You can’t go a day without the word millennial surfacing in discussions. Whether it’s a conversation focused on food trends, economics or the real-estate market, the influence of this demographic is significant. Certainly, previous generations can feel disheartened when pundits suggest they’ve become irrelevant. But isn’t that the way the world has always functioned? One generation supplants another as the dominant one. It wasn’t so long ago that baby boomers influenced trends and ruled the world. Now, it’s the millennials’ turn, as we give way to a new generation that will influence and inspire change.
Interestingly, what’s different about this generation is not that dissimilar from baby boomers. Millennials are not the first generation to be socially minded — after all, what were the ’60s if not a decade of social activism?
Still, this is a generation that promises to shake things up. Their smarts, innate understanding of technology as a tool to empower and effect change and their unwillingness to accept the status quo means we can expect ongoing changes to the way we run our businesses. As the first generation to grow up with technology, they’ve contributed to surging growth in food delivery, created the “gig” economy and made the world feel smaller through their proclivity to travel. This generation is unrelenting about the need for change, expecting it to occur faster than sometimes possible — whether it means saving the planet, pushing progress on the gender-equity front or finding new ways to solve age-old problems.
Clearly, new thinking is in the air and it makes for exciting days ahead. On that note, it’s my pleasure to announce that KML will now be producing the Top-30-Under-30 program (see story on p.17). The brainchild of Bruce McAdams, associate professor at the University of Guelph, and Charles Grieco, former president of the OHI, the program was launched 14 years ago in an effort to recognize young, rising stars from all segments of the industry. During its history, hundreds of individuals have been recognized, many of whom have gone on to stellar hospitality careers. With the recent passing of Grieco, the torch has now been passed to KML to take hold and move it forward. We’re thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to do so and we’re proud to continue recognizing tomorrow’s leaders who will undoubtedly make the industry more vibrant, more successful and more socially and ethically relevant.
We look forward to keeping our readers updated as to how the program will evolve in the future, but one factor will remain constant: by strengthening the Top-30-Under-30 program, we will continue to honour the memory of the man who made it all possible — J. Charles Grieco.