Mixtroz co-owners and mother/daughter team Ashlee Ammons and Kerry Schrader experience all types of comments and feedback when they’re at one of their many speaking engagements; mostly because Ashlee (the daughter) is a millennial, and Kerry (the mom) is…well…NOT.
“It’s like I’m Ashlee’s arm candy at these events,” Kerry laughingly told us. “Like ‘awww – your daughter takes you out with her.’ And I’M the one with over 30 years’ experience at various well-known enterprise organizations. But although it does make me laugh a little, it is true that my age causes me to be marginalized a bit in my own business.”
Kerry continues, “so Ashlee is the Millennial. And I am not, which somehow sends a message that I don’t know what’s modern and trendy and technological relevant in today’s meeting and event space.” So with this in mind, Kerry developed the idea of calling herself “The Millennial Plus” (who you should follow on Instagram and Facebook).
Mixtroz is a meeting and event planning platform that engages and improves meetings and events for employees while collecting data for meeting hosts. Employees download the Mixtroz app and complete a virtual name tag and survey customized by the organizer.
The “Millennial Plus” generation (or Baby Boomers) aren’t sitting on their laurels
Much like Kerry Schrader’s later-in-life entrepreneurial efforts, her 55- to 64-year-old age group counterparts account for one-quarter of new entrepreneurs. And their new business approach is simple: pair up with a millennial. The more experienced partner brings years of knowledge, learnings from mistakes, and a pipeline of prospective customers (not to mention cash from savings they’ve acquired for years). The millennial brings a fresh perspective to the problem they’re trying to solve in their business and the energy and technology know-how to make their business thrive.
Taking a page from “The Millennial Plus”: ensuring your meetings, breakout sessions, and mixes are diverse
The way Schrader and Ammons complement each other’s knowledge and skillsets represent a perfect metaphor on the importance of intergenerational mixing at staff meetings, breakout sessions, and company mixers. Their Mixtroz meeting and event software does a great job of splitting employees into breakout sessions where different types of people are mixed together that might not normally be brainstormed together.
Combinations of more mature employees, disparate races, and appropriate splits between men and women can be represented in each of these breakouts effortlessly and with a technological algorithm that takes all the “pairing up” work off the meeting planner.
When gathering valuable data points that come out of meetings where 50 or more people are gathered, every attendee is required to answer the Mixtroz questions on their app prior to being placed into a group. That means 100 percent participation, giving you near census-level data and feedback. And from a scientific standpoint, it’s critical you have a diverse mix of people for the data you’re gathering to be valid and without bias.
There is a terrific baseline that enterprise organizations should keep in mind as they’re using Mixtroz at every one of their meetings throughout the organization across a period of time. For trending purposes, some portion of the questions that the meeting organizer asks the employees should be kept the same at every meeting, every time. For example, age, sex, race, and length of time at your organization are a few stock questions we recommend asking at every meeting, every time so that you can trend answers across your organization over time.
As for “The Millennial Plus” and her future as the co-owner of Mixtroz?
Kerry Schrader, with her sometimes purple hair, sassy t-shirts, and boundless energy, will not be stepping down from Mixtroz anytime soon.
“We’re having too much fun and making too many inroads,” says Kerry. “Mixtroz is a product unlike any other platform in the marketplace, and when people hear about everything it can do, they’re amazed and intrigued. So as long as there continues to be this much interest in Mixtroz (and provided Ashlee and I don’t kill each other), I might just not retire!”
Ashlee echos this sentiment, admitting, “She takes so much of what she has learned over her career and pours it back into Mixtroz. And because of that, we’ve been able to avoid so many potholes.” For example, Ammons credits Schrader’s financial acumen and close attention to cost control for keeping the business afloat early on.
So don’t be writing off our more mature co-workers. They have something to say, they’ve got the experience to back it up, and they’re not retiring anytime soon. Long live “The Millennial Plus”!
For more, visit Mixtroz at www.mixtroz.com.