Emerging Leaders’ Summit
Friday, September 13, 2019
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
1001 North Delaware Ave., Phila 19125
11:00 – 11:30 am: Registration
11:35 – 11:55 am: Welcome/Opening Regards
12:00 – 12:30 pm: Hurdles Only Make You Jump Higher
12:40 – 1:20 pm: Thinking Like An Entrepreneur
1:30 – 2:00 pm: Checking In By Checking Out
Hurdles Only Make You Jump Higher
With Dr. Brandi Baldwin, PhD., CEO at Millennial Ventures Holdings
What can young professionals learn from the narratives they face in the workplace? Everything. This speaker will discuss how confronting generational stereotypes can make you a better leader, and propel you into a successful career.
Thinking Like An Entrepreneur
Being a successful entrepreneur takes self-motivation, passion, risks, flexibility, and knowing your value. Whether you own your own business or not, having an entrepreneurial mindset can take your career to the next level. This panel will break down the importance of thinking outside the norm and learning how to go for it!
Moderator: Curtis Gregory, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Instruction, Strategic Management, Temple University, Fox School of Business
Panel: Marta Coles, Research and Training Coordinator, The Urban League of Philadelphia Entrepreneurship Center
Laura Sicola, Ph.D., Founder, Vocal Impact Productions
Lorenzo Buffa, Founder, Analog Watch Company
Checking In By Checking Out
With Olivia Muenter, Digital Content Creator/Freelance Writer
This speaker will explore the importance of how “checking in” on yourself by “checking out” from the office, your inbox, and your work, can be the best thing for both your mental health and your productivity. Just as important as knowing for yourself is identifying the signs of burnout among your employees. Explore ways your organization can get ahead of feeling like you’re falling behind.
Dr. Curtis Gregory knows what young entrepreneurs face when they launch out to build their dreams. As Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Strategic Management department, of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Dr. Gregory’s background within the banking industry, including small business banking, retail banking, institutional trust, commercial banking and business banking, has been described as an enabler of people who want to start or grow a business. With a clarity of thought and expertise in developing human capital for marginalized people, Dr. Gregory offers precise views on what makes millennial professionals successful in building their businesses – and their brands.
- What are the greatest challenges facing millennial professionals today? Getting an older generation to take your opinions and recommendations seriously.
- What can young professionals do to empower themselves in the marketplace? Build relationships through networking. Take the attitude of how can I help other people be successful instead of the typical “what’s in it for me” approach.
- How should today’s emerging leaders position themselves, from a brand perspective? I think it comes down to building trust in relationships. Being reliable and always on time for meetings creates a foundation for people to be able to trust you. If you deliver when you said and what you said then that goes a long way in building trust. Avoiding office gossip is another way to build trust.
- What is the biggest obstacle keeping many millennials from professional greatness?
- What do you remember most about being 25? I wasn’t a parent or spouse. I didn’t have a mortgage and my career was everything. I felt immortal.
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? I tried to outwork everyone. Never called out sick. Came in on my days off. Worked through lunch….
- Poker or Blackjack? Why? Poker involves the ability to control one’s emotion and to read your opponent’s emotions. This is by definition emotional intelligence. We see examples of leaders that lack emotional intelligence every day.
- For emerging leaders who are right now starting new businesses or growing young businesses in the Philadelphia region, what is it important to keep in mind as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams? What is your exit strategy and is the business model something that is scalable? In other words, can you still make money from the business if you are home in bed?
Dr. Brandi Baldwin is CEO at Millennial Ventures Holdings, the parent company to a growing portfolio of women and minority-owned businesses. After publishing her first book on corporate leadership, Dr. Baldwin’s thought leadership in management communication, engaging the millennial workforce, building leadership and workplace diversity have brought her sometimes unconventional views to the forefront. Recently named one of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African American’s by the Philadelphia Tribune, Dr. Baldwin feels all millennials who are able to position themselves as true leaders today, will be offered great opportunities later – and the title of leader is only as real as the leadership character of the one who holds it.
- What are the greatest challenges facing millennial professionals today? Millennial professionals have three distinct challenges in today’s workplace. First, companies invest the least amount of money on training their millennial employees. Second, millennials are still not seen as an integral part of the decision-making process as much as they want to. Finally, millennial professionals struggle to develop their own unique brands at work.
- What can young professionals do to empower themselves in the marketplace? Young professionals must get engaged in their workplace. Gone are the days when you can just go to work, do your job, and go home. Internal networking is an essential part of being empowered as a young professional.
- How should today’s emerging leaders position themselves, from a brand perspective? All emerging leaders should position themselves as LEADERS. You don’t need the title of a leader to demonstrate the character of a leader. Millennials who are able to position themselves as leaders now will be offered leadership roles later.
- What is the biggest obstacle keeping many millennials from professional greatness? Millennials are the most formally educated generation. That means that they’re used to learning in a school environment. They’re used to passing tests and doing homework. They’re less used to putting themselves outside of their comfort zones. They’re less used to taking risks. These attributes are required to be successful in today’s global economy.
- What do you remember most about being 25? Ha! At 25 I was just launching my company, in the thick of my doctoral program, and getting used to being a first-time mother. Busy stressed, but still very blessed!
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? Network, network, network. I spent two solid years going to networking events and using LinkedIn and I hit a tipping point where instead of me finding opportunities, they started to find me.
- For emerging leaders who are right now starting new businesses or growing young businesses in the Philadelphia region, what is it important to keep in mind as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams? Start without funding. Build a strong team. Sell, sell, sell. Less fancy marketing, more old school selling.
- WHO is the millennial workforce – and WHAT kind of business leaders will they be? The Millennial workforce is comprised of professionals who were born between 1980-1995. They are tech-savvy, well educated, diverse, and seeking careers that make a difference. They will be business leaders who value diversity, understand the importance of preserving the planet, and who will make the necessary changes to create a 21st-century work environment.
- BONUS QUESTION: What is your advice to a young professional who has the drive, ambition and talent to build a business, but also a fear of risk and change. Drive and ambition will only get you so far as an entrepreneur. You must be willing to journey through uncharted territory. You must be willing to be a trailblazer among your friends and family. You must embrace change and learn how to manage uncertainty. If you can’t do that, you won’t be successful as an entrepreneur.
Laura Sicola, Ph.D.
Founder, Vocal Impact Productions
Ask Dr. Laura Sicola what her views are on leadership communication and the art of speaking with influence, and watch out – you’re going to learn a lot. The influence coach and author of Speaking to Influence: Mastering Your Leadership Voice, did a TED talk, currently with over 5.5 million views, on sounding like a leader, with very sound advice including a step that may seem basic, but can be shockingly poorly executed – simply saying your name right! With appearances on Fox Business News and contributions to Fast Company, Forbes.com and more, Dr. Sicola stresses the importance of speaking as a leader – in more ways than one.
- What do you remember most about being 25? Thinking, “There has to be more than this!” I was teaching public school in south-central Los Angeles, which was great, and I knew that I was meant to be an educator, but I could feel in my gut that I wasn’t meant to be in a traditional classroom. I just had no idea what the alternatives could be!
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? I listen and I pivot when I recognize an opportunity. It’s how I shifted from the academic tenure track to entrepreneurship in the first place back in 2008, and how I rebranded as Vocal Impact Productions in 2013, among other things.
- Poker or Blackjack? Why? Neither! I hate that kind of gambling; it feels stupid, knowing the odds. I’d much rather take the money and go out to an amazing dinner and see a great show. I know I’ll love every moment and make every penny work for me!
- Do you believe in … Lady Luck? A qualified “yes.” There are moments of unpredictable, serendipitous opportunity that come our way from time to time. However, far more important is whether you recognize them and how you respond to them. And what is most important of all is that you don’t simply wait for those moments or blame lack of success on not having luck: go out there and make your own opportunity!
- What should today’s emerging leaders keep in mind, when it comes to communicating effectively – and speaking to influence? It’s crucial to strike the balance between being authentically YOU while flexing your speaking style to fit the needs of each audience. That’s the only way to ensure that they hear what you need and want them to hear, in a way that they are able to hear and understand it. That’s the root of speaking to influence.
- Why is it important to sound like a leader – particularly for today’s emerging professionals? Because leadership is an IMAGE. Regardless of your role or title, if people don’t recognize you as a leader, then at best you’re just the boss. No matter how smart you are or how good your ideas are, the way you speak is what will help people buy into YOU first and foremost. Then, and only then, will they be open to buying into your product, service, or idea.
- Do all emerging leaders need to think of themselves in terms of a ‘brand’ in order to differentiate themselves in the workforce today? Make a conscious choice about what you want your brand to be. If you don’t build your own brand, it will build itself in spite of you! Remember: A brand is the promise of an experience and the experience of a promise delivered. How you look, how you sound, and how you act (regarding work quality and otherwise) will determine your brand, and if it’s not consistent, that will become your brand. Pick your brand or it will pick you.
- For emerging leaders who are right now starting new businesses or growing young businesses in the Philadelphia region, what is important to keep in mind as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams? Get a business coach. There are coaches for every kind of business and budget, whether you work privately or in online groups. But they will help you set priorities, identify resources, and guide you through the blind spots you don’t know you have, especially if, like me, you don’t have a business background. I started out as part of a group program which was hugely helpful in the very early stages of figuring out how to build a business and what I wanted mine to be; now I have a private coach who has helped me build my business to levels I never thought possible.
- If a tree falls in the woods….KIDDING. If you could be ANY card in the deck, which card would YOU be…and WHY? Ace of Hearts. An Ace because it can be both high and low, so has the most strategic versatility and power. And as an entrepreneur, you have to love what you do with all your heart. That’s what makes all the risk worth it, especially at the beginning, and it’s the whole reason for going into business for yourself: to do what makes your heart happy.
- BONUS QUESTION: What is your advice to a young professional who has the drive, ambition, and talent to build a business, but also a fear of risk and change. All entrepreneurs acknowledge the risk and feel fear to some extent. The definition of “courage” is feeling the fear and doing it anyway! But ultimately, you have to weigh two things: your need for stability and your need for inspiration. If you won’t be able to sleep at night unless you know exactly how much money is going to appear in your bank account at 5 pm every Friday (especially if you have lots of dependents and other financial responsibilities), stability is your priority so full-time entrepreneurship is not for you, at least for now. But whether you take baby steps at night while working a full-time job, or jump in with both feet, check your ego at the door do an honest analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, then find resources and collaborators who will balance you out and make you stronger!
Marta Coles is currently the Research & Training Coordinator for the Urban League of Philadelphia’s Entrepreneurship Center – and she has plenty to say to today’s emerging business leaders in Philadelphia. With a focus on the challenges facing millennials today, and insights on how young professionals should position themselves for success. What’s the biggest obstacle keeping many millennials from professional greatness? Coles has a few thoughts on that one.
- What are the greatest challenges facing millennial professionals today? There are several challenges facing millennial professionals today. However, impatience is something that stands out to me. We live in a time that we want everything to take place instantly our successes, our wait times in the café, etc. Yet we are quickly reminded that in order to achieve anything. It will take patience, due diligence, and determination.
- What can young professionals do to empower themselves in the marketplace? Young professionals should remain open and eager to learn new skills to stay empowered. I always encourage individuals to take inventory of those closest to them. Who is in your circle? Are they pushing you to be your best self? Are they encouraging you to remain comfortable and go with the flow? Volunteering and building meaningful relationships with individuals in and outside your industry is vital to stay empowered. I have received countless gems and have learned so much from my relationships. As well as by paying it forward through my volunteer efforts.
- How should today’s emerging leaders position themselves, from a brand perspective? Today’s emerging leaders should position themselves with skills they do well. For example, I’m a natural connector and a strategic planner. Therefore, I have the ability to meet individuals and connect with them on various levels. Naturally, a popular question for me is if I know someone in a specific field or guidance for a new venture. Brand yourself or you will be branded.
- What is the biggest obstacle keeping many millennials from professional greatness? The biggest obstacle in keeping many millennials from professional greatness is consistency. In order to do something well, you have to be consistent in the work you put in on a daily basis.
- What do you remember most about being 25? What I remember most about being 25 was I began getting my priorities together. I enrolled back into school and obtained my degree. My focus was laser sharp and I applied for a job that could accommodate my school schedule.
- How are today’s emerging leaders connecting with our regional business community to create new opportunities for millennial minority professionals? Today’s emerging leaders are connecting with our regional business community to create new opportunities for millennial minority professionals. By starting the conversation and exploring ways on how to properly engage, empower, and share resources. To motivate a growing and thriving group of individuals here in the city who desire to make an impact.
- What is your advice for a young professional who has the drive, ambition, and talent to build a business, but also a fear of risk and change? My advice to a young professional is to be patient building a business takes time. It’s not a race, it’s great to have the above attributes. However, business is all about being willing to take the risk(s) to go after what you want. Change is enviable in life especially in business be willing to stay the course not just for the rewards but for and challenges as well. Allow every error made to be a learning lesson.
- Do you believe in … Lady Luck? No, I do not believe in Lady Luck. I believe in being prepared and giving your all to accomplish your goals in life.
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? How I have created professional opportunities and still do to this day. I try to be the following things at all times: intentional, valuable, professional, and action-oriented. These are the things that stick with individuals. I’ve created my personal brand on these attributes and as a result, have fostered and created great opportunities for myself.
- If a tree falls in the woods … KIDDING. If you could be ANY card in the deck, which card would YOU be…and WHY? Although I’m not into card games I would want to be an Ace card. Simply because of its versatility in the game.
Ask Lorenzo Buffa, founder of Analog Watch Company, what he views as the greatest challenge facing millennial professionals today and you’ll get a response focused more on technology than technique. Why? Buffa, who launched Analog Watch Company in 2013 and Something Socks in 2019, is an expert in everything from e-commerce and product development to product design and marketing – with a focus on staying current with the latest technologies. His brands have sold to major museum stores, such as the MoMA Design Store and The Guggenheim. What does Buffa think emerging leaders should do to build their brand? Find out!
- What are the greatest challenges facing millennial professionals today? The speed at which technologies move. What worked six months ago, doesn’t work today – especially if you are online and, in the e-commerce, or digital marketing worlds.
- What can young professionals do to empower themselves in the marketplace? Become as well versed in other disciplines as possible, making yourself an unexpected asset.
- How should today’s emerging leaders position themselves, from a brand perspective? Customer FIRST. This includes being focused on storytelling, quality control, and support.
- What do you remember most about being 25? I was finishing undergrad and preparing to find work on the open market. As I struggled to do so, this is when I decided I should take the risk and try and start my business.
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? Networking and teaching.
- Poker or Blackjack? Why? Roulette, especially outside of the USA where the odds are better!
- Do you believe in … Lady Luck? All people who achieve a high level of success, while they worked hard to get there, cannot deny luck exists – right place, right time, right person, the right opportunity, etc. To say luck doesn’t play a part at all is the ego talking and it’s arrogant. The key is to keep creating or putting yourself in situations where luck can find you.
- Do all emerging leaders need to think of themselves in terms of a ‘brand’ in order to differentiate themselves in the workforce today? Why…or why not? I think yes. The purpose of being a brand, as much as it is to establish who you are, I think more critically it is clearly to differentiate yourself from who you are not. The truth is, things are easier to do than ever before so the market is much more cutthroat. Podcasts are the new personal blogs. YouTube is the new weekly email newsletter. You need to be prepared to pivot constantly, and as a leader, you need to show that you are actively participating and engaging in the most up to date technologies and trends in n your field. Thought leaders do not exist in their bedroom writing in a notebook – they take those ideas and they put them out into the world.
- If a tree falls in the woods … KIDDING. If you could be ANY card in the deck, which card would YOU be…and WHY? The joker, because every office needs some entertainment.
- BONUS QUESTION: What is your advice to a young professional who has the drive, ambition, and talent to build a business, but also a fear of risk and change. You are young and can afford to fail a few times before it causing you any professional harm, so have at it. If you are truly thirsty, you’ll find water.
One day, at the ripe old age of 25, Olivia Muenter decided to be an entrepreneur. One year later, the Philadelphia-based digital content creator and contributing writer have articles flowing in the likes of Women’s Day, InStyle, Bustle, and INSIDER. Dedicated to creating content for publications and brands, Muenter was a Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor at Bustle.com for four years before branching out to create content that was truly governed by her creative thinking. What does she view as the greatest challenges facing millennials today? See for yourself!
- What are the greatest challenges facing millennial professionals today? I think the greatest challenge facing millennial professionals today is the pressure to find long-term, unchanging career paths in a world where that doesn’t really exist anymore. Most people’s careers are more fluid these days, but the pressure to find the career you’re “meant” to have for life is still present like it was for previous generations.
- What can young professionals do to empower themselves in the marketplace? Always be open and honest about how much you’re making with your colleagues. Not talking about pay only hurts you as an employee and benefits the company. This is especially true for women.
- How should today’s emerging leaders position themselves, from a brand perspective? Flexible, creative.
- What is the biggest obstacle keeping many millennials from professional greatness? Societal and self-induced pressure to find the “perfect” career right away.
- What do you remember most about being 25? I’m only 26, but for me, I was 25 when I decided to quit my job and go out on my own, so this was the most important thing for me from that year.
- What did YOU do to create YOUR professional opportunities? I quit my job and built my personal brand.
- Poker or Blackjack? Why? I am a terrible liar.
- Do you believe in … Lady Luck? Yes and no. I believe you have to know luck when you see it and also make your own opportunities.
- Do all emerging leaders need to think of themselves in terms of a ‘brand’ in order to differentiate themselves in the workforce today? Why…or why not? I don’t think you necessarily need to, but I think it helps exponentially.
- BONUS QUESTION: What is your advice to a young professional who has the drive, ambition, and talent to build a business, but also a fear of risk and change. You will never know if you don’t try.