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By Amy Hood

7 Things We Learned at MCON

Jen and Amy Hood on stage speaking at Millennial Impact Conference

1. Millennials are a mystery.

The MCON conference aims to peek into what motivates millennials and showcases the ways in which this generation’s inclination to “do good” can be translated into actions that make a difference. They’ve spent years researching, tracking and quantitating giving, volunteering and how millennials feel inspired and hooked into any given cause. Through their findings, they learned that…


“Relationships among peer co-workers are more influential than the relationships Millennial employees have with their immediate managers. Learning how to leverage this peer influence will increase participation in cause work, and management will benefit from increased employee satisfaction.”


Makes sense to us!


2. Change is hard and hindsight is 20/20.

National Geographic CEO, Gary Knell (more about him here), spoke on the controversy following the first time pioneering flash photographs of animals at night taken by George Shira III’s in July 1906. Following the publication of the images, which were the first images ever published in the magazine, two National Geographic Society board members resign in disgust, claiming the magazine was turning into a “picture book.” Now, over one hundred years later, the magazine is infamous for its photojournalism. Lesson: we can’t be resistant to change, but rather we must learn to adapt while still being true to our purpose and cause.


3. Change starts within.

“Your values – your origins – and how they’re expressed, wherever you are, allows you to move mountains” Daniel Lee (via @blackbaud)


Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, Daniel Lee, spoke of the company’s roots and history reaching back over the last one hundred and fifty years. Over that time, guided by their four core values of originality, empathy, integrity, and courage, LSF has had its hand on the pulse of political, social and tech changes. They created programs within their company that aided workers (ex: in 1983 they started employee led AIDs support groups) and encouraged them to aid others (ex: in 2000 they had the first Levi Strauss Community Day where employees now donate 1000’s of hours worldwide).


4. Change and progress come one revision at a time

“The most important thing in innovation is iteration.” – @alexisbonnell 

Take a second to read just a few of Alexis’ accomplishments and wonder what you’ve been doing for the last twenty years of your life. Alexis talked about how breakthroughs take time, patience and a lot of hard work.


5. “A great internal brand, will lead to a great external brand…but the people really create the emotional connection.” – @JonnyNemo

The values and the passions behind what you do as a group and a company is really what makes a company great, as Jonathan Neman of Sweetgreen explained at MCON. You can only put on a facade for so long before it begins to reek of dis-ingenuousness. Creating a good infrastructure and community within your company or organization will lend itself much more to a great product and customer-base.

Jen and Amy Hood with friends at MCON

6. Be yourself.

We’ll toot our own horns for a minute and quote ourselves:  “Millennials are like girls at bars, they can smell if your brand isn’t authentic from a mile away.” So you do you.


7. Chicago is awesome.

But we kinda saw that one coming.


Watch the video of the Hoods on the Design Panel here: MCON Design Panel Video

Chicago city view of the big bean called Cloud Gate with a crowd of people gathered and tall buildings in the background
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Chicago city view of tall buildings
Couches near and elevator by a bookshelf
Looking down at a tile floor with a view of the tops of black Converse shoes
Amy Hood standing near the subway train in Chicago
The Freehand Hotel Lobby in Chicago
A view of the city in Chicago from the rooftops
A photo of Chicago looking from the water to the city

Hush, no more words.

Creepy gif from The Simpsons of homer patting couch, telling you to come and sit

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