The “Why” Behind NextGen Center

Over the past 10 years, I’ve held jobs in many different fields, from the U.S. military to large corporations.

Even with such a wide range of experience, there was one theme I noticed in all of my jobs: The workplace always had its fair share of dysfunction.

Although I knew I couldn’t expect perfection from any employer, I began to wonder: What makes managing a workplace and communicating effectively so difficult? Don’t we all want to do away with the stress and spend our time on energy on more positive things?

It wasn’t until I became a manager myself that I realized the root of the problem — I never felt properly prepared, so maybe others like me also weren’t getting the support and resources they needed to be productive and effective.

My management philosophy took form in response to these experiences.  As a manager, I strove to be different from the management I received, and envisioned more of what I would want as an employee.  I worked hard, putting in endless amounts of hours and making myself available to my team 24/7. I did my best to serve my team and my company at the same time.

But over time, it became clear that I needed to do more than put systems in place to help me be the best manager I knew how to be. I needed to prepare and support others in their management and leadership journeys.

When I heard about coaching, the idea excited me: Here was a set of resources to help move workplaces from where they currently are to where they actually want to be. But these coaches only seemed available to the executive level of a company, which meant that organizations expected results to trickle down from the top. They didn’t get to the issue that I had discovered through personal experience — lack of resources and training for young, emerging leaders.

I believe training and development at this level is critical. It’s more effective for emerging leaders to learn skills earlier, before they develop habits, so they can execute and improve throughout their careers. These young leaders can then pay it forward, and serve as mentors and examples for the next generation.

When I think of this demographic — the young, emerging leader — I remember how helpful I would have found a resource like this when I tackled my first management job. And today’s young workers — that is, millennials — care about growth and development. In fact, data shows that they care more about personal growth than professional growth.

But where can emerging leaders find resources to help them with this growth?  There are online resources, but few in-person opportunities for young professionals in this area.  I saw this lack of access as a problem, and I wanted to take steps to improve it, to enable everyone in the workforce to receive the benefits and training for effective management and leadership.

Enter NextGen Center. We are building the infrastructure necessary for young leaders to find a community for professional development. In this community, they will build skills, knowledge, and abilities to figure out how to navigate challenges. It’s geared toward a younger demographic to give employees an early start in effectively understanding themselves as they interact and lead others.

We don’t only focus on our participants’ professional lives — we also take the personal side into account. We know that young professionals are adjusting to many personal changes — new homes, partners, children, and more — while simultaneously going through professional changes — new positions, responsibilities, promotions. The communication skills and “soft skills” of business that we teach help our participants succeed in both these realms.

And NextGen Center isn’t only a win for millennial workers. It’s also a great resource for small and medium-sized companies that often want to invest in their employees’ professional development, but don’t have the time or resources to build in-house training. By relying on NextGen Center to develop their employees, companies can reap dividends without missing a beat.

But don’t take my word for it. Keep reading through our blog posts to get a sense of our philosophy, then consider our program and come see for yourself.  We invite you to become part of the community we’re building.