Last week while visiting Chicago, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend MCON 2015. #MCON is an opportunity for corporate, nonprofit and public leaders to gather and discuss current movements that are shaping the way we think about our world from the perspective of art, media and business. Set in the Museum of Contemporary Art in the heart of Downtown Chicago, it was a cool experience to explore my hometown and learn from thought leaders about the power of influence in the areas of social media, philanthropy, civic activism and more. While there was so much amazing information shared within the two-day affair, below are a few important gems that left me feeling inspired and empowered to move forward:
1. Create a personal manifesto that gets you excited to live your purpose each and every day. Artist Stephen Kenn kicked off #MCON by sharing this powerful statement that has really inspired me to take step back and re-evaluate how I want to leave my mark on the world. During his presentation, he spoke about how he started his business with his wife four years ago in which he designs and manufactures furniture in Los Angeles, California. He also shared obstacles he had to overcome, how his faith really sustained him through those tough times and what he hopes to achieve next. "Great art is the manifestation of conviction," Stephen said. He also encouraged the audience to "fight comparison and discover your greater narrative."
2. Trends fade. Truths remain. Sisters Amy and Jennifer Hood, foudners of Hoodzpah Design Co. and Steve Alfaro of Voto Latino were the experts featured on the Art Panel. Expanding on the design discussion that Stephen started, Amy, Jennifer and Steve shared how design is truly important to telling a great story. They also shared how important it is for brands and companies must keep it real when marketing to the millennial generation. "Millennials can smell from a mile away when marketing tactics are fake and overbearing," Amy Hood said. "When planning a marketing campaign, it's important to discover a way to engage your audience in a fun and authentic way."
3. Stay vulnerable, humble and self-aware. My favorite one-on-one conversation was with Jonathan Newman, co-founder of Sweetgreen. (For those of you that don't have the luxury of living near a Sweetgreen, please remind me to take you when you visit The District - it's AMAZING.) Anyway, Jonny shared a number of great gems during his talk, but the one gem that stuck the most was when he began to speak on leadership. "Humility, self-awareness and vulnerability opens you up to human connection," he said. "It's okay that you don't know everything. Be willing to ask for help." As an emerging millennial leader, I think this point is EXTREMELY important for us to fully comprehend. The more we elevate, it will be critical for us to reach up, reach out and reach back to ensure success all around.
4. In change, there is so much opportunity. This is also another pearl of wisdom from Jonathan Newman, but after hearing all of the amazing speakers, this is overarching thought that brings everything together. No matter which sector you may work in, there is always a chance to bring forth something new, dynamic and fresh. There's always a better way to connect with people, a new way to use time effectively and ways to work smarter and not harder. As millennials, we're at a point in our lives where we can craft the next chapter of our journeys. We have the power to influence the way our global community connects, creates and solves problems. We must be willing to take that leap of faith in order to make it happen.
Overall, I enjoyed #MCON and hope to attend next year. Many thanks again to the good people at Achieve for the opportunity to attend such an inspiring event. Want to learn more about #MCON? Visit the MCON website and follow Achieve on Twitter.