Featuring Rakhi Voria

11: Millennials: Where Passion Meets Drive

Every company realizes the importance and impact of the millennial generation. And every company wants to hire ROCKSTAR millennials. But at the end of the day, is your workplace culture truly one in which millennials can be successful?

Rakhi Voria is a Director at IBM Global Digital Sales | Forbes Contributor | Speaker ~ Passionate about advancing women & millennials in the biz. She manages a team that is responsible for the strategy, implementation, and revenue of the Digital Development Representative sales function globally. These are digitally enabled sellers that drive client engagement, deal progression, and closure of select deals.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Where Passion Meets Drive

Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the millennial Rockstar podcast.

Amanda Hammett: All right, so today's Rockstar is rocky for from Microsoft, and the thing that you're going to notice right off the bat with rocky is that she's incredibly intelligent, articulate, and passionate, and one of the things that Microsoft has done for her is that they've given her a platform in which, which to share her passions, which happened to be women and millennials. So tune in and see what rocky has to share with us today. Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and today's episode of the Millennial Rock Star podcast has a very special guest because this is Rakhi Voria on the rock star podcast. Rocky, welcome to the show.

Rakhi Voria: Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

Amanda Hammett: Awesome. So Rakhi actually is coming to us from Microsoft's headquarters in Seattle right now, correct?

Rakhi Voria: Correct.

Amanda Hammett: All right, so you're actually at home and not traveling the world like normal.

Rakhi Voria: Yeah, for once.

Amanda Hammett: Wonderful. So Rocky, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about what makes you a rockstar.

Rakhi Voria:Sure. Okay. Well, a little bit about me and my background. I grew up in Colorado, went to Colorado College, and then I went to the University of Oxford for graduate school and it was there actually that I came in contact with a Microsoft recruiter and now I'm working at Microsoft for six years. So I'm like many millennials. I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do after school. All I knew was that I had an interest in business and what I loved about Microsoft was that it offered so many options and experiences. I mean, there were product spanning across consumer and enterprise. There were offices all over the world, there were jobs in every business function imaginable. And so as someone starting off fresh in the working world, all of those options and experiences were just different possibilities for me, which was really exciting. Um, so I've been at Microsoft, as I said now for six years, I've worked on three different teams.

Rakhi Voria: I started in a licensing role, then I moved to a business development role supporting the financing organization. Um, and today I'm a chief of staff to our corporate vice president of inside sales, which has been a lot of fun because it's an exciting part of the company. It's pretty much a brand new organization. I was one of the first employees two years ago and now we have 1800 people globally across eight different sales center, so it's been an amazing experience for me as someone who's relatively new to the workforce to be part of building something new and having the chance to see all the nuts and bolts of running a business.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That's been a really major build that you guys have done and I've been really impressed kind of watching from the outside what you've done. So on top of everything else that you're doing at Microsoft, you also have some side hustles that you're doing, so why don't you tell us a little bit about that?

Rakhi Voria: Yes. In addition to my day, I'm. The first is I coach here, the women at Microsoft board, which is basically our company wide women's organization here, which is focused around attracting, advancing and retaining women. I'm super passionate about advancing women in business. It's been a common theme throughout my life. I grew up with my single mom. I spent time in India during my undergraduate, um, researching on women's empowerment for my college thesis. I wrote my master's dissertation on Female Employment Policies in China and India. So basically leading women at Microsoft has been a great way for me to continue exercising that passion internally at Microsoft, but it's also given me a really great platform to create connections across different companies to help move the needle for women. So that's the first one. My second side hustle, I guess as I write regular articles for Forbes, I'm, I'm a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. And so as part of that I provide some quotes and expertise on sales and business development topics and I also have the opportunity to write my own articles. So if you look up you'll see that they're primarily focused on actually tips for millennials and for women. And so it's been a lot of fun. I encourage people to read and comment and share.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Absolutely. I actually, I shared one of your latest articles about why more women need to get into sales on my linkedin profile and I had, uh, several young women that I mentor or that I've met throughout the years, reach out to me and say, Hey, can we talk about this? And I'm like, yes we can. So thank you for spring that conversation. That's awesome. So, all right, you walked us through kind of high level your background. So tell us a little bit about what's worked for you throughout your career so far.

Rakhi Voria: I would say that there are probably three specific things that come to mind here. I think number one, one of the first things that's worked for me is I work for a company that doesn't require me to leave my passions at home. You just heard a little bit about what some of those are. It's a advancing women and millennials. It's writing and as you heard, I've found ways to be able to do those things in addition to my day job, both inside and outside of Microsoft. And I've also had managers who have supported these efforts and I think that's something that's really important to millennials because unlike previous generations who wanted work life balance and the separation, millennials actually want work life integration. We want to bring our whole self to work. We want to have personal relationships with our coworkers. We want to share our passions in the workplace.

Rakhi Voria: So I think it's really important for companies to find ways to foster an environment that's really conducive to that. Um, the second thing that I would say is, um, I think what's worked well for me is I haven't been shy to kind of leverage my unique qualities and use them to my advantage when I first entered the workforce. Actually, there were certain people who told me, you know, maybe you should hide your age to gain credibility, um, you know, act like a man because technology is such a male dominated field. And I sort of asked myself why, what's so bad about being younger? What's so bad about being a woman? I mean, I think, in fact, those qualities actually have helped me contribute even more at work. Um, so I, I think that, you know, as a millennial who's relatively new to the workforce, I actually offer a really fresh perspective that allows me to change the business and look at things differently and that's what I've done over the past six years at Microsoft.

Rakhi Voria: In fact, we actually started a cross generation mentoring program which we proactively pair of millennials, what senior leaders for this very reason and we've all heard the statistics that millennials are going to make up 50 percent of the workforce in the next two years. So I think it's about time we start to really understand what are some of the millennials strengths around being well connected and tech savvy and energetic. And then I guess the last thing that I would say that's worked well for me. I think it's all about being really proactive in learning the jobs that I've had. Networking, building my brand. I think in my first year at Microsoft I did probably a hundred different informational meetings with people, so probably one to two meetings with different people every week. And I just wanted to learn more about what do they do on a day to day basis and what's their background and walk me through your career development and not only did I learn from those meetings, but um, it really helped me get a chance to meet with a lot of different people across different parts of the company in the world. And those are relationships that I've definitely leveraged as I've sort of continued in my career path. So I always encourage people that I mentor, um, be really proactive and get out there because it's super easy to stay siloed within your organization. But it's way better for the long run if you kind of take the initiative.

Amanda Hammett: That's great. Well, I can just speak from my experience with you is that you have, you and I have been involved with the same organization that's international and you have leverage that and you are incredibly networked within that organization. And when I first came into it everybody was like, Oh, have you met rocky? And I'm like, I haven't, but I. But your, your reputation preceded you things. So, um, obviously you talked a lot about some things that have worked for you. I would imagine there might have been a bumper to in the road so far these six years in. Tell us about that.

Rakhi Voria: Definitely. Um, you know, I would have to say that I think what hasn't worked for me actually is saying yes to everything. So millennials we're known for seizing opportunities, right? So I would definitely say that I was like that earlier on in my career and I still am. But back then I would say yes to everything. If there was a stretch project and the organization, I would raise my hand for that. Uh, if the team needed volunteers for a special assignment, I will raise my hand for that. So I was just super eager I think, and I wanted to get involved in everything so I could learn as much as I could and be someone who was known to be willing to do anything to help contribute to them. And then I suddenly saw myself getting pulled into everything and I got some really good coaching for my manager at the time, about a year working into Microsoft and he told me, look Rakhi, when you're doing a good job, everybody is gonna want you to help and to be on your team like you've proven yourself now you get to decide what you take on the really strategic about the give get.

Rakhi Voria: And you know, if someone asks you to do something it's okay to first say, what am I going to get out of this? Or at least think through it. Right? So this coaching is something that I am so thankful for it. I think about it even today because you know, he was right. I mean now I'm not, I'm not saying if you're a millennial, 60 days into role, if your manager asks you to do something you should say, what am I going to get out of it? I mean, you definitely need to use your judgment, but I think his principal, right? And I wish I had kind of learned that a little bit earlier because you know, it would help me be a little bit more focused and understand where I was spending my time and put it in the right efforts.

Amanda Hammett: Oh, that is such good advice. I mean, I think that there are some people further along in their careers that could use that advice. So. Fantastic. Alright. So you mentioned a little bit about this particular manager and how he, he saw you potentially struggling a little bit and so he helped you through that. Were there other, any, any other mentors or managers that you've had that have helped you or have done anything in particular that really keeps you engaged and motivated and ready to wake up every day regardless of what country you're in saying, all right, let's, let's move Microsoft forward.

Rakhi Voria: I mean, as it relates to your question around mentors, for me, I've definitely surrounded myself with a really solid set of mentors. I kind of have a board of advisors that I call them, consists of a mix of people. Of course it's my formal manager, but then it's also a set of executives across the company who I look to for career advice or peers that I looked to for on the job advice or some days it's my mom who grew up in a very different world and started her own business or a friend and a completely different industry to provide just a completely new and different perspective. So I can't stress the importance of having all of these people, I guess, in your inner circle to guide, provide counsel as you navigate through some of the stumbling blocks. Um, one thing in particular actually that's been really valuable to me over the past year is having a formal executive coach.

Rakhi Voria: So about a year ago, um, Microsoft invested in me having an external coach. So this is a professional who is trained in coaching. I'm emerging and senior leaders and it's made a pretty impact I'd say on me because my coach has so much experience just helping people negotiate, communicate at the highest level. So, um, you know, since working with her I've been promoted, I've moved into people manager role and I think part of it it's just she's really helped me have the right conversations with my manager in order to make these things happen and you know, it's great to have a variety of mentors in your life that this is actually the first time I've had a formal like external coach and it's been really valuable to have someone with an outside perspective and also the formal training to help me navigate through some of these issues and challenges.

Amanda Hammett: That is fantastic. I have a bunch of questions that I'm just like, oh, which one do I go to first? Okay. So let me, let me circle back for a second before I go to your executive coach. Let me circle back to your board of advisors that you mentioned a few obvious people like your mom and, and, and people like that. Um, but what about the people within your, within Microsoft that are senior leaders, how did you approach them to walk us through what that looked like and how did you put this together?

Rakhi Voria: Yeah, definitely. I mean I would say that I just sort of reached out to people really if there's a funny story that my first boss always likes to tell, he's like rocky's not afraid to ask anybody for time because when I was at Microsoft when my first week I actually ran into our chief marketing officer, like literally physically ran out into each other, walking out of the bathroom, just randomly struck up a conversation. He was extremely kind and welcoming, knowing that it was my first week at the company and at the end of it, you know, he kind of said, well, if you want to chat about anything or need any advice, feel free to reach out any time. And I'm sure that was just sort of like a nice blanket thing that he says to anyone. But I said, well, he offered me his time, so why don't I just reach out to him?

Rakhi Voria: So I did. I sent him a note and I said, you know, thanks so much for the quick chat. I would love to pick your brain. As I'm new to the company. I want to learn a little bit more about how I can make an immediate impact and get your coaching since you've navigated well through your career. Would you mind if I grab 30 minutes of your time? And he said absolutely. Yeah. And I think it's just, it's a funny story because I mean like wide eyed millennial. I didn't even think like, oh, this guy is our chief marketing officer. He's totally out of reach. I just thought, you know, this is someone who's clearly spent some time, I'm investing in others and it sounds like he's open to a conversation. So why not seize the opportunity? And I think that's one of the things that I've just sort of done along the way as I mentioned, being proactive. I mean, um, it, it definitely, I've definitely noticed there are a lot of people at Microsoft who are very willing to give you their time and people outside of Microsoft to all you have to do is ask. And I don't think I've ever been told no to a meeting. So I've really encouraged. A lot of people just don't be afraid. Take the risk, ask them for a meeting if they say no, whatever, they're probably not going to remember you anyways, but at least you tried.

Amanda Hammett: That is such great advice. I that. I love that. I love that. I, I do hear a lot, especially when I'm on college campuses and I'm talking to students about, hey, you know, why don't you set up some informational interviews, you know, as you're, as you're getting going, oh, I don't know. I don't know, and I'm like, you need to this, this will help you. I promise. So I thank you. I'm gonna. Take that, snip it out. Not going to send it to me.

Rakhi Voria: Absolutely.

Amanda Hammett: So tell us a little bit about the culture within. I'm Microsoft, I'm obviously everybody hears all the stories and reads the articles, but tell us a little bit about the culture within Microsoft as a whole, but also I'd like to hear a little bit about the, the interesting culture or subculture that your particular team has.

Rakhi Voria: Definitely think there are a couple of. There are a couple things that probably come to mind here. For me, as I think about Microsoft first, Microsoft is a really great job of reminding me that what we're doing is truly changing the world and that's really important to me and most millennials because we really want to make a difference. There was a recent study by a group called the intelligent group. They focus on youth preferences and it showed that 64 percent of millennials say it's a priority to make the world a better place. So, um, it's definitely something that I thought about is I was exploring company is straight after graduate school and I wanted to work at a company that was changing the world and I saw that Microsoft was technology. So I think it's really important for companies to, to really tie their mission, I guess, to societal contribution and for managers to constantly remind millennials that the work that they're doing actually ties to something that is making a difference.

Rakhi Voria: So that's one of the things I've really enjoyed about Microsoft. I think the other thing I would say is, is really variety that I think has kept me engaged. Um, as I mentioned earlier, I targeted a job at a company like Microsoft because I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do and Microsoft offered a plethora of options and experiences and uh, when I first started here I very quickly threw out the idea of a career ladder and I instead focused on gaining a set of skills and experiences that I think would set me up for the long run. Um, and so as I mentioned, I've been able to differentiate my experiences by having rules and sales and business development and finance and I've sort of almost been able to create kind of like a liberal arts experience for myself here at Microsoft and sort of a portfolio career I guess.

Rakhi Voria: But you know, millennials, a lot of people refer to us as the job hopping generation. And I think just having this type of environment where variety is offered is really important to us because we want to take on new challenges. We sometimes want to take on horizontal challenges but still grow vertically at the same time. And Microsoft has done a great job of kind of allowing me to do that. And it's really interesting because I think as I think about some of the previous generations, a lot of people just sort of chose a career path and they work their way up, but that's not really of interest to most millennials, I'd say. I think we'd want to differentiate our experiences, we want to try new things, develop new skills, and Microsoft has really fostered a culture. I've been able to do all of those things.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. So talk a little bit now about your particular team and what you guys have built.

Rakhi Voria: Yeah. So inside sales, as I mentioned, it's a brand new organization at Microsoft. Um, much of our workforce is actually millennial. Much of our workforce is also senior, so we have a pretty diverse mix of people all over the world. Uh, I think what's unique about inside sales actually is that 70 percent of our organization was hired as externally. Um, so we had just an amazing opportunity to really build a culture from scratch by taking all of these experiences from people who have worked at some of the best companies in the industry, bringing them here, taking some talent who have been at Microsoft for a long time and then thinking through like, what do we want to do with all of that and how are we going to build the right culture? And um, fortunately I work for a leader who's really passionate about this topic as well.

Rakhi Voria: And so, um, we spend a lot of time thinking through how are we making inside sales the best place to work and grow. And we have a lot of people related initiatives, many of which I actually lead myself. So I started a group called the people first ambassadors where we have basically different inside sellers and managers all over the world who are representing the voice of inside sales. And like I said, just making it a better place to work and grow by developing different initiatives and plans and programs and offering different perks and experiences. But it's been really amazing because I think I'm,

Rakhi Voria: I think it could have gone one of two ways. Um, you know, you hire all these people and you don't give them the right infrastructure. Support may not pan out as you would have liked, but I've had the chance to go to all eight of our sales centers over the past six to eight months and I can definitely say that the culture is the same everywhere. And I think part of that it's just really intentional about it, which is exciting,

Amanda Hammett: but is that, is very exciting. You know, one of the things that I would love for you to share, and this is, um, for other companies that are looking to build, even if it's not inside sales, another, a new division or they're looking to start their culture over from scratch. One of the things that I really appreciated is that you guys had a major focus on diversity and even when you were told, oh no, that can't be done. You guys didn't take no for an answer. So can you walk us through a little bit of that?

Rakhi Voria: Yes, absolutely. So, um, you know, obviously when you're hiring 1800 people at scale, there are tradeoffs that you used. Supposedly captive diversity was not one of them. For us, it's, it's really important and I think there were challenges definitely along the way. I mean, but our goal was to have 50 diversity within inside sales. Now we're not there 100 percent across the globe, but there actually are places like in Asia where more than 50 percent is email as an example. And Asia in particular is actually a really challenging place to hire talent for tech and that are female. And so we've been really proud of some of the work that we've done and the culture that we foster. But I think part of that is just pushing her to have, have that conversation. I mean, I think there were definitely times, as you said, where people said, well, the talent pool isn't there, and the reality is it is there.

Rakhi Voria: We just have to make more of an effort and there are things that you need to do in order to do that. So specifically for women as an example, we've all heard the statistics that, uh, you know, I think it was by IBM, they did a report a few years ago, they said that women only apply for the job when they meet 100 percent of the qualifications, whereas men apply for the job when they think they meet 60 percent. And so we need to be really thoughtful about the language that we're using in job descriptions. Even for inside sales team. I mean, you know, do we want to use words like Hungary and competitive and, and things like that, or do we want to use kind of a more softer language that my cater to more women. Um, so those are the things that we've had to be really thoughtful about just to widen the pool as much as possible and push our hr teams to lead to this outcome.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I love that story. That's one of my favorite stories because not only did you guys hit enormous numbers and just hiring over a very short amount of time, but you guys did it in a very thoughtful way, which is usually okay. So I, I'm perfectly appreciate that. Um, so for our younger audience members, is there anything that you think made you stand out in the applicant pool back six years ago when you're fresh out of grads? What was it about you that made you a rockstar on, on resume paper?

Rakhi Voria: I think part of it was just demonstrating a track record of success. I mean the reality is most millennials are not going to have the previous experience that employers are looking for. So I think we instead just need to show that our past experience, whatever it may be, whether it was sports, whether it was internships, whatever, that all of those results were actually the same regardless of what the task was at hand, that we were able to demonstrate success, see things through. And I think that's what I did. I mean I had never worked at a major tech company, but I had some great internships across various industries. I performed well academically. I want full rights to school. I mean, I think all of those things kind of collectively, hopefully showed Microsoft that I was someone who was willing to learn who had somewhat of an aptitude to be successful. Um, provided I was given the right training and skills development opportunities. So yeah, that's what I. Fantastic.

Amanda Hammett: So is there anything that you wish other companies knew about hiring millennials? Is there anything that you, you hear complaints about or is there anything you just, you just wish the thing new?

Rakhi Voria: Yeah. You know, I think the first one I would say is don't underestimate the importance of giving some of your younger millennial employees flexibility. Millennials really want flexibility in how, where and when we work. I mean there was actually a really great millennial study that Deloitte put out last year which shows that 75 percent of millennials, they want the ability to work from home or somewhere other than the office and they think that that's where they can unleash more creativity. And the study actually found that in most markets, worklife balance came before career progression when evaluating job opportunities. So we shouldn't underestimate how important a flexible lifestyle is for this generation. I think the other thing that I might add is like, we hear a lot about these whole employee perks and I think that's a really funny topic because people always say all millennials, they want Free Food and candy and bean bags and nap pods.

Rakhi Voria: Otherwise they're not going to be happy. And I think those things are all great, but there's actually no formal data that shows that's enough to retain your millennial employees. Right? And I think it's kind of a generalization that's been driven by movies like the internship and stuff like that. And um, for me, the number one thing that I've seen personally as a millennial and then also through a lot of our millennial workforce here at Microsoft is they want to have differentiated experiences, which I talked about a little bit ago, but I think companies that win with millennials are those that offer experiences. So, um, as an example, the topic of how millennials are approaching business travel has become really prevalent recently. So I'm, you know, I'm definitely one of those people, but in that same deloitte study, actually it said that 78 percent of millennials intentionally carve out personal time during a business trip. I do that myself. I mean, I think in the five continents and 20 countries over the past time that I've been at Microsoft, but um, I'm always looking to turn those business vacations into workstations I guess, because I think it makes my trips more balanced and memorable. Um, so I think those are some, some things that a lot of people probably don't really know about when they think about millennials, but I would encourage people to look at that. Deloitte study actually their whole. Yeah,

Amanda Hammett: that is a great study. That was actually one of my, one of my favorites. Um, so. All right. Is there anything, just one last thing, is there anything that you think that you wish the company did to make it make the hiring process easier for millennials in particular?

Rakhi Voria: here are two things that come to mind for this. The first one was what I mentioned earlier, it's just being more cognizant of the language that's used on job descriptions. Most job descriptions say that you need two to five years of experience, even jobs that are targeted actually toward university and graduate higher. Say this for some reason. I think it's just standard verbiage that's often included, but a lot of people take those job requirements quite literally and they hold themselves back unfortunately because they don't think they'll be considered. And as I mentioned earlier, women in particular have that issue. So you compound, you know, being a woman and being a millennial, that's a whole pool of really great talent that you might miss out on if you're not being thoughtful about the language and the job descriptions. The second thing that I would mention is, um, you know, I would love to see more bigger company is targeting smaller schools actually as they think about university hires.

Rakhi Voria: Unfortunately, a lot of the big companies like the big tech firms, procter and gamble and Mckinsey, et Cetera, they target some of the tier one school. So Basically Ivy Leagues and Great Liberal Arts Colleges including the college that I went to for Undergrad that unfortunately those students don't really get access to some of those top tier companies. And so I, uh, it's a conversation I've even had internally with some of our Microsoft hr teams because I think we needed to be a little bit more open minded and thoughtful about how we're recruiting so that we're not missing out on a great talent pool.

Amanda Hammett: I agree. I could not agree with that more. I love it. I also went to a small liberal arts college. I hear you. I completely hear you. And I have those conversations a lot as well with company. So. Well rocky, this has been fantastic. I mean you are just, I mean I already knew you were a rock star, but now everyone else will get to see that you're a rockstar. So thank you so much for being here and thank you so much for bringing so much knowledge and passion to this interview.

Rakhi Voria: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the millennial Rockstar podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at AmandaHammett.com. The link is below. It's AmandaHammett.com. There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day to day basis because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

featuring Maria Banjo

10: Creating Loyalty Among Millennial Employees

How do you create loyalty among millennial employees? And why are millennials not automatically loyal employees? Disloyal and lacking empathy are two ways millennials are often described. However, after meeting Maria O. Banjo you may need to revisit those descriptions. Maria is a DeKalb Co Elder Abuse prosecutor. Which means she spends all day, every day building and trying cases against people prey on the most vulnerable members of our society the elderly. However, you will see it is not just the need to protect others that keeps Maria up every day engaged and fighting for what is right. Maria’s boss has figured out a formula for keeping her employees in fighting form….and it is easier than you think!

Maria O. Banjo is a Victim-Centered Prosecutor, Former Public Defender, Criminal Justice Reform Advocate. She is recognized for demonstrating a natural aptitude for advocating on behalf of the voiceless, as well as for providing team leadership, driving performance, program improvement, and quality initiatives, I have a verifiable history of contributing directly to organizational growth and efficiency throughout my career.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Creating Loyalty Among Millennial Employees

00:05 Amanda Hammett: Alright, in today's episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast, I have the fortune of interviewing rockstar Maria Banjo, who happens to be an assistant district attorney here in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, the wonderful thing about Maria is that she is incredibly passionate about helping other people. And you're going to see that passion really truly come through in the interview. And one of the things that you need to know about Maria is that she is smart and she's collaborative, and she uses that to help out some of the oldest and sometimes most vulnerable citizens, the elderly.

00:38 Amanda Hammett: Now, one of my big takeaways from this interview with Maria, was that Maria has this incredible sense of loyalty to her boss. Now her boss actually works specifically in order to develop that loyalty not just with Maria, but among all of the employees in the District Attorney's office. And man, that loyalty really shows with Maria. Join in and see what she has to say.

01:02 Amanda Hammett: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett. I'm known as the Millennial Translator®, because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent. And today we have a very special millennial rockstar on the Millennial Rockstars podcast. We have Maria Banjo. Maria, welcome to the show.

01:19 Maria Banjo: Thank you.

01:21 Amanda Hammett: Alright. So what you guys don't know is you're looking at Maria and she looks very nice, and very kind. But man, you get her in a courtroom, and not so much.


01:34 Amanda Hammett: Maria is an assistant district attorney for a major county in the Atlanta area. So, yeah, a little scary, right?

01:42 Maria Banjo: You know, I do what I can.

01:45 Amanda Hammett: Well, alright, so tell us about your current role in the District Attorney's office.

01:50 Maria Banjo: Well, I am currently in the Elder Abuse Unit, so I prosecute cases against elders and those adults who are also disabled. And so, we basically investigate the case from beginning to end, including trial.

02:08 Amanda Hammett: Nice, nice, nice. Okay, fantastic. Now, Maria is a very special rockstar to me, mainly because she and I attended the same college, and not at the same time because one of us is older.


02:25 Amanda Hammett: But I had the pleasure of meeting Maria at an alumni event, and it was just amazing. Your passion came through, you're just... Your knowledge and just general, just, "This is how it is, this is what we're gonna do," and just your command of a room in that alumni event, this all came out. [chuckle] It was amazing to see.

02:46 Maria Banjo: Well, thank you. Thank you, thank you. All I can do is be me. And I think that's what everyone should really try to do, Be yourself.

03:00 Amanda Hammett: That's very, very true. Okay, so tell the audience a little bit about... Because you've had a really interesting career since you left law school. So, tell the audience a little bit about your career path. How did you get from college undergrad to your current role as Assistant District Attorney?

03:21 Maria Banjo: Well, let's see here. So, I knew early on I wanted to be a lawyer. Decided I wanted to help people, and the way I wanted to do it was by being a lawyer. And so after my time at Agnes Scott, I went to John Marshall Law School. That was a very difficult process because I ended up having a really low score for the LSAT. As a result I applied, I think to 15 law schools and only got into one. And I thank God everyday that I ended up at John Marshall Law School in Chicago 'cause it ended up being one of the top 10 schools for legal writing, and as well for trial advocacy. And so, I graduated in January of '09 in the midst of the recession, which was very difficult for a lot of us attorneys. So, as a result, I ended up opening my own law firm. I grew up, my parents owned a business, so I always had entrepreneurial spirit.

04:24 Maria Banjo: And so I figured if there isn't a job out there, I'll create one for myself, and so that's what I did. And I had my law firm for a year, and then I was still looking for a job. And what I did was I opened up Google Map, the map of Georgia, found all the counties, and started going one by one to each county and applying to the jobs. And my goal was to apply to all 159 counties in Georgia for a public defender job.

04:57 Maria Banjo: And so eventually I got an offer, or an interview in Covington, Georgia. I didn't realize it was just in the Covington Highway in Stone Mountain. There are two Covingtons. When I opened my GPS I realized it was a little further east. [chuckle] So, anyways, I got there, and at the time I had a semi-fancy vehicle, so what I did was I hid it, I parked two or three blocks down the road 'cause I didn't want anyone to see the kind of vehicle I was driving and make an assumption about how much I needed the job and what kind of work I would do.

05:42 Maria Banjo: And so for me, I got hired before I even made it back to Sandy Springs, I got a call from them giving me an offer, and I took it. I spent about three years over there, three and a half years, and I ended up defending those charged with serious felony crimes including murder. And then it got to a point where I got too comfortable, I was like, "I wanna try something new, challenge myself." And so I was like, "I wanna switch sides." And so, I had my current... Or my boss then, was helping me with my job search. I asked him a few times to make some phone calls into the offices that I was interviewing, go in through the back. In addition, the prosecutor that I was working against, she specifically wrote me a letter of recommendation.

06:36 Amanda Hammett: Wow.

06:36 Maria Banjo: She sent me a recommendation letter saying that they should hire me. And as a result of that, I ended up getting hired as a prosecutor in metro Atlanta area.

06:50 Amanda Hammett: Awesome.

06:52 Maria Banjo: And honestly, I would say, throughout my legal career so far, it's the things that you can't really put to paper that make people wanna speak on your behalf, as far as your ethics and your loyalty, and the kind of person you are. And with the legal field, it's very small, and one of my early mentors said, "All you have is your good name," and that is so true. And so, I work hard to keep that good name untarnished.

07:31 Amanda Hammett: Well, I can't imagine you ever doing anything that would tarnish that name.


07:38 Amanda Hammett: Alright. So Maria, tell us a little bit about... You walked us through your career path, and so how long have you actually been practicing law?

07:47 Maria Banjo: Almost 10 years now.

07:49 Amanda Hammett: Okay, so just a little bit of time.

07:50 Maria Banjo: Just a little bit of time.

07:52 Amanda Hammett: A little bit of time.

07:52 Maria Banjo: Just a skosh. Just a skosh.

07:55 Amanda Hammett: So, tell me a little bit about, I know that there's obviously been some ups and downs, I mean with any career there's ups and downs. Tell us a little bit about what things have worked or have not worked for you in your career so far?

08:11 Maria Banjo: I would say, maintaining the status quo..what's always worked. I think a lot of times, whether it's in private sector or especially in government, sometimes people like to... Or they get too comfortable in what has always been. Things has always been doesn't mean that you continue. I discovered early on that I can't help myself but fix things. No matter where I'm placed, I'm like an issue spotter. 'Cause I like to do things and make things more efficient, but to that end, also that doesn't... That rubs some people the wrong way.

09:07 Amanda Hammett: Okay. Absolutely.

09:09 Maria Banjo: For sure. But I think I'm not being afraid to speak up when things don't make sense. But it's not an easy thing to do, for sure, but I think trying to maintain any kind of status quo or shrinking yourself... Shrinking yourself is something that I think, especially women or younger people discount their own experiences and what they can bring to the table. So I think doing things like that is not... One, it's not helpful to you personally, but also it's not beneficial to your boss. Because they're looking for talent and they're looking hopefully for you to be able to push them forward.

09:58 Amanda Hammett: Right. I would agree with that wholeheartedly. And that's one thing that I think that we see a lot of, is a lot of times I'll talk to organizations or teams or divisions and they're like, "We want innovation." "Innovation", that is the buzzword of the day, but then when they bring people in that are supposed to be innovative thinkers, they wanna put them into a box.

10:19 Maria Banjo: Right.

10:21 Amanda Hammett: That's not how innovation works.

10:22 Maria Banjo: No.

10:23 Amanda Hammett: Innovation is, you gotta have the rough edges and you gotta deal with them because from those rough edges, you get these crazy ideas that you can take to the bank.

10:34 Maria Banjo: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think having brainstorming sessions that are unfiltered... My coworkers know that I will have off the wall ideas and with those ideas, and I know that some of them aren't practical. But you have to shoot big and see what you can do, instead of starting out small and already saying no.

11:00 Amanda Hammett: Yep.

11:01 Maria Banjo: Yeah.

11:02 Amanda Hammett: I agree with that. Absolutely. Now, tell us a little bit about, and you've told us a little bit about what doesn't work for you, or what has not worked for you in your career. Can you tell us a little bit about a specific stumbling block that you've had?

11:26 Maria Banjo: There are a lot. I would say there are a lot of stumbling blocks, and it comes in the form of... When you're a trial lawyer, you have the judge, you have 12 jurors, you have the defense counsel, you may have an audience, you have the clerk's office, you have the bailiffs, right?

11:46 Amanda Hammett: Okay.

11:47 Maria Banjo: These are various organizations that are judging you every day. And so, as a lawyer it's virtually impossible to know the answer to everything or anticipate everything. Sometimes you will forget things, but unlike other jobs where if you forget something that happens, silo or whatever, so various times that I have, whether I've forgotten a key witness or forgotten how to swear someone in. The very first time I had a motion, this was six months into my new job, four months into my new job. And I had four motions scheduled, motions to suppress, and I had my head elected official or appointed official, at my table.

12:36 Maria Banjo: And I got up to get my first witness ever, ever, ever, ever. And the judge was like, "Ms Banjo, you gonna swear in your witness?" "Judge, I don't know how to do that, I don't know those words to swear in." And so, he swore in my witness. Next case, 20 minutes later. "Ms Banjo, you gonna swear in your witness?" I went, "Judge, between the first time and the second... Now I still don't."


13:11 Maria Banjo: Third time my boss had to write it out, on the table, and I ended up reading it. The very next day, one of my clients called the office, "I want a real lawyer," you know, blahzay blah blahzay blah. I was like, "Oh my God, I'm about to get fired. I really don't know this basic stuff." And I ended up winning one of the most difficult hearings that day, and then because of my performance on that particular day, I got a promotion two months later to do the drug, guns and alcohol cases because of my legal analysis. And the judge in that courtroom fell in love with me, 'cause he saw how I just kept going forward. I may not know something, and you may feel personally embarrassed, but I did not let define me, and so... But, it just took me that one day. After that day, I knew how to swear in a witness. [chuckle]

14:10 Amanda Hammett: You can probably do it in your sleep now, right? [chuckle]

14:13 Maria Banjo: Yeah. So things like that happen all the time where you're really going to look crazy. That's what I call looking crazy. So I always prepare to make sure that Maria does not look crazy.


14:27 Maria Banjo: But those times when you do look crazy, it's important to really take full responsibility, your failures, and then learn from it. Because I will tell you there are some people out there who will say, "Well you know, in other counties, 90% of them, the bailiff will always swear in the witness." Your boss should have told you that and prepared you for the hearing. That could have been true, right? But, at the time, you as a lawyer, you know every single courtroom is gonna be different. You need to do your homework. I should've asked, "Hey, what do I need to do? Are you guys gonna swear in the witness or do I need to do that?", beforehand.

15:06 Maria Banjo: So I think in any situation there's always gonna be someone to scapegoat. But relying on other people when you can take ownership of your own learning, is the way to avoid. And that goes into what I always say, you need to create your own standard for yourself. So it doesn't matter what kind of boss or supervisor comes in, your standard will always exceed anyone else's standards, and you're not going to have to shift it based on where you are. If that makes sense?

15:45 Amanda Hammett: No, it makes complete and total sense. I think that's probably a type A personality rule right there. [chuckle]

15:53 Maria Banjo: Maybe. Maybe.

15:56 Amanda Hammett: But one of the things that I really love that you pointed out in that story and I really wanna emphasize it for just a second, is the fact that you took responsibility for your not knowing, for your mistake, whatever, and you were embarrassed and you totally admit that. But you did not let it stop you, you did not let it affect your performance for your... In that courtroom, and to protect the people of the county.

16:26 Maria Banjo: Absolutely. Absolutely.

16:27 Amanda Hammett: As a resident, I appreciate that.


16:32 Maria Banjo: Well, you're welcome. I think people have this idea about lawyers and you being self-centered, but there's a lot of folks out there like myself, who put people first, and so no matter how I'm feeling, I'm having a good, bad or whatever day, I need to make sure I preserve, whether it's a defendant I'm defending or victim I'm trying to be an advocate for. And so getting into, I know I'm segueing into other things, but getting into fights with opposing counsel, act in an unprofessional manner with the judge, whomever, is not beneficial. One, it looks bad on you, looks bad on your boss, and it doesn't move the ball further down for your case or anyone in the future.

17:24 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, 'cause at the end of the day, you've already said this, the legal field is a very small field, and you're seeing these judges all the time, you're seeing these opposing counsel all the time, and you have to work with them, sometimes in opposition, all the time.

17:43 Maria Banjo: All the time. Yeah, for sure. And I think there's a lot of principles that you can really apply in other industries. Because the legal field is so contentious, you would assume that we are constantly working with people on opposite sides, but being able to find a middle ground where both parties can be somehow happy, I think is a skill that it would be applicable to other fields and industries.

18:20 Amanda Hammett: I would agree with that wholeheartedly. So Maria, let me ask you something. Being a millennial, millennials are known for their collaboration abilities. Do you find that that's been helpful for you in this field doing what you do, having to constantly pull in people from opposing sides?

18:38 Maria Banjo: Yes, yes, I'm a major collaborator. When I deal with a case, I have a victim advocate, I have an investigator, and they have their own things that they're focusing on. I have my own role. There's a lot of vintage ways of doing things where the attorney is hierarchically up high, and I can do all these things, I don't really need you to do this. And I think it works to the detriment of the victim, and really the citizens. So I make sure I stay in my lane. I can do a lot of great things, but I know that there are skill sets from other people. And so whenever I'm doing something, even if it's purely legal, I ask my victim advocate, "Hey, what do you think about this? Does this makes sense? Does it make common sense or not?"

19:40 Maria Banjo: My investigator... And honestly, I've had a few of them say, "I've never been asked to give an opinion on this," and I'm like, "Well, you are an ordinary individual, right?" Sometimes we can get in ourself and really heady and use all this verbose terms and think we're just super smart, when we're trying to talk to real people, and so they have... Being able to appreciate the different things that people can give makes collaborating very useful, 'cause I don't know what they know, I don't know how they're gonna be hearing the information and receiving it. And so, through collaboration, they've saved me from looking crazy, multiple times, multiple times.

20:25 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That's awesome.

20:26 Maria Banjo: Collaboration is key, it really is, with anything. And instead of... People have titles in organizations, whether IT professional, that we have in our organization or what have you, but no matter what someone's position is, they have an opinion on what it is you're doing. And so I think just bouncing things off of people from different aspects is really helpful.

20:57 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That's really good advice, I think. So let me ask you this, you've been the assistant district attorney now for how long, three years?

21:12 Maria Banjo: I was a solicitor general downstairs doing misdemeanor cases for about three years, and then I moved up here in January of 2016, and then promoted nine months later to the Elder Abuse Unit.

21:25 Amanda Hammett: Okay, alight. So a little over two years, you've been there.

21:28 Maria Banjo: Yes.

21:30 Amanda Hammett: Now, what is it that your current boss or maybe a previous boss has done that really keeps you motivated and engaged and wanting to every day, wake up, come into the office and help the citizens of DeKalb County?

21:48 Maria Banjo: I think at the end of the day, my bosses have earned my loyalty...to do things throughout. I would say, most importantly, asking what I care about, asking how they can make me happier at the current job, what upcoming issues you're seeing in the current job. Investing in me, viewing my personal success as their success. So in my current office, there's this thing called "boomerang," right? Someone will work here or work for her for a few years, and they will have to move on. She will do what she can to help you get a new job, but they always come back. People boomerang back, 'cause... And it also is, there's a certain level of self-awareness. One job can't be your everything. It'd be a situation where you need to learn a particular skill set or hone a particular skill set, and you're able to do it in a different office. And once you have done that, then you can proceed to a different position that you're looking for.

23:17 Maria Banjo: So I can tell you right now, 10 people that have boomeranged back to work for my current boss. And I mean, I'm lucky, beyond lucky, to work for her. To give you an example, she had recommended me recently, a few months ago, for this leadership academy, sent me an email, "Hey, are you interested? You should apply." I applied, I found out two weeks ago, I got into the WIN List 2018 Leadership Academy, and they... Thank you. They train women to run for office or work on local campaigns.

24:00 Maria Banjo: And so just yesterday, we had a little reception. And I have three young women on my current campaign that I'm managing. One goes to Clark Atlanta University, one to John Marshall Law School. One's about to graduate in May in law school, and the other one is a 2.0. I invited them as well as one of their mothers to come, and they were my guests yesterday, and were so inspired by the women and they were just elated. And I learned that from my current boss, because she's in circles that I can never get into.

24:43 Maria Banjo: There are opportunities that will come to her that won't come to me, but if she has an opportunity to give me an extra seat at a table or an opportunity, she is going to pass it along. And so, but for me asking these young women to come with me, they would never have been at this golf course eating this food, meeting these people. And so, investing in your employees' happiness. With globalization, as well as the internet, employees have options, and I think employers need to accept and know that. Employees have options, very good options.

25:29 Maria Banjo: So it's not enough to just win an employee over once you hire them, you continue to invest in their future and see that when they're happy, they're more productive. When they feel like they're personally growing, it's beneficial to your bottomline. It's not a short-term, you're not gonna see how your money or profits tomorrow, but it will definitely help you out in the long run. That's what I think.

26:03 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. No, and I love that your boss is invested in you, and has one long-term loyalty with you through just small investments of time and effort and energy. It wasn't necessarily big investments of money.

26:21 Maria Banjo: No, no.

26:22 Amanda Hammett: Maybe it was just like, "Hey, I see this opportunity. I think it would be great for Maria. Let's pass it along." And I love that. I love that you've been the beneficiary of that, but I love that she's doing it. And I think that that's something that millennials, they want and they desire, and a lot of companies get, or organizations as a whole, get all caught up in like, "Oh, how much is this gonna cost me?" Well, it cost your boss, what, 10 minutes?

26:52 Maria Banjo: Right. And most people don't realize there's a lot of perks that are really either inexpensive or free, that you can do to encourage or make a connection. I always start thinking about, "Do you like your employees?" I think that's important to ask yourself, "Do you like your employees?" If you don't like your employees, you need to figure out who you're hiring, and what kind of environment and culture you have at your office, 'cause that could detrimentally affect the productivity. So I think it's a two-way street.

27:29 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

27:30 Maria Banjo: When my boss first took office last year, the employees who weren't used to her kinda leadership. What to do? She would, my boss would send emails like, "Hey, the first five people get free tickets, or can join me for this." And I'm telling people, "This is not a setup." [chuckle] It's not a trick question. This is real. I gotta... [laughter] But that's the thing, a lot... And I would say it's not a... It's unfortunate that people are surprised when the boss is asking you to come for lunch, or to come after work, saying, "That's not really work-related." But I, well I said, "You got to, it's a two-way street, people need to get to know one another, and people are going to help people they like." It's not just about money, 'cause you can get that anywhere.

28:31 Amanda Hammett: No, absolutely, I love that. And I love that your boss has invested in finding people that she likes, and has... And you like her in return. And so, I'm guessing, I'm gonna do some math here, but I'm guessing she likes you, you like her.

28:47 Maria Banjo: Right.

28:47 Amanda Hammett: And you have already said that you are very loyal to her, which means you would go above and beyond, above and beyond that 40 hours, above and beyond what's actually laid out in that job description.

29:00 Maria Banjo: Absolutely.

29:01 Amanda Hammett: You're gonna be way up here, when it comes to getting what needs to be done, done.

29:07 Maria Banjo: Absolutely. I think becoming the person that your boss can turn to in a crisis, is very important. And you can only be that person when you've demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond. Because you're willing to roll up your sleeves, do what's needed, try to fix a problem before they even think it's a problem. It's always, always going above and beyond. I've heard people say, "Well, that's not my job description. I need to do this, I need to do that." And you have to do things that are within reason.

29:47 Maria Banjo: I firmly believe in a good work-life balance. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a very hard worker, but I also really enjoy my personal time. In order to do that, you have to be really organized and you have to really prioritize, but by going above and beyond, you're willing to do that when you work for a boss you like, when you work for a boss who respects your opinion and is invested in your success.

30:21 Amanda Hammett: Right. I heard some really good millennial buzzwords there, in that last piece. I heard you feel heard, and I heard that you feel loyalty and going above and beyond, and I feel like there's a third thing that I'm dropped out of.

30:39 Maria Banjo: I can't remember.

30:42 Amanda Hammett: Well, regardless, you had some good quality millennial buzzwords. But that's the thing, you are a rockstar at what you do. Above and beyond, you are not a stereotypical millennial. You are this literal, legal rockstar. Legally, you are. [chuckle] And so...

31:00 Maria Banjo: Thanks.

31:01 Amanda Hammett: But your boss has done a really good job, has really done a good service, not only for you, but also for the entire county, because you guys are protecting us in a lot of ways. So by her pouring into you, and I'm assuming it's not just you in your office, it's a bunch of other people. She's like that with all of you...

31:20 Maria Banjo: A bunch of other people.

31:22 Amanda Hammett: Yeah. As much as I love you, Maria, I don't think that you're her teacher's pet.


31:27 Maria Banjo: No.

31:29 Amanda Hammett: I'm sure that attention is paid to other assistant district attorneys in that office, I assume.

31:38 Maria Banjo: Yes. Oh, yes, oh, yes. You're absolutely right, absolutely right. And I know, I think trainings as well is super, super important. I can't say how many times people are like, "Oh, my God, I've never been to a training. I'm just a legal assistant," or, "I'm just a secretary. What could... " There's always personal development training. Whether it's Word, whether it's Excel, whether it's you wanna learn how to manage people. We're asked, "Okay, within five years, where do you wanna be in the beginning of the year?" And it doesn't matter if where you wanna be in five years is not in this office, 'cause wherever you're gonna be, it's gonna look and reflect well on my supervisor and my boss.

32:24 Maria Banjo: So that discussion, honestly asking... I kinda think of how it was before, when you have people working for you for 30 years, and they didn't go anywhere so you don't have to really ask, "What do you like?" Because, well, there weren't options. There wasn't the internet where you can find another job that's going to actually make you happy.

32:45 Amanda Hammett: Right.

32:45 Maria Banjo: Right? So this is the... Where we are now, and I think that you can no longer ignore the personal desires of your employee.

32:56 Amanda Hammett: Yeah, no, I agree with that. And I think a lot is to be said with how connected we are. It used to be, you would walk out the office 5:00, 6:00, whatever it is, you'd shut your door, and there was the physical disconnect. But with technology, there is no physical disconnect from the office. You have to actually make that conscious choice. There's no door to shut, 'cause your boss can ping you in the middle of the night on your cellphone or call you in the middle of the night on your phone or email you, or whatever. And so you have to make that choice. And it's a really important decision to make. What was that? What was that? [chuckle]

33:34 Maria Banjo: I was gonna say, you would say your boss can call you in the middle of the night or whatever, whatever. I've never gotten a crazy... A work-related call at an inappropriate time. I'm friends with a lot of my supervisors, and if it's after 7:00 or 8:00, it's another personal issue, like a personal text message or call, not work-related. And I think that goes to respect, again.

34:04 Amanda Hammett: I agree.

34:05 Maria Banjo: Respect of my time. I think it would be awkward for me to get something, a message or whatever, from my boss after 6:00, that's work-related, unless it's something super, super pressing, emergency, urgency. And just wanna know something right there and then doesn't mean you're gonna take... Yeah, that was just, I could not...

34:30 Amanda Hammett: Oh, no. I agree, I agree. When my son was little, I had a boss who, I had to call in sick because my son was sick, I had to take him to the doctor that day, and he called and emailed me while I was sitting in the pediatrician's office. And he knew what was going on. This wasn't a surprise. And it wasn't an emergency on his end. He was just like, "Hey, I needed to know this." And I'm like, "Are you kidding? Is this for real?" [chuckle]

34:58 Maria Banjo: Right, right. Usually, with my boss, you have to fight with her to stay in the office. If something happens personally, she's aware of it, you're virtually pushed out, like literally, "Get out."

35:12 Amanda Hammett: Oh, wow. That's nice.

35:14 Maria Banjo: Yeah. Having that work-life balance is like... Don't even call it work-life balance, it's just being reasonable.

35:22 Amanda Hammett: It is.

35:24 Maria Banjo: Reasonable and caring and nice and stuff. That's why people are trying to flock here, honestly.

35:33 Amanda Hammett: Yeah. It sounds like a fantastic place to be, honestly. If she is that caring about her employees and about their life outside of work, she knows that eventually... I'm sure this is not why she's doing it, she sounds like just a wonderful person, but she knows eventually that productivity and everything will come back to her benefit.

35:55 Maria Banjo: Totally. Totally.

35:56 Amanda Hammett: I'm not saying that that's why she's doing it, but... [chuckle]

36:00 Maria Banjo: Of course. And that's kind of, when things go left and you're put in a bind, and being able to have people available in time of need is really about how you live your life, and that's kind of what happens when you are this kind of a person, and that's what I try to do, is making sure that you continue to be there for people when... 'Cause a lot of times, you have something that someone else doesn't have, and you're able to just give it to them really easily, as far as price or connection, or what have you, and that people remember those things. People remember those small things that you think, "Oh, it's just an email," or whatever, but it really means a lot to someone else.

36:48 Amanda Hammett: It does, it does. No, you're 1000% right. When your employees like you as a person, they're far more likely, the statistics are just through the roof, they're far more likely to stay long-term. I wanna say it's close to 86% or something like that.

37:03 Maria Banjo: Right.

37:03 Amanda Hammett: It's unbelievable. Alright, Maria, how can our... Can our audience get in touch with you through LinkedIn, if they wanted to connect with you further?

37:14 Maria Banjo: Of course.

37:15 Amanda Hammett: Alright. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Well, we are going to wrap up. Maria and I could probably stay here and talk and you guys would get bored at some point, I'm sure. [chuckle] But thank you guys so much for joining us today on The Millennial Rockstar podcast. And thank you so much to Maria Banjo of the DeKalb County Assistant District Attorney. Thank you.

37:39 Maria Banjo: Thank you.

37:41 Amanda Hammett: Alright, everybody, thank you so much for joining us in this episode and we will see you in the next one. Have a good one. Bye.

37:47 Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at amandahammett.com. The link is below. It's amandahammett.com. There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Understanding Millennials

01: Understanding Millennials

Understanding Millennials seems to be a difficult mountain to climb for many people.  Millennials are often seen as lazy and entitled employees, But what if you could meet millennial employees who are NOTHING like the stereotype? What if you could meet millennial employees who are smart, motivated, productive and engaged every single day at work. And what if, those rockstars could help you with understanding the millennials in your own life?

Welcome to the Millennial Rockstars podcast where we interview millennials who are absolute rockstars at work. This podcast is for company leaders who are looking to understand the mystifying millennial generation. You will hear directly from the rockstars that every company wants to hire on exactly what attracts them and keeps them working hard every single day.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Understanding Millennials

Hey there and welcome to the Millennial rockstars podcast this is season 1 episode 1, and I just wanted to give you this quick little episode to introduce you to the show so, My name is Amanda Hammett, and I'm known as the millennial translator because I help companies attract retain and engage top millennial talent.

But on the millennial side, I help them to develop the communication and leadership skills that are going to be necessary because whether you're ready for this or not Millennials will be leading corporate America in the not-too-distant future and our job is to help sure make sure that they're ready for that.

So my philosophy when I'm working with large fortune 500 or a small you know medium-size small to medium-sized business is that if you do not understand Millennials there's no way that you can lead them, and you definitely can't keep them and that is a really expensive problem to have in fact I think that the turnover of millennial employees if not showed up as a line item on P&L statements I think that there would be a lot of CFOs that went that are having heart attacks across the country.

So, that's one of the main reasons why I put together this podcast because there's a lot of misinformation out there about the millennial generation especially when it comes to Millennials as employees so this particular ass this particular podcast is going to be all about focusing on How do you attract Millennials how do you retain Millennials and of course how do you keep them engaged and productive at work.

So, season one is where I have gotten Millennials from all different industries all different job types and I've interviewed them and asked those questions now in order to be a guest on the show you had to be nominated you had to be nominated by a boss or a co-worker who can actually vouch for the fact that you are awesome at your job and a rock star every single day and basically you are nothing like the stereotypical millennial so you can't be lazy you can't be entitled and you can't think that you know more than everybody else that's just not the kind of person that we wanted on this show. So, when I started pitching this idea for doing this show I had a lot of people ask me Amanda are you actually gonna be able to find Millennials who are not you know lazy and entitled but surprisingly actually not surprisingly to me but I had a ton of people that were nominated and I actually just didn't have time to interview every single one of them but I want to don't worry there are going to be more seasons coming forward but this first season is 20 rock stars who are from all different age ranges of the Millennial spectrum. So you have some Millennials who have been in the workforce for 15 years or so and then you have Millennials who are fresh out of college and only been working for two or three years and everybody in between but some of the consistent themes showed up over and over and over again and again I'm a big believer in the fact that if you don't understand Millennials you can't lead them and you definitely can't keep them.

So I thought that some of my takeaways might be really helpful for you so one of the big things that you're gonna hear pretty much in every single episode is that Millennials have this consistent need for continuous learning they want to always be learning. They want to consistently be challenged what I heard from several different interviews was that you know once they've been in a role for two years or so they're really ready to take on a new challenge. So, whether that's you know a stretch project or maybe that's doing a lateral move you know they want to consistently be challenged they want to continue to use their mind and work their mind.

They don't want to just show up and collect a paycheck which is I think what we often think about with Millennials now the second big takeaway that I learned or that I saw over and over again was that Millennials really want to be treated as human beings so I know Millennials are known as snowflakes but you know this is really more about being treated as a human as an individual, as a person, which we all really want at the end of the day.

Corporate America sometimes has or in the past several decades has gotten this reputation for being a little bit cold and you know treating everybody as their a cog in this larger corporate wheel but Millennials really do want to make their mark on their team and on the company as a whole but they want to do it as an individual they want to be an individual contributor to an even larger team so that's really where this humanistic idea comes in where they really do want to be treated like an individual.

Now another interesting point about this is the is technology and how technology has done some great things for productivity and efficiency and has really brought us together in ways that you know we've never been able to do before but it's also allowed us to miss out on some of those human aspects of work you know that that human to human connection and as human beings were actually hardwired to want and desire that human to human connection and Millennials they're just asking for that. So, the third thing that I really saw a loud and clear in season one was that coupled with the first two so continuous learning and being treated as individuals or human beings Millennials actually can be some of the most loyal employees that you'll ever see and you're gonna see that in multiple interviews here multiple.

There's one lady who walks us through a deeply personal experience in her life and how her company which is a very conservative company really came through for her and she actually used the phrase that she would run through walls for them it's an amazing thing and that's an extreme example but there are many many others where you know bosses and company leaders showed grace and real true leadership to these Millennials and that loyalty it's coming through because when you have a millennial who is a loyal employee they're gonna be incredibly hard-working and incredibly profitable for you your team and the company as a whole.

So, join us for season one of the Millennial rock stars caste I think you're going to get a ton out of it don't forget to share it on your favorite your favorite podcast platform we are out there for basically everything that you can find a podcast on and if you have questions let us know so tune in for this episode learned from the Millennials themselves and we'll see you in season 2.

Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast if you are looking for even more information on Millennials and some free resources visit my website at www.AmandaHammett.com

There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those Millennials engaged on a day to day basis because we all know that Millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.