Confident and Driven: Why You Should Hire Millennials

I waited anxiously on the opposite side of the phone and, coincidently, the opposite side of the country as a woman who was holding a piece of my future in her hand dropped the bomb: “This is a really complicated program, and there just isn’t room for an intern. I can tell you have a lot of drive and will do great things.” What she didn’t have to add was those great things just will not be here. 

I hung up after taking down her information with plans to contact her again, her superior, and then her superior’s superior to see if there was someone who would listen to me and hear the truth in what I was speaking. I was offering to work- for free- for this company, to give up my entire summer, and to pioneer an innovative internship program (they didn’t have one) for the corporation’s charity platform that would bring awareness to their cause and ultimately increase business and revenue. I had a list of objectives that I knew I could accomplish in a summer, a strong knowledge of the program and company (I had worked at the corporation for almost two years) and had worked my way up the bureaucratic corporate ladder to find the right person to speak to, all of my own volition.

Still, after a mere 10 minutes on the phone I was shut down. It wasn’t because of my GPA, because of my qualifications, or even because of my lack of connections, so what was it? While I am not suggesting that it was because I am a millennial, I am saying that there is little to no reason to not let a young, passionate 20-something who says she wants to help you increase revenue and better your program work for you, for free, for an entire summer. I am saying that businesses who aren’t welcoming to millennials are MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE. Businesses: put in the extra work, create the internship, and take the risk- it may pay off in ways you never imagined.

I am a go-getter. I am driven, focused, communicative and willing to work hard for what I want. These are all antitheses to the stereotypes lobbed at my generation, the dreaded “millennials,” who roll their eyes at the idea of anything that doesn’t involve their iPhones, their Instagram, their Facebook, and their immediate gratification. I am not alone, either. In fact, I would argue that the majority of my peers, my comrades, and even my acquaintances do not fit the stigmatized opinion forced upon us by those who are either jaded by a bad past experience or are too- dare I say it- lazy to look for the hard-working, humble, ambitious millennials that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, while make up 50% of the workforce by 2020. 

If we are the people that are going to work for you and, quite possibly, one day be your boss, then why are companies like the one I interacted with hesitant to welcome us with internships and entry-level positions? Maybe because one bad apple ruins the whole barrel, and millennials that live up to the name- lazy, entitled, unwilling to fetch coffee, start at the bottom, or work hard- are the only ones these companies encounter. That being said, those of us who live outside of the stereotype are increasingly showing companies that will let us just why we are such an asset.

According to a study done by The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, millennials are a gain- not a burden- to your company. For one, millennials (those born between 1976 and 2001, for the purposes of this survey) are global- thinkers. In fact, 71% said that they would like to live abroad. In addition, they are eager to advance and grow within a company. 65% said that “the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job” and 52% says “opportunities for career progression made an employer attractive.” 

Millennials can bring a fresh perspective to your company. They can bring innovative ideas about marketing, about investing, about communication, and about expanding and reaching your demographic. We are the next generation of politicians, of businesspeople, of musicians and artists, of humanitarians and philanthropists and of entrepreneurs and CEOS and you do not want to miss an opportunity for us to fall in love with your company. 

 There is a tone of bitterness to this article. It’s a classic case of rejection: I was turned down by a company that I thought I could really benefit. That being said, this is greater than me. This is a plea to businesses to hire millennials, to give them a chance, and to be surprised. This article also serves as a warning, because if you don’t hire us- or at least employ us for an internship- we will take a lesson from our millennial playbook and move on, because our “entitlement”– let’s rephrase that, confidence has led us to believe that we have something to offer. 

 

 

The Paleo Diet: Changing Lives?

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My sister, Allison Niebauer, with some of her SCD delicacies

We have all heard it before, whether from a friend after a dramatic weight loss, or within the pages of a glossy magazine with accompanying before-and-after photos that leave our mouths agape: THIS DIET CHANGED MY LIFE. While trend diets tend to promise just that – a drastic change in feeling and appearance – the brevity of the results received and the toll which they take on one’s body are usually just as extreme.

Growing in popularity over the last 5 years, a new- or rather old, considering its origins date back to the Stone Age- diet trend has emerged: the Paleolithic diet, or “paleo” for short. Promising not only weight loss, but also increased health benefits for people suffering from a slew of maladies, including osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and even cancer, this pre-historic diet is coming back into fashion- and people are taking to it like cavemen to fire.

The Paleo Diet, which was developed through research done by Dr. Loren Cordain, has become a popular health trend, not only for those trying to fit into their bikinis or beat the winter bulge, but also for those who suffer from chronic illness or disease. Paleo relies on dieters going back to basics- unprocessed foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats and nuts, just like our earliest ancestors would have hunted and gathered for so long ago.

Personally, I know about Paleo because my sister, Allison Niebauer, follows a diet very similar to it, the “Specific Carbohydrates Diet,” as a means of controlling her Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that she was diagnosed with three years ago. Whereas the Paleo diet requires its adherents to abstain from cereal grains, refined sugar, dairy, salt, refined vegetable oils and processed foods, the SCD diet allows its constituents to consume specific types of dairy and legumes.

Although my sister remains my personal “face” for the Paleo/SCD diet trend, another young woman, Danielle Walker, has published a New York Times bestselling cookbook and has a popular website a blog due to her success with managing her Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease, through following the Paleo diet. Walker has gained success through sharing her story and publishing Paleo-friendly recipes on her website “Against All Grain” and in her cookbook of the same name.

Walker has been able to manage the symptoms of her disease and go without a flare-up since she has committed to strictly adhering to the Paleo diet. “I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease, when I was 22 years old,” said Walker on her website. “After a few years of suffering, multiple hospitalizations, and doctors telling me that what I ate wasn’t a factor in my disease, I decided to take matters into my own hands and drastically change my diet.”

Walker’s story is not unique, either. Hundreds of people with similar stories to her own post on her blog, on various health forums and on Paleo websites to speak of the transformation that they have undergone since committing to the Paleo or SCD diet. Doctors in support of the diet say that the typical Western diet is responsible for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more. However, the diet is not without controversy.

According to an article published by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on WebMD’s journal, “Some nutrition experts assert that humans have adapted to a broader diet including whole grains, dairy, and legumes. Others question the evidence for the diet’s evolutionary logic.”

While I can personally attest to the transformative impact that it has had on my sister, who has had significantly improved health since strictly adhering to the SCD diet, I can also acknowledge questioning the impact that abstracting multiple food groups from our diet that have been previously deemed as “good for you” (dairy? whole grains?). Skeptics wonder, what problems may arise from a lack of nutrients provided from a “well-balanced” diet?

By adhering to the Paleo or SCD diet, dieters are still consuming a wide-variety of foods and eating a balanced diet, but are avoiding foods that are hard for the body to digest, and that can cause heart problems later on. This isn’t the Atkins diet, which encourages dieters to cut out an entire food group in order to lose weight – this diet is, for many people, about better health; a form of medicinal therapy for serious ailments and disease that is more a lifestyle change than even a diet.

Cordain argues that even foods like grains and dairy, which seem to be good for us, come with a price. “Our genome has not really adapted to these foods, which can cause inflammation at the cellular level and promote disease,” she said in a statement to WebMD.

While I can’t imagine giving up grains and sugar, which seem to sneak their way into everything I consume, I have been floored by the power of our diet on our health and well being, as evidenced by my sister and many others who have found relief to ailments that were otherwise unsolvable with prescription medication.

As science evolves and we get more information on what is best for our bodies, we learn that the foods we once thought were most important for our health may now be our greatest demise. Trend or not, the findings of the Paleolithic diet are hard to ignore, and the testimonies of its followers speak for themselves on the power of this new-old diet.

 

INTERESTED?

Check out Allison Niebauer’s blog at: livingfullywithout.com

Check out Danielle Walker’s blog at: againstallgrains.com

The First Time I Got a Brother

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I’ve never wanted a brother. I haven’t blown out candles for a football-tossing, video gaming big guy, or gotten down on my knees for a bookish, intellectual little boy to join the ranks of the four powerful women and one resilient man who make up my family. Rather, I have basked in a childhood of shared emotions, shopping trips, movie nights, and aerosol hair spray. My father, bless his heart, has been enough “guy” to suffice for my family. I saw what my friends had with their brothers, and I didn’t envy it.

Here’s the thing about having beautiful, intelligent, charismatic, caring sisters: you aren’t the only one who finds them to be incredible.  I am not referring to their friends, or even their boyfriends, who may discover some of their magic and, if they’re smart, embrace it. I am talking about the one man who discovers them and is utterly enchanted. This happened to me. Twice. My sisters’ charm wasn’t lost on two lucky men, and so they got married. They are living happily ever after. As for me, I got exactly what I had never wanted: not one, but two brothers.

They’re not really your brothers, I can practically hear you smirking as you read my ironic disappointment through your computer screen. You’re wrong, though. They are as much a part of my family as my own kin, because, like it or not, when they married my sisters, they became a part of my sanctum. My family is my safe place, my place of fervent trust and vulnerability, of relaxation and utter reality. They are my toughest critics, and my biggest supporters. On my best day and my worst day, they treat me with love. My sisters invited two new people into that.

The day that Peter proposed to my sister Amy was like a turning point in a novel, the top of a roller coaster, the chase scene in a good spy film: I knew something big was happening. I was hyper aware of the change this presented in my family, and I felt an invasion on my sanctum taking place. My family reality had shifted, and I found, under anger and frustration at the present of a brother that I didn’t want, and at the prospect of a separation from my sister that I didn’t desire, fear. Fear that having a boy in my family would change how I acted, how my sister acted, how my parents acted, how my family acted. I was scared that I would lose my confidant and my friend to a man who had a warm smile and my sister’s affections.

The wedding planning ensued and I, with bitter acceptance, threw myself into being a supporter sister, helpful maid of honor, cooperative daughter and kind soon-to-be sister-in-law. I hate that title. It’s as if it’s mocking those of us who never asked for a brother, and emphasizing that whether or not you like it, BY LAW he is your brother. Thanks for that. A supportive, kind, funny, and genuine man who loves my sister and respects her deeply, I couldn’t dislike Peter, because I saw how happy he made Amy. I saw how much my parents cared for him (though I knew they felt the same way I did- wary of bringing someone new into the equation) and I saw how my middle sister, Allison, seemed to yearn for what Amy had found with Peter. The marriage went off without a hitch, and I could say without growing a nose that I liked Peter. He didn’t push me too hard, he didn’t interfere with my business, and he treated my sister well. Okay. Maybe I could handle the brother thing, if this was what it entailed.

In the weeks, months, and now years that followed my sister becoming Mrs. Peter Williams, I have ever so slowly opened the door to my family sanctum. Don’t misunderstand me – I still feel uncomfortable letting loose in front of my brothers in the same way that I do with my parents and sisters, and my sister’s name is still Amy Morris is my phone, but I have warmed up to the idea of having a brother. I don’t mind the addition of another body on the couch, or the difference in opinion that a male perspective brings. I think it’s endearing that Peter feels the need to protect me, and I desire a relationship with him that isn’t founded because we are bound “in law,” but that stems from a mutual respect and love for one another and for my family, and forming a relationship that looks more like that of two siblings from birth and less like one of two strangers brought together just mere years ago.

I’ve never wanted a brother. I was happy to remain steadfast in my family structure, to protect my sanctum, to push away new people. I think that’s exactly why it’s great that I got two. I am learning, often with much humility, pushback, and grace, that family is about more than what it gives to YOU, because it’s about what you give to IT. It’s about evolving and adjusting so that the things- the people- that bring your family joy and who show them love are welcomed with open arms. It’s about accepting the people who they present to you and giving them your best, but also giving them your real: your honest and raw portrayal of who you are, what you’re about, and what your family means to you. For me, that meant accepting that I got Peter and Mike as brothers. It means loving them and getting to know them and working with them to form a relationship that strengthens and compliments my relationship with my sisters and with my family. It means learning to love having brothers, and accepting that this change is one that will further strengthen my sanctum, not destroy it.

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My new family- BROTHERS and all!

Why Malala Matters: This sixteen-year old is changing the world

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Photo couresy of vitalvoices.org

Malala Yousafzai is a target. A native Pakistani who was shot by the Pakistani Taliban after advocating for girls’ education in her home country, she was nominated this year for a Nobel Peace Prize for her continued work in empowering young women through education. Last week, she met with President Obama and his family and was recognized by the United Nations Security Council. She has appeared on numerous talk shows and has met with the Queen of England. She has achieved international notoriety for her resilience and bravery, as well as for her peaceful response to the Taliban, who continue to try to kill her. Yousafzai is just sixteen.

Yousafzai has become an icon of resilience against injustice for girls in Pakistan and has used her notoriety to continue to promote her platform: that girls need education and that it is the lack of education available for girls keeping young girls in oppressive situations

Recently appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Yousafzai blew Stewart away with her answer when he questioned how she would respond if attacked by the Taliban again (she was formerly shot in the head and neck and made a miraculous recovery in England).

Yousafzai responded by saying, “I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well,” the Pakistani girl said. “That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”

Yousafzai is talking about peace and change when other girls her age are talking about Miley Cyrus and The Kardashians. Although she is disliked by many people in her country for her stance on education and disowned by others who don’t want to be targeted for agreeing with her ideals, she remains loving towards her country and hopes to one day serve as Prime Minister.

“Even if its people hate me,” she said in one interview, “I will still love it [Pakistan].”Speaking towards becoming Prime Minister, she told CNN,“I can spend much of the budget on education,”

Yousafzai continues to bravely press forward with her promotion of her new book, I am Malala, which not only describes her harrowing ordeal of being shot and her recovery after the fact, but also reiterates her hope for a brighter future for girls in Pakistan. She continues to be a target for the Taliban in Pakistan, and after she was not chosen as the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the Taliban expressed their sentiments.

“We are delighted that she did not get it. She did nothing big so it’s good that she didn’t get it,” spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told the Agence France-Presse. “She is not a brave girl and has no courage. We will target her again and we will strike whenever we have a chance,” Shahid previously told AFP.

In a culture obsessed with pop culture and tragedy, Yousafzai’s story is not the norm in the typical news line- up. Yousafzai’s story of courage and resilience has taken the nation by storm, and many people have spread Yousafzai’s story over social media. President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and their daughter Malia met with Yousafzai to commend her for her “inspiring” work for girls’ education in terrorism. In characteristic honesty, Yousafzai also had a few words for the president.

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Yousafzai told Stewart that she could not believe that the Taliban would want to kill her for her beliefs. She became a target for the Taliban after posting her thoughts on girls’ education on her blog. She also elaborated on how she would respond to an attack by the Taliban if it were to happen again, because as it stands, Yousafzai lives in England because of the danger that returning to Pakistan would pose to her.

“If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib,” she said. “You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education.”

Yousafzai continues to inspire through her peaceful response to violence and her steadfast dedication to her belief that girls have the power, when educated, to use their knowledge for good and to enact change.

“If a terrorist can change someone’s mind and convince them to become a suicide bomber, we can also change their minds and tell them education is the only way to bring humanity and peace,” she said at the World Bank Fund annual meeting, after insisting, “I am proud to be a girl, and I know that girls can change the world.”

On a personal note, I will add that I think girls like Malala give hope and promise to an often dark world. The realities of oppression and sexism are real, and although we are blessed to live in a country where, as women, we have made great strides towards equality, many of our sisters continue to struggle. I read in the NY Times that, recently, pastors in Pakistan have started preaching a message called “My daughter is a blessing, not a curse” following Malala’s work for female empowerment. How awful is it that a pastor would need to remind their congregation that their daughter is not a CURSE. What kind of effect does that kind of dialogue have on a young woman’s confidence, ability to thrive, vitality, or even will to live? My heart breaks for these women, but this also motivates me to continue to push for education and empowerment for women. I applaud Malala’s bravery and fierce loyalty to peace and to her cause, and I pray that I will have the ability and the drive to follow in her efforts to give women a fair chance to live well, to be loved, to be empowered, and to thrive. Oh, and all you women reading this? You are SUCH a blessing to this world.

Gap Inc’s secret weapon in fighting factory controversy: P.A.C.E.

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I wrote a new post last Friday for Millenial Influx and  #WCJ (Wheaton College Journalism) on Gap Foundation’s P.A.C.E. program, which seeks to empower female factory workers through education and career guidance. This was timely in light of yet another factory tragedy in Bangladesh last week :http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57606628/bangladesh-garment-factory-fire-kills-10/

I will be transparent and say this: I have worked for Gap, Inc. for over a year (Banana Republic) and am currently trying to look into the possibility of Gap, Inc. creating an internship for me this summer, where I would work for the P.A.C.E. program.

I understand Gap’s stance post- factory collapse last April (Rana Plaza), but also think that MORE needs to be done if they refuse to be held legally responsible. (Being an employee of the company, I got to hear more reasoning behind Gap’s decision to not sign the treaty/agreement made by British retailers and instead to make their own with several other big American retailers. 

That being said, I think programs like P.A.C.E. really matter. Having a presence on the ground, in the situation, and bettering the lives of their employees by empowering them to help themselves is something I believe in at my core. For that reason, I was really excited to write this article.

Read about Gap’s secret weapon in fighting factory controversy HERE

Here’s an excerpt from the post:

Gap, Inc., the $6 billion retailer with millions of Millennials for customers, has some ground to make up. Coming under fire last year for their controversial response to the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in which 1,132 garment workers died and another 2,500 were seriously injured, Gap Inc. is looking for a progressive solution to bettering conditions for factory workers in production countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia. This iconic American company may have found its solution in P.A.C.E., the Gap Foundation’s program to empower female factory workers (who make up 80% of factory workers) and to give them education and training to advance their careers – and their lives.

 

Rand Paul on the Rise?

Rand-Paul

Is this junior senator running for the White House?

An article written for Vogue magazine by journalist Jason Horowitz explores the rise of Rand Paul, the junior Senator of Kentucky. The article aims to provide background for the reader on who Paul is through giving details about his family life, upbringing, education, and notable political achievements. Paul has caused considerable buzz within the Republic Party, particularly after a filibuster this summer over President Obama’s use of drones, in which Paul argued his opinion for 13 hours straight. Giving the Senator a profile for which readers can get to know the quiet Paul and his family (the author argues that his wife, Kelly Ashby, is his “secret weapon”), the author aims to ask the million dollar question: Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win The White House?

HERE ARE THE BASICS:

WHO: Rand Paul, Junior Senator of Kentucky, Republican

WHAT: Paul’s rise to success within the Republic Party, the possibility of him running for president in 2016

WHERE: America, baby

WHEN: Now and, more specifically, in 2016.

WHY: Paul has had several substantial accomplishments while serving as junior Senator, could lead to a possible campaign for President (His dad is RON Paul… he tends to run for President, too…)

This article is not the first, nor the last, that we will see on Rand Paul. The Senator, though widely criticized even within the Republic Party for his Tea-Party ideas and constitutionalist stance on many issues, is beloved by many on the right (and particularly the far right). Paul has been praised for his hard-stance against many policies proposed and supported by Democrats, and has, thus far, upheld a clean private life. This article is particularly interesting, because instead of taking the style of the New York Times, Politico, Horowitz’s “home” publication, The Washington Post, or the like, it is written in typical colloquial Vogue style…. lots of background research, cheeky anecdotes, probing questions looking for a scandalous answer, and imagery that makes the reader feel as if they are part of the subject’s life. I chose this article, because it takes a more personal look at a public figure and discusses not only his past and private life, but also looks at the accomplishments he has had in his position as junior senator and the feathers he has rustled- both outside of the Republican party and within.

Articles like this one will only get more prevalent during 2014 and certainly during 2015 as possible candidates for president emerge before the 2016 election. Even in this article, which merely muses on the idea of Paul running as President (and doesn’t truly answer the question of if he could win, instead leaving it to readers to decide), Hillary Clinton is mentioned as a possible “opponent” of Paul’s, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and, on the Republican side, Ted Cruz. Readers can use this article to begin to understand the possible candidates for the 2016 presidency or, if nothing else, see a decidedly different view to that of our current president, Barack Obama.

Information is power, and knowing about possible candidates before the race has even begun is one more way for Vogue readers (though they may just be looking for the newest Marc Jacobs collection) to be in the know and ahead of the trend.

Original Article HERE: http://www.vogue.com/magazine/article/republican-senator-rand-paul-for-president/#3