State Senator Jennifer Flanagan joined Mount Wachusett Community College’s Center for Civic Engagement and local nonprofits for a workshop on the ongoing, universal transfer of leadership from baby boomers to Generation X and millennials. The Nov. 19 event in MWCC’s North Café was part of Enterprise Bank’s Non-Profit Collaborative and added to the 145 organizations previously trained by the Center.
Led by MWCC Director of Community Learning Shelley Errington Nicholson, the forum also included remarks from President Daniel M. Asquino and Director of Experiential Learning Opportunities and Civic Engagement Fagan Forhan.
To promote smooth leadership transitions and the inclusion of new voices, Nicholson explained the subtle differences between the three generations, including their core values, attributes, work ethics and values, and preferred work environments. Representatives also brainstormed potential strategies for integrating employees from different generations and shared effective methods introduced by their own organizations.
“If we’re going to be fair and provide leadership, we need to structure our environment so that people from different generations and cultures can succeed. This is what we try to do at MWCC,” said President Asquino, who also praised Enterprise Bank for its commitment to civic engagement. “We have to understand the people we work with and how they respond to situations and environments.”
“Baby boomers need to be mentors and help with institutional knowledge,” said Senator Flanagan. “The top people in companies need to be thinking forward – Who’s going to be part of this company in five years?”
Senator Flanagan also referenced the value of her internship under former State Representative Mary Jane Simmons and encouraged attendees to view colleges as “a pool.”
“The dynamic in our office has changed a lot by having student staff,” said Forhan. “It has grounded us in a different way and changed our perspective, and they feel ownership over their decisions.”
“How are you going to know what good customer services looks like if you don’t have those young voices?” said Nicholson. “We all have a dedication to work, but it looks different.”
– Cameron Woodcock