On Thursday, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz meets with Rebecca Thorman of MAGNET, Madison's nominal young professionals organization. Thorman recently penned an opinion piece in the Wisconsin State Journal suggesting that the city needs to ring her and her organization up on issues such as the economic development plan.
Young people are on the front lines of creating and sustaining a quality workforce that is indispensable to basic sector job growth. Without a strong workforce of young talent, employers will be unable to expand.
Sure. I mean, that's an important perspective. But shouldn't a young leader, by definition, be the one to step up and involve himself or herself in these opportunities within the community? Thorman, on her blog and in interviews, talks a lot about Generation Y and its capacity to drive economic development and play a leadership role in Madison. But she seems to be saying business people and public officials need to seek out Gen Y leaders.
I guess I don't think leadership works that way. Leaders don't wait around for someone to ask them to join up or share their opinions. They join the fray, and often specifically because nobody has invited them to the table. People like Zach Brandon, Brenda Konkel and Austin King stepped forward and ran for office without having to be asked. People like Chris Berge (Restaurant Magnus) and Kevin Wade (Planet Propaganda) and Bryant Moroder (Sustain Dane) didn't spend their 20s complaining that nobody was actively recruiting them. They went out and started their own businesses and organizations, becoming leaders in the process. All three (and many others) have, in turn, provided young Madisonians with opportunities to work, create, recreate and conscientiously build the community.
What's preventing Thorman and her peers from involving themselves in the city's plans, economic or otherwise? Certainly Mayor Dave, who was instrumental in urging MAGNET forward in his first term, is open to hearing from its members. But I think it's a mistake to demand that the rest of us take the first step in soliciting thoughts and action from Gen Y. That will happen naturally once members of Gen Y start making interesting things happen and attracting attention from open-minded people who are interested in learning from everyone, older and younger.
MAYOR CIESLEWICZ WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Monday, April 28, 2008
10:00 a.m. Policy Staff meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
11:00 a.m. Office/work time
2:15 p.m. Consul General Barukh Binah, Michael Blumenfeld (Mayor's Office)
3:00 p.m. Taping of "The Mayor's Report" (MMB 260)
4:30 p.m. Board of Estimates meeting (CCB GR-27)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
9:00 a.m. Speak at Villager planning session (The Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Rd)
10:30 a.m. Tripp Widder, Ray Harmon (Mayor's Office)
12:00 p.m. Lunch with Alder Brian Solomon (The Old Fashioned)
2:00 p.m. Art Rainwater (Mayor's Office)
4:00 p.m. Jim Palmer, Scott Favour, Joel Plant, Mario Mendoza (Mayor's Conf. Room)
5:00 p.m. Northside Planning Council quarterly meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
8:00 a.m. Office/work time
10:00 a.m. Staff meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
1:00 p.m. Sherman Middle School Fun Run
2:00 p.m. Italian youth soccer team from Mantova (Mayor's Conf. Room)
3:30 p.m. Maia Donohue (Mayor's Conf. Room)
4:30 p.m. Capitol Neighborhoods Executive Council quarterly meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
7:00 p.m. Holocaust Remembrance Day and annual Yom Hashoah service and program (Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
10:30 a.m. Rebecca Thorman and MAGNET reps, Matt Mikolajewski, Mario Mendoza (Mayor's Conf. Rm)
2:30 p.m. Westside Staff team meeting
5:30 p.m. Wisconsin Council on Children and Families fundraiser
Friday, May 2, 2008
10:00 a.m. Welcome at American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO biennial convention (Concourse Hotel)
11:00 a.m. Anne Sayers, Ray Harmon (Mayor's Office)
1:00 p.m. Speak with 2nd/3rd graders on government (Glendale Elementary School)
3:00 p.m. Allied Drive local officials meeting (Mayor's Conf. Room)
4:30 p.m. Common Council leadership meeting
Saturday, May 3, 2008
11:00 a.m. Welcome at Madison Magazine/WISC-TV Channel 3 Green Expo's Green Conference (Alliant Energy Center)