Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Generation Y in the workplace

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Abercrombie & Fitch Gen Y employees present at ALPFA regional conference in DC

Abercrombie & Fitch Gen Y employees present at ALPFA regional conference in DC

When it comes to younger employees in the workplace, I’m fascinated by the resistance that so many managers are experiencing. I was at a conference last week where we heard a great presentation by a Gen Y woman about Gen Yers. She was dressed with jeans, a cut off T-shirt and a short, informal jacket. Not your regular business attire but very appropriate for the issues she was discussing: “Gen Yers are different; they don’t dress like their older colleagues; they don’t think like you, so deal with it!” She was very vivacious, smart and funny and brought home various ways to get along with this generation that outnumbers the two previous generations of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

After the 45-minutes long presentation about why the Millennials are the way they are and how to best deal with them, you could sense a distinct split reaction in the audience. Some of us loved the presenter. Some disliked her so much they wished they could wipe the grin off her face and, while they were at it, wipe the grins off the faces of all the members of this new generation that they don’t understand.

However, if many in the audience could actually hear some of the points that this woman raised regarding the creation of this generation — namely that they’ve been raised by over-indulgent Baby Boomer parents who provided everything from Kindergarten consultants to Math Summer Camps and volunteer opportunities in Guatemala, bought them every electronic gadget under the sun starting at the tender age of three, and encouraged them to be inquisitive and stand up for what they believe in — maybe they’ll identify with those parents and realize they bear some of the responsibility for the outcome.

And if they could step away for a minute from their “I’m right; you’re wrong” way of thinking and hear the presenter’s wise observations regarding how to manage this generation (among some of her tidbits she emphasized explaining why things need to be done in a certain way, allowing for work flexibility, offering Gen Yers the electronic gadgets they consider vital to functioning, and understanding that they welcome coaching and guidance from adults), perhaps they’ll learn some strategies that will help them better deal not only with their employees but with their kids as well.

It’s always difficult for one generation to welcome a new one in the workplace. But the Millennials have so much to offer in terms of creativity, energy, social entrepreneurship spirit, intrinsic understanding of technology, and leveraging the power of a flat world that we should all make an effort to help them transition into the workforce seamlessly and to develop the skills that are still necessary to succeed. They are inheriting a less than ideal world with plenty of major crises to attend to, none of which they helped create. I, for one, want to make sure they are well prepared to deal with what’s facing them.

Free workshops for parents of students going to middle school

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Learning Leaders is offering a wonderful series of free workshops for parents of 5th graders on making the transition to middle school called: How Can I Help My Child in Middle School?

These workshops are made possible by the generous support of New York City Council. They will take place in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan every week in March.

All workshops are from 10 Am to Noon. Here are the topic and dates:

1 Help! My Child is Going to Middle School!
Learn what middle schools are like and how you can help your child make the transition.

2 Help! My Child is Almost a Teenager!
Learn about changes during adolescence and how to communicate with your child.

3 Middle School Academics: How Can I Help?
Learn about skills and knowledge children must acquire in 6th grade to do well in middle and high school.

4 I Want to Go Back to School! Help?
Learn about opportunities to go to college, get a GED, take ESL classes and/or learn computer programs.

Brooklyn College
East 27th Street & Campus Road
Student Center, 6th floor

Monday, March 2– Workshop 1
Monday, March 9– Workshop 2
Monday, March 16– Workshop 3
Monday, March 23– Workshop 4

Saint Francis College
180 Remsen Street, btw Court & Clinton Streets
1 block from Borough Hall, Brooklyn
Wednesday, March 4– Workshop 1
Tuesday, March 10– Workshop 2
Tuesday, March 17– Workshop 3
Tuesday, March 24 — Workshop 4

Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road
at Briggs Avenue

Friday, March 6– Workshop 1
Friday, March 13– Workshop 2
Friday, March 20– Workshop 3
Friday, March 27– Workshop 4

Learning Leaders office
80 Maiden Lane, 11th floor
Between William and Pine in lower Manhattan

Thursday, March 5– Workshop 1
Wednesday, March 11– Workshop 2
Thursday, March 26– Workshop 3
Tuesday, March 31– Workshop 4

To register for one or more of these workshops, email or call 646-519-8356. Please include your name, telephone number, borough, school and the date of the workshop(s) you want to attend. Your message will confirm your reservation.

Don’t miss them!

Latinos and Computers

Monday, November 24th, 2008

    I’m just back from Chicago where I presented the last workshop of the RMHC/HACER series in five cities throughout the country. It was another very successful event with close to 800 participants.

We had around 300 parents in my Spanish workshop and around 60 in the English one. And even though the program took place at Benito Juárez High School people came from many different high schools in the area.

I talked about what parents could do while their kids are in high school to make sure they get into college. One aspect that I feel needs to be addressed very seriously is the importance of buying a computer for your home. Most Latino households have more than one TV and many have a high end flat screen TV. However, they don’t have a much more needed tool for students to succeed in today’s education environment: a computer.

Computers are not only crucial for students to do research and be up to date with technology, but it’s key for parents to understand what their children are doing online, and to support them in searching for scholarships and colleges and to get other information. There are great resources available on the net that both parents and students miss out on because they don’t have a computer at home.

Setting priorities straight will help you and your loved ones get ahead. Forget the expensive sneakers or the truck you don’t need. Invest that money in a computer. It’s one of the best ways to show your children that education is important for you.

Money and Children

Friday, March 28th, 2008


    I was at CS 92 in the Bronx, NY, today taping a segment for Bloomberg TV about children and money.

    Ms. Cunningham’s fourth grade class of eighteen English learners (in the picture with Ms. Ana Celia Delgado, Assistant Principal), had been preparing all week for this event. They had learned about credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, and making change.

      I had them at the library for half an hour where I asked them about the value of money and what they did with what they received as gifts and allowances. It surprised me to hear that a few of them were saving to go to college!! Others were incredibly generous: they were saving to help their parents in case of an emergency.

      During the past week they had also conducted some interesting research: they asked third, fourth and fifth graders around the school a few questions: 1) who received an allowance, 2) who saved, 3) who spent it, and 4) who shared it.

        Their discovery may be something for the adults in the family to pay attention to: the younger ones are saving at a much higher rate than the older kids who seem to already be caught in our consumerist society. Given the current economic situation of this country where savings levels per capita are close to 0, wouldn’t it be a great time to start teaching our kids about the value of money early on?

          The students in CS 92 have surely learned very important lessons about saving money this week, and I hope you can catch them on TV soon.

          What parents can do to help students get to college

          Thursday, March 27th, 2008

          This short video in Spanish gives parents a few tips on what they can do to help their students get on the path to college.

          The leaders of the future

          Saturday, March 8th, 2008


          This Friday and Saturday, the Hispanic Support Organization, the Latino employee group of Verizon, sponsored a youth conference within its main conference for high school students of the New York area. I was one of the keynote speakers for the youth conference and had the great opportunity to meet a wonderful group of young students. 

          We talked about leadership, mentors, the value of internships and community service. They were actively engaged and openly offered their insights and opinions.  For one of the final activities I asked them to chose one of five topics for a letter to Verizon as a way of thanking the company for this opportunity.  

          The letters they wrote show the great impact that people who spoke at the conference had on them, they reflect how many new concepts they learned and how much they appreciated being taken seriously as the leaders of the future.  

          One of the last questions I was asked before my workshop was over was: “What did you learn from us today?” I had learned so much, it was hard to put into a few words.  Yet undoubtedly, one of the most important lessons I learned, I told them, was that the bad reputation that today’s youth has of being apathetic and uninterested is undeserved. These teenagers showed me that they are passionate about their community and their advancement, that they want to acquire as much knowledge as they can, that they are respectful of the adults around them and that they have a lot to say and to offer. 

          Maybe it is us, the adults, who need to create more opportunities for teenagers to show the world what they are made of and how they plan to lead the next generation. 

          Parents worry…

          Friday, January 25th, 2008

          I got an email today from a concerned mother who lives in Texas. Her 6 year old daughter is not getting along well with kids in school although she has no trouble with English or with academics.

          After a long description of her daughter’s encounters with other children it is apparent to me that she could benefit from consulting with a therapist. But this is a taboo topic in the Latino community and many parents who notice that their children are having difficulties, don’t take the necessary steps to get them all the help they need.

          If your goal is to have a happy and healthy child, that includes his or her mental and emotional health. Asking for a professional opinion at the right time may avoid years of difficulties in the future.

          You may go to the American Psychoanalytic Association:, click on “find an analyst” and then enter your city, state and zip code to find a list of professionals in your area. You can call and find out if they specialize in children and then set up an appointment.

          Very often kids only need a few sessions to get over whatever problems they may be experiencing.


          When students miss opportunities

          Thursday, January 10th, 2008

          audiencia-completa-2.jpgIt’s hard to learn about students who are not going to college because they can’t afford it. There are so many scholarships out there…

            The problem is that sometimes those who could guide and support students in the process of applying (guidance counselors, parents) are not familiar with the opportunities available for Latino students. Other times, kids get discouraged when they hear that they need to write an essay (or a few of them) not knowing that once they write the essays they can use them for multiple submissions. Or they get frustrated once they are turned down for a particular scholarship unaware that they can apply to numerous ones at the same time.

          One other problem seems to be that when the best student in a class submits his/her application to a scholarship, his/her peers give up participating. Yet, there are scholarships like Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) HACER with a focus on community involvement and not on GPA.

            The application period for many scholarships ends soon. HACER’s, for instance, ends February 15th and you’d be surprised how many students let the opportunity go by. Last year, the HACER chapter of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area distributed 50,000 applications and they only received 1,700 back!Find info on this scholarships visiting

          Can´t get a job?

          Monday, December 17th, 2007


          There is a higher level of unemployment in Argentina than in the US and although the two countries are very different, lack of proper education, is one of the reasons why some people can´t find a job in either country.

            It becomes evident when I talk to employers who have been looking for employees for a long time and can´t fill their openings. “We´ve been interviewing for sales people for our upscale clothing stores for the past six months to no avail. There is a severe shortage of suitable candidates,” a human resources director tells me.This seems to be the case for a wide range of positions. In an attempt to prepare the future workforce, more and more companies are offering training programs for college students and graduates who wish to enter a particular industry, evidence that the global talent war has not spared this southern country. Parents may have part of the answer to this growing global concern. Patricia Veiga, the mother of a 14 year old says it best: “Teenagers are not interested in school and failing certain number of courses is in fashion. Many parents don´t get involved in their kids education, they don´t ask ´”how´s school,” they don´t tell them to prepare for the tests, etc. And with less kids going to college, there will be a less prepared workforce.”Nothing could be more true. In the US for instance, about 80% of new jobs require some college. So, the best you can do if you´re looking for a job and you´re having trouble finding one is to ask yourself if you have enough preparation for what jobs require nowadays or if you´d be better off going back to school.

          My Children Are not Interested in Anything

          Thursday, November 22nd, 2007


          I hear this complain from parents of teens all the time. Yet, I think that the truth is not so much that teenagers are not interested in anything as the fact that they don’t know how to connect that in which they are interested with a possible career field.

          The big challenge for parents is first to observe their kids behaviors to identify talents and interests. For example: Is the child detail oriented? Does he/she enjoy doing research? (Maybe she could look into lab work or research careers in various fields.) Does he/she prefer outdoor activities? (Maybe he needs to explore the building industry, or tourist industry.) Does he/she spend hours preparing parties and get togethers with their friends? (Look into event planning or public relations.) Does he/she love to play video games? (He/she could explore graphic design.)

          Once you have identified an inclination (or several), you can help them research all the possible careers within a certain field. For instance, I met a senior high school student on the plane a few weeks ago, and when I asked him “What would you like to study?”, he said: “I’m only interested in sports and in working out. My mom says I should be a gym teacher. And I think maybe I will because that’s an easy job.”  After I told him that doing an easy job could lead to boredom and frustration, I explained a few other options: “You could be a TV sports producer, a sports writer for a newspaper or magazine, you can work for a company that manufactures sporting goods, you can be a coach, or an athlete, you can work at a company that sells sports memorabilia or at one that organizes sports events, you can even be a sports doctor.”

          As you see, there are so many opportunities within one field, that the idea is to open teenagers’ eyes to what is out there.To get help, I suggest that you visit your local library and get a hold of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you can also find it online: It is a directory published by the federal government which lists all the occupations in the country with the education requirements, the description of the job, the income you can expect and the projected growth of that position in the future. You may also encourage your kids to try some of the interest inventory software programs that are available at high schools across the country: is one of them. So if you can, find people who are work in the field in which your child shows interest and see if they can spend some time with him/her talking and taking them to work to continue making the connection with the real world. Helping your kids make this connection is the best way to encourage them to continue studying.