Part 2: The Panel
The next part of the event consisted of a panel discussion about Boston and the young people who go to school here but don’t necessarily stay after they graduate and what we can do to entice them to stay, work and live here. The panel was run by Scott Krissner, Innovation columnist for the Boston Globe and the panelists were Paul English (KAYAK), Dianne Hessan (Communispace), Trish Karter (Dancing Deer) and Lisa Kelly-Croswell (Vertex Pharmaceuticals). The panelists gave their take and experiences on things that they’ve done to attract Gen Y’s in the Boston area to come work for their companies. Dianne Hessan shared that out of her 300 employees, 225 of them are in their twenties and “they’re amazing.” These panelists recognized all that Nadira Hira had to say as true and have started to adapt their recruiting processes to attract Gen Ys. For example, Dianne Hessan has an internship program for Communispace that has about 100 interns that work the company and live in Sommerville for a whole summer and at the end of the internship she picks a few of the best interns and offer them a job at the company. This seemed to resonate well with the audience and made sense because even if an intern wasn’t offered a job, they still got to have the experience working for the company and have something to put on their resume for future employment endeavors.
A good part of the panel was devoted to how we can make Boston a more appealing place. We’ve all heard the things that people don’t like about Boston: the weather sucks, it’s too expensive, the bars close too early, there too much emphasis on sports (what?!), etc.. This panel served as a forum to suggest ideas and programs to make Boston a more appealing city. The event even had a giant twitter feed behind the panel that if you tweeted with the hashtag #betterma you could see your tweet on the screen. I thought this was an awesome idea but I think that some of the audience members were more interested in the screen than they were the panel. One of the major things that I took away from this event was that if someone has a great job and they love working for that company, they would live where they have to in order to make it work. This should be great news but it’s not when people that have tremendous talent and ideas take them to other places like New York, LA and the Silicon Valley.
Places like New York and California have a better reputation for weather (I’m pretty sure it gets relatively cold in New York though), nightlife, and most of the other things that Boston appears to be lacking to the outside viewer. Some of the suggestions people had to offer were that we need to broaden what we say about Boston and put it out there that it is a really beautiful, clean and fun place to live. One of the panelists said that we need to “create serendipity” amongst the different organizations, companies and activities to do in Boston so that they can come together to come up with even more awesome things to do in Boston that would make it a better place. In order for this to happen we need to have places for the serendipity to occur, places where people from different companies and walks of life can meet. We can’t change the weather, so we have to start changing some things about the city and a place for serendipity is a great idea.
Written by Alex Corrado