Perhaps it is that I have long chosen to have a glass three quarter full, or perhaps there truly is more optimism in the air.
Whatever the reason I know the view from my perspective is brighter and more inspiring than at any time in recent memory. The month of May brought several opportunities my way, including attending the Tahoe Chamber Leadership Lake Tahoe’s “Elevate Your View” summit on May 10 followed by attending the Masters and Doctorate Commencement Ceremonies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas. Both events impressed upon me the caliber and commitment of the “millennials” aka Gen Y who are poised to assume the boomer’s roles in government, business and community during the next 15 years.
At the LBJ graduation ceremony I was surprised by the number of dual degrees awarded including Public Health, Law, Science and Global Studies coupled with an M.A. or PhD. In Public Affairs. Here was an entire group of millennials preparing for their futures and the future of society! A broad spectrum of communities will benefit from their expertise as some were bound for D.C. while others were headed to rural and urban towns across the US, with the balance traveling to nations far from here.
The Commencement Address was given by Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, the youngest mayor ever elected to a Top 50 American city and nominated yesterday by President Obama to be secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Castro spoke about the importance of preparation in order to know how to play the game to win. He encouraged them to surround themselves with those who see more potential in themselves than they see themselves, and then, to become one of those people. He reinforced that their studies had made them thoughtful and well-schooled government, non-profit and policy specialists who have the potential to positively impact the outcome of myriad controversies and challenges in their communities.
At the LLT Elevate Your Summit the message from keynote speakers and numerous panelists was of a similar vein. Preparation, and a willingness to advocate on behalf of policy changes to improve your community, whether through clever grassroots campaigns or running for office were oft repeated. However, the most inspiring aspect of the day was the professionalism and commitment exhibited by members of the LLT class of 2014. They took nothing more than the mere concept of producing a leadership summit to heart, and gave our community a once in a lifetime opportunity to gather, listen, discuss and celebrate.
Congratulations to all 2014 graduates no matter where you have studied. You will achieve great things because of your training — even when life throws you a curveball. The boomers stand ready to share our wisdom (where useful) and support you in transitioning to the leadership roles you have prepared for. I for one am toasting you from my three quarter full glass in appreciation, for allowing me to think about the future in a way that provides both comfort and excitement.
And finally, whether graduating or not — we all have an opportunity to exhibit our personal leadership by voting on June 3 (Califorinia) or June 10 (Nevada) in the primary election.
“B” Gorman, B.S., J.D., A.C.E., is the president and CEO of TahoeChamber.