conversationalist to take the TableTalk concept to the next level. The Conversationalist is a content company designed to empower Gen Z with multiple points of view, on a variety of topics that young adults struggle with, to help them have better, more substantive conversations. Learn more about Sophie and The Conversationalist here in Entrepreneur Magazine: https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/341329