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Jack Eimer: Have the Courage to Bet on Youth

Although there are widespread differences between this generation and their “Generation X” and “baby boomer” corporate leaders and managers, there are also significant strengths. The challenge for today’s leadership is to not only accept these differences, but to embrace them.
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Jack Eimer
Jack Eimer

Was I in the right place at the right time? No! Was I experienced enough for my responsibilities? Not even close! But at age 25, I was sent to Denver to start a regional office for a national company. At age 28, I led project management for the largest building in the world at that time (the $4.5 billion University of Riyadh). At 30, I was the youngest member on a public company board, and, at age 33, I started my own development company.

Why? Because a 40-year-old CEO by the name of Chuck Thomsen placed huge bets on a number of young, green professionals—me included—and placed us in positions of responsibilities that could never be supported by our age or experience. Today I hear several negative comments regarding the “Millennials,” including: “They don’t have a strong enough work ethic,” “They share a strong sense of entitlement” and “They view things with a self-centered focus.” As a general comment, I don’t buy it.

Although there are widespread differences between this generation and their “Generation X” and “baby boomer” corporate leaders and managers, there are also significant strengths. They have the ability to truly unleash the power of modern day technology, they have few preconceived notions, they share a reliance on teaming and, of course, they have an unbridled optimism. These will likely prove to be key ingredients for our industry’s successful future leaders.

The challenge for us, today’s leadership, is to not only accept these differences, but to embrace them. Let our generation have the courage to bet on youth. I believe we will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Jack Eimer is Central region president of Transwestern. Contact him at [email protected].

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