When I think of my generation, the first word that comes to mind is authenticity. Whether referring to the sincerity of a person, the intentions of a business associate or the commitments of a company, authenticity reveals truth. To connect with Gen Y, be authentic and truthful.

We are comfortable with who are; for example, we have no problem attending networking events to meet new people. From a young age, we were used to being dropped off at cotillion, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, soccer practice, etc. We grew up in world where each hour of our day was planned out for us with activities. In that kind of world, it is only natural to find comfort in immediately establishing relationships with the new people we meet. Today that continues through a different channel, that of social networking on websites like Facebook or MySpace that allow us to build new relationships and stay connected.

We cultivate these relationships with one thing in mind: trust. One common trait of Generation Y is that we have lived through some traumatic historical events in the prime years of our development—9/11, Columbine, Virginia Tech, the war in Iraq—and thus we seek stability through trust. To create trust, we believe we must establish a constant flow of communication. We want to receive immediate feedback so we can improve when things aren’t going well, and most of all, we like to be praised when they are.

When it comes to prospecting, we are very comfortable talking to people about what we do or what we sell, as long as it’s something we are passionate about. Living in a world of immediacy, another muscle we developed is our ability to be efficient, in our private lives as well as in the work place. This allows us additional time to do the things in life that make us happy. Growing up, many of us “Millennials” had working moms and dads who did not get to spend the time with us that we desired. Therefore, an interesting trend is showing a growing number of entrepreneurs who call their own shots—schedule their hours, work from home and don’t succumb to predetermined levels of income.

More than anything, Generation Y has a social consciousness unlike any other generation. We care about others; a recent survey of 1,800 young people found that 61 percent of thirteen- to twenty-five-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. With that type of mentality, we are bound to make a difference.

I know I make a difference in people’s lives every day by making them feel better, look better, have more time and financial freedom through my business. Most importantly I help them impact other people’s lives—and for a Gen Y, nothing is more rewarding.

BRITTANY KARLEN is twenty-two and a recent graduate from the
Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
She achieved a triple concentration in entrepreneurship, real estate
development and management communication while graduating
Summa Cum Laude. She now works as a full-time network marketing
leader and was featured in the July/August 2004 issue.