Can Gen Z Change The World

Ava Flores
• Sunday, 20 December, 2020
• 7 min read

According to a recent study by Girls With Impact, fully 45% of Gen users want to work for a company that makes a positive difference in the world. Born between the early 1990s and mid-2000s, Gene comprises roughly 33% of the world’s population and is projected to overtake Millennials in sheer numbers this year.

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Simply put, Gene doesn’t want to work for a company where pursuit of the almighty dollar is the only outcome. Younger workers are searching for impact-driven companies who vocally champion a better world and take practical steps to effect positive change.

I write about unleashing passion, purpose, and performance in younger generations and how that intersects education, career, workforce development, and the new … Read More write about unleashing passion, purpose, and performance in younger generations and how that intersects education, career, workforce development, and the new multigenerational workplace.

I founded TFS Results, a full-service strategic communications and consulting firm, to coach my clients in maximizing recruitment, engagement, retention, and performance rates. As an international generational expert, I’ve spoken at Harvard University by special invitation and today deliver more than 70 virtual and in-person keynotes every year across North America.

Every weekday, I host 'The Erna Syndicate' Alexa Flash Briefing to open the playbook for success, both for young people and their parents, educators, and employers. My work has appeared in numerous national publications and I interview frequently on radio shows, television, and podcasts to discuss the shifting education and employment landscape, generational divides, and viable pathways for today’s young people.

June 17, 2021 Directions: Watch the video (edited for length), read the summary and answer the discussion questions. This generation is now entering adulthood as the national grapples with issues ranging from the coronavirus epidemic and recession to mass protests over systematic racism.

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Two organizers, 16-year-old Handle Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles Youth Vanguard, and 17-year-old Galen Thompson of O’Fallon, Missouri, share their views of these historic times and the power of their generation. Abdullah describes using terms like “defund” or “abolish the police” not as literal demands but rather protesters asking the public to reimagine what safety looks like in America.

However, it is important, she explains, that older generations take an active role in doing their part to make sure the future is bright. Listen to this additional clip from Newshound’s Student Reporting Labs, “How Gen Z is approaching this historic moment of change, ” in which teens across the country share their perceptions of this time in their lives.

Today’s Daily News Story was written by EXTRA’s intern Ramses Rubio, a junior at Amherst College. One of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. is the business of decoding Generation Z, the 12 to 20-year-old cohort following fast on the heels of Millennials.

Hardly a week goes by without some group or another declaring that it has cracked the code of what makes Gene tick. With so many people trying to define what our generation means and stands for, it is about time that we offer our own perspective, or at least get behind the definitions that make sense.

Gene is a cult of culture creators The brand solutions firm Wildness, born out of Awesomeness TV, conducted a study that surveyed 3,000 youth and interviewed teens in eight U.S. cities. Growing up with the internet has freed our generation from the confines of traditional cultural expression, and we are fomenting a renaissance of collaborative creativity unencumbered by adult supervision or arbitrary limits.

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I like the way Wildness is helping companies connect to the torrent of ingenuity flowing from GenZ's emerging thought leaders. Treating the founders of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat like rock idols, members of Gene are sprinting to follow in their footsteps, launching their own YouTube channels and apps that capture huge numbers of users.

Gene is the first post-race, post-gender generation Our life experience has driven a whole new outlook on race and gender. The majority of our Gene web content comes via social media from our peers, with each teen curating a unique flow of news from Twitter and Snapchat, videos from Vine, experiences on Instagram, recipes on Pinterest, and clothes on Wane lo.

Yes, we seem superficial when we slavishly follow certain fashion and social media trends, but commitment to community is a common denominator across our generation. Whether we “feel the Bern” or are turned on by the prospect of electing America's first female president, the sliver of my Gene cohorts who will vote this fall agree that government can and should play a role in addressing America's challenges.

Wildness calls us “Culture Creators,” MTV says we're the “Founders,” while another group termed us Gen Edge.” What matters more to me is that we stand for something different and significant, that we are characterized by optimism about the future (unlike our pathetically pessimistic Millennial friends), possessing a belief in the possible and a commitment to the ideals of leaving our community and the planet better places than we found them.

Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter Editor’s Note: Ben Champion, a senior at Gonzalo College High School, gave the following speech at a September 20, 2019, Climate Strike prayer service for high school students in the Archdiocese of Washington.

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But we also grew up with the first U.S. black president, have led the March For Our Lives Movement, and most importantly we comprehend that climate change requires immediate action. Fossil fuel CEOs and executives have blocked climate action and sowed doubt in order to maintain their status quo.

This economy and culture has been a driving force in maintaining the most detrimental effects of climate change. This is a social justice issue, and we must act now to help the poor and marginalized, those usually bearing the brunt of increased flooding, climate catastrophes, and drought.

By completely altering our economic, political, and social institutions we can work together as human species to live in communion with the natural world whose dependence on which we are too scared to acknowledge. Laudatory Si’ explains the deep connectivity between humans and the environment.

However, once I learned about the organizations and strikes led by kids younger than me, all excuses were washed away. We are here to join in the hope, joy, and purpose of dedicating our actions to a greater good.

So, today we strike because widespread nonviolent movements truly do have the power to enact change. In 1970 on the first Earth Day, 20 million people recognized the fragility and beauty of this planet, so they took to the streets.

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We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves, but we must continue to add our voices to the increasing clamor for change. Erica Chenoweth, a researcher at Harvard, studied over 300 mass movements and concluded that it only takes 3.5% of the population consistently active in protests to force tangible political change.

Not only must you show up, but you must go home today and bring your excitement, hope, and vigor to your communities and ORGANIZE. Besides public demonstrations and economic choices, the vote is our third tool in telling those in power what we need.

Go vote for the leaders who understand the urgency we face and the scope of change needed. The Green New Deal is a plan to tackle climate change and inequality by creating millions of high paying jobs in clean energy industries.

This involves: converting our energy sources to all renewables, digitizing our power grid, upgrading each building to be energy efficient, creating a zero-emission transportation system, and building sustainable communities based around local resources. By investing in people and their communities, our country can build an efficient and sustainable economy.

By explaining the real, tangible urgency of climate change to your communities, they, in turn, will spread the message of action and hope. Ben Champion is a senior at Gonzalo College High School in Washington, D.C.

He is an active member in the Peace Club and helped organize Gonzalo’s participation in the September 20, 2019, Climate Strike. Nearly nine-in-10 (87 percent) of Gen Zero are worried about the environment and the planet, according to the 2019 Porter Novella/Cone Gene Purpose Study.

“This research not only reinforces what we’re seeing in the marketplace, but also how companies can engage this generation that is so driven to change the world for the better.” Tired of the divisive narrative that has taken over the national news, 94 percent of Generation Z believes our country needs to come together to make progress on important issues.

This generation feels profoundly influenced by events that have impacted them directly in recent years. 86 percent say events such as the Stone man Douglas High School shooting in 2018 have made them care more about issues affecting them.

While Generation Z feels unprecedented urgency around many pressing issues, the environment (26 percent) is the top priority that they want companies to address. When looking specifically at the hot-button issues of today, Gen Zero feel companies must do their part to solve a myriad of topics.

“As a generation that sees a school shooting every twelve days on average and the rights of their LGBTQ+ friends become compromised, it’s no surprise they are looking to companies to engage on and influence these issues, ” da Silva says. As truly digital natives, Generation Z uses social media not only to learn about issues, but to make a meaningful difference.

They view their engagement on their social channels as a powerful way to motivate others to care (35 percent). Over the past two years, Generation Z’s habits and preferred social media platforms have changed.

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