Here is what I learned at the Next Gen Summit

As entrepreneurs, it’s critical that we are intentionally taking the necessary measures to invest in ourselves.

One of the best ways to invest in yourself is with conferences that are designed to equip you with knowledge, resources, and a network of people to take you to the next level.

Recently, I attended the Next Gen Summit which was held at the Convene in downtown Manhattan. The Summit was filled with entrepreneurs, students, and business owners. In its the fifth year, it delivered on its promise to connect entrepreneurs to mentorship, knowledge, and networking opportunities. Curated sessions were available to everyone and anyone from students to entrepreneurs. It amazed me of how many students coming straight out of college already have or in the development of businesses. 

Check out some insights from some of the sessions.

From left to right (Jeannie Kim, Editorial Director at The Muse, Ariel Garten, Founder at Muse, Dr. Tarika Barrett, Chief Operating Officer, Girls Who Code and Mimi Rushton, Head of Corporate FX North America, Barclays)

Spotlight Panel: Trailblazing Women in Business and Technology

The Trailblazing Women in Business and Technology panel was nothing short of amazing.  “Do what you care about and find the common thread that runs through your experiences?” said Dr. Tarika Barrett, Chief Operating Officer of Girls Who Code. She touched on her experiences and taking risks in her career. “No one has a completely linear path to get where they are. Nurture your professional and personal networks.” “Try things you may fail at.” Dr. Tarika Barrett referenced the book Brave, not Perfect by author Reshama Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code.

Jeannie Kim, Editorial Director at The Muse, discussed reinventing herself in her career. Jeannie worked in magazines leading and executing the strategy for Health brands across platforms. When it was time to make a switch as the magazine print industry was declining, she reviewed her interests and where her skills intersect. Jeannie found that during her spare time, she gave out career advice. Her role as Editorial Director at The Muse was a perfect match with her skills she obtained working in the print industry with something she was unconsciously doing which was giving out career advice.

From left to right (Carole Irgang, Executive Partner, IB iX, Michelle Chin, General Manager, Evolution Fresh, Jeri Fniard, Angel Investor, Christina Roperti, Director of Communications, Groupe SEB and Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO NA Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever).

Branding in the Digital Age

The Branding in the Digital Age panel was filled with many nuggets for business owners and individual personal brands. Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP & COO NA Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever dropped many gems.

Some of the things she reminded us of were: You have to be clear on your brand promise. Be clear on who your customer is. What is your product promise? Your brand promise is rooted in a set of values. What do you believe in? That leads to storytelling. There are so many ways to reach people in the digital world. Make the right strategic choices. Do your research and find out what brands are doing it well. 

The Daily Pennsylvanian

Branding a legacy as an Athlete, Entrepreneur, and Activist

Brandon Copeland gave a real-life example of turning a negative into a positive. After getting selected to play for a team during practice, he got injured and thought he would be out for four weeks, but after seeing the team doctor was told he would have to sit out for six weeks. Instead of wallowing, Brandon used the six weeks off to focus on real estate. During the six weeks, he flipped houses. Finding your why is essential. What is your why? Brandon shared tidbits about his grandfather’s difficult upbringing growing up in the south and making it through many unimaginable obstacles that for him, there is no excuse to not achieving his dreams. Brandon’s why is his family, financial freedom, and legacy.

Failure is inevitable, so have fun while pursuing your dreams.

Brandon shared a story about going through the process of being selected for an NFL team. About 90 players got chosen, and he was practically number 101. He was told going into the training that he would not get selected, so he changed his mindset going into the training and just had fun with the sport he loved. He later got selected with a team.

Written by Mish Saka

Mish Saka is a creative Human Resources leader in New York City. She loves creating employee programs and internal HR systems using an entrepreneurial approach. Her side hustle is working entertainment events with exclusive companies like the Vanity Group, Gate Pass Entertainment and the WIE Network. During her time-off from work she loves to travel and learn about different cultures. She has traveled to Nigeria, Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Thailand.