A glimpse behind-the-scenes: As we worked to create guidelines for our 2017 Millennials on the Move campaign, I sat in front of my computer one day to determine the appropriate age cutoff for this generation (which became the largest generation in the workforce in 2015). It wasn’t a simple Google search. Here are just a few dates I found:

Pew Research Center – born after 1980
The Center for Generational Kinetics – born between 1977-1995
Iconoclast (consumer research firm) – born after 1978

Surprised that someone as old as 40 could technically be considered a part of the millennial generation? I was too. That goes against the typical “mental picture” or stereotype of a millennial (an entitled 20-something, standing in line at Starbucks, sending a selfie on Snapchat). Another interesting piece of information that goes against what you may have assumed about millennials is, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics, their biggest strength is passion. Meaning, they don’t want to just clock in and out—they want to make a difference.

You’ll find just a hint of that passion starting on page 31 when you read about our 2017 Millennials on the Move. Due to the differing dates you saw above, we decided anyone under 40 could be nominated for this honor. Then, a panel of judges helped choose this year’s exceptional group of 25 young professionals. You won’t see any expert selfie takers on this list, but instead… small business owners, executive directors, vice presidents and more, who are standing out in their places of work.

Also inside our Generations Issue, you’ll find more age-related content. Human Resources columnist Colleen McLaughlin talks about how generational differences can create conflict in the workplace and what business leaders can do to manage it. In our Real Estate department, do millennial home buyers in our area really act that much differently than older home buyers? Dan Vollmer gives his observations. In our Financial column, college student Jacob Ranson explains why offering a summer internship is a good idea not only for a business but also for the economic vitality of the community. And while it’s not exactly what young professionals want to think about right now, attorney Rebecca Wetzel explains why end-of-life planning should be a part of everyone’s checklist, not just seniors.

If after reading this issue you’re still not fully convinced millennials have more to offer than Snapchat and selfies, I asked each of this year’s honorees to name the best attribute about this generation. Just a few of their answers: creative, progressive, open-minded, confident, accepting, desire to work with purpose, relationship-driven, innovative.
They don’t define themselves by the stereotypes. Maybe you shouldn’t either.