Rebecca Ryan – Generation X has spoken

Submitted by Ed Hauser on Tue, 10/04/2005 - 14:45.



On September 22nd, the City Club packed the room with Cleveland's "establishment" and "movement" leaders to listen to the voice of Generation X (born 1961-80). Rebecca Ryan held everyone's attention for an hour with her delivery that is straight to the point with a bit of humor. One of the points that she stressed is that the established leaders and new leaders need each other to make their communities more attractive and sustainable. She also highlighted that the "quality of place" is just as important as quality of jobs when GenXers decide to remain or relocate.


Rebecca is the founder of Next Generation Consulting that finished up working with the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce to identify what Akron needs to do to attract and retain GenXers. One of the results was that four of GACC board seats opened to young professionals since then. The effort also resulted in 18 suggestions that would help retain the GenXers and bring them back home to Akron.


She brought attention to the lack of skilled knowledge workers worldwide and the flight of the creative class overseas. Knowledge workers are choosing places like Canada, Ireland, and Estonia over the U.S., which ranked #11. Quality of place plays a large role in the decision of where GenXers relocate.


Through focus groups she conducted with young professionals in Cleveland, Rebecca found that all members, even single and childless, said if you don't fix the K-12 school problem "we're out of here." She also said that the homegrowns, transplants, and boomerangs need a healthy mix of dialog. The region also needs to promote the positive aspects of what Northeast Ohio has to offer. The "Believe in Cleveland" campaign will boost the region much more than the "Quiet Crisis" has.