San Francisco!

Sorry I fell a day behind (now 2 days behind) — our wifi was cutting in and out throughout our travels and it isn’t always easy to find time to post.

So after our day in LA we headed off to San Francisco — the bay area is one of my favorite places and I was excited to head back. We woke up bright and early in Oakland on Friday morning and headed to our mode of transportation to the city — on a ferry! What an awesome way to get to work — riding through the water as the fog was burning off, you could see all of the SF skyline. Once we got off the ferry we headed to our first bit of programming for the day which was the NBC Universal/Rockefeller Foundation Millennial Tech + Change Summit at this beautiful event space called The Pearl. The conference was filled with some great people and panels covered everything from the state of innovation in the state of CA, to supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, to the role that millennials will play in creating social change.

I had to duck out a little early to head to my first meeting which was with a member of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center team. The Nasdaq Center provides free support services for entrepreneurs of any stage and in their own words, they are “a startup for startups”. The sun was shining and I stopped to grab a quick lunch — walking the streets of SF with the sun shining while eating delicious tacos is a pretty great experience.

I arrived at the Nasdaq Center and was immediately blown away by how beautiful and welcoming the space was. There were a variety of different spaces to host lectures and workshops, in addition to a filming room for videos and podcasts. When I sat down to interview a member of their team, I was really impressed by their vision and mission. We talked a lot about how entrepreneurship can be a privilege and how the Nasdaq Center is really for everyone — regardless of age, gender, entrepreneurial experience, or stage of venture. They exist for the single purpose of supporting individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and increasing equity in entrepreneurship. I thought it was great that such a recognizable brand was making it a point of supporting all kinds of entrepreneurs and not just the ones who might end up making money.

I left my meeting at Nasdaq and headed to a meeting with the Executive Director of the Full Circle Fund. The Full Circle Fund selects 10–15 organizations annually, and awards a financial grant ranging from $15,000-$20,000 and defines a project or initiative to complete over the course of six to seven months. They leverage skills-based volunteers who donate to the organization who want to see the direct impact that their philanthropy can have. Our discussion ranged from defining social innovation, to the future of non-profits, to millennial work culture. One of the biggest takeaways from the conversation was his perspective on hiring millennials and mentoring them. When he hires a millennial he goes into it with the mentality that in all likelihood, the individual won’t be there for longer than three years. All they ask is that they are transparent about when they are going to leave and he will do everything in his power to mentor that individual and help them get where they are going — as long as they give it their all for as long as they are at the organization. It was great to hear someone put mentoring front and center as someone who not only appreciates it, but has heard directly from other millennial as to how they would like someone to directly mentor them. The transparency aspect is something that I feel can be missing from employer/employee relationships, especially for those of us who are early in their careers. The whole conversation was really interesting and gave me a lot to think about for the two days following our time in SF that we would be spending aboard on the train.

From there, we headed back to Oakland to go to the Oakland Museum of California where every Friday they have a live salsa band playing music outside with tons of food trucks. The experience is not one that I will soon forget — for hours people were dancing and smiling and eating delicious food. There were people of different ethnicities, ages, and gender, and everyone was coming together and having a great time. The space was packed and it was so cool to see a community come together in a way that made you feel how tight knit they were. It was a real coming together moment for us on the train as we all danced like fools — you couldn’t help but feel happy and hopeful in that moment.

From there we headed back to the train and departed for Denver, where I am now! My next post will be less about my day to day adventures and much more about some of the thoughts and discussions that have been taking place aboard the train. A lot has transpired — all in a positive way — and I’m excited to share with you how this experience has already begun to shape how I look at my work at CJP and City Awake, as well as how I’ve started to look at my career. Stay tuned and keep checking out my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for photos and updates! You can check out Millennial Trains media as well!