From The Editor: Change Agents


Issue 48, Number 3

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s been said youth is wasted on the young. And, not surprisingly, it’s usually older generations that utter that maxim. So when today’s ruling baby boomers survey the changing landscape and see a proliferation of millennials eager to make headway, it’s not surprising they wonder whether this generational cohort will effectively function as leaders.

Many baby boomers view millennials with a dose of skepticism, believing their work ethic doesn’t match boomers’ exacting standards, and viewing them as an entitled and narcissistic bunch. Indeed, there’s a great divide between these two groups. But isn’t that the prevailing sentiment typically expressed by most preceding generations?
For boomer managers who are driven by a strong work ethic, and an innate belief that one should pay their dues, it’s hard to trust a generation intent to accommodate their personal lives first, seeking instant gratification, while craving technology and connections so desperately that they are more obsessed with the number of likes they garner on Facebook.

On the other hand, who’s to say that the above sentiments reflect nothing more than stereotypes? And who’s to say their way is the wrong way? Say what you will about millennials, but this cohort is probably the smartest generation we have ever produced. They’ve been educated longer than previous generations, they’ve been raised with more technology at their disposal, they’ve travelled more and been exposed to various experiences, they’re environmentally conscious and socially aware, and they’re often principled and driven to make sound ethical choices. And, one day soon they will be tomorrow’s leaders (see Top 30 Under 30 story on p. 23).

Generation Y won’t put up with the status quo for the sake of it. Consider this: recently, four female students from the University of Alberta became so fed up with sexism in Edmonton restaurants that they created an interactive blog “exposing the shameful underbelly of the food industry,” according to a story by Stephanie Dubois in The women created F.E.D. U.P. (Feminist Eatery Database Undercover Project), a website where victims could submit stories of sexism in the service industry. Almost instantly the group received several responses from women subjected to sexism from either employers or customers. The women hope to create a database of restaurants that have been identified by respondents so consumers can make informed choices as to whether they want to patronize these establishments.

“Everyone knows there’s a lot of crap in the service industry that girls especially put up with,” Tempo Sabatier, one of the four women associated with the project, is quoted as saying by “We’re giving them an anonymous space to share their story.”

It’s a bold, clever and audacious move and one that reflects what millennials are all about. With any luck, maybe this generation will be the change agents this industry needs to evolve in new and meaningful ways.

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Rosanna Caira
Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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