Ten lessons from ColorComm's Next Generation Summit

We can't expect young talent to thrive if we don't invest in it, says Lauren Wesley Wilson, founder and CEO of ColorComm.

From the left; Lauren Wesley Wilson, ColorComm; Zara Rahim, The Wing; Nikki Ogunnaike, GQ;  Alencia Johnson, Warren for President
From the left; Lauren Wesley Wilson, ColorComm; Zara Rahim, The Wing; Nikki Ogunnaike, GQ; Alencia Johnson, Warren for President

ColorComm’s Next Generation Summit (#C2NEXTGEN) brought together over 300 future leaders of color in communications, marketing, advertising, media and digital at Chelsea Piers in New York on Friday, November 15. C2NEXTGEN was created by young leaders for young leaders who want their concerns, issues, and opportunities addressed.

Professional development is often reserved for middle and senior managers, employees with proven contributions. Rarely do agencies and corporations invest big in professional development for entry level employees and rising star talent.

This year, ColorComm brought together 50+ Fellows for its third Annual Fellows program intended to cultivate the next generation of leaders. They were selected based on contributions to the industry and how they give back to their communities.

Young talent needs guidance on how to add value at their companies, how to advocate for themselves, how to work with a variety of generations, and how to use their voice to influence change. We can’t expect early talent to thrive if we don’t invest in it.

Here are ten lessons from the gathering.

You are responsible for your career. Don’t put the sole responsibility into your boss or manager.

Learn when to pick your battles. Not every conversation deserves an ongoing teachable moment over microaggressions.

Take control of your financial future and learn to invest early.

If the first time you advocating for yourself is at the negotiating table, it’s already too late.

It’s ok to ask for help. We are all here on the shoulders of the people who’ve helped us along the way.

Identifying allies is a great way to get help, no matter their color or gender.

Be wary of toxic work environments and stand up for yourself.

Talk to your friends and people in the industry about salary. Have an open and honest dialogue about salary amounts to know where you stand.

Be prepared for the unknown and be flexible enough to handle big changes, like a job loss or family emergency.

Leaders don’t need to be a certain age or have a big title. You can start today.

Lauren Wesley Wilson is the founder and CEO of ColorComm.

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