Feature: A Matter Of Perspective
Successful millennials appreciate Ottawa’s attractions
By Andrée Paige
Millennials are one of the fastest- growing demographic groups today, a natural target of marketers and brands whose goal is to engage and connect with them. They’re also a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. Whether climbing corporate ladders or launching their own businesses, millennials have the power to transform cultures, practices, and policies.
Some critics view “Generation Me” in unflattering terms, describing millennials as entitled, lazy, and lacking in life experience. But Lindsay Doyle, a consultant at Summa Strategies, disagrees. “The younger generation of professionals in Ottawa are some of the hardest-working people I know,” she says. Their approach to business emphasizes social media, consumer engagement, creative graphics, and branding. Doyle, who specializes in consumer issues and stakeholder relations, says that “they want their products and services to be different—they believe they have a unique story to tell.”
One such millennial is Amanda Ruddy of Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, who was recently promoted to the major events team. “I work with a team of about 130 employees—many of them millennials,” she says. “In my experience, what my generation has in common is a desire for collaboration, open communication, and meaningful goals.”. When they first entered the job market, Ruddy points out, most job postings “were asking for three to five years of work experience, just to get started.” Like so many others in that situation, she needed to “find stepping stones, get involved, and pursue challenging and rewarding work experiences.”
Bryan Vaughan is another motivated millennial. He works as a sales account executive at Versature, which delivers internet based business telephone solutions. Despite graduating from university around the time the recession hit, he was able to find work almost right away. “I pursued forward-thinking employers because I wanted to work for companies that were prepared for opportunities,” he says. “Ottawa has so many opportunities for people who thrive in agile environments.” Although Vaughan has a great career, he sees this city as offering a great quality of life. “Ottawa is shaking off its reputation as ‘the city that fun forgot,’” he says. “We have a lot to offer, socially and culturally.”
Ruddy, whose work involves preparing Ottawa to host the 105th Grey Cup Festival in November 2017, expects that the year of Canada’s 150th birthday will boost the city’s profile even further. “There are so many sporting, cultural, and social events taking place,” she says—not to mention all the restaurants, craft brewers, festivals, and concerts that local merchants and organizers have to offer. “We have a lot of creative ways to spread the word about the value of coming to Ottawa,” Ruddy says.
Millennials appreciate the city’s charms—and, Doyle says, “they demand more from it.” She’s been in Ottawa for eight years, and feels that the place “looks and feels dramatically different today from when I moved here. I look forward to seeing it in another eight years.”