Introducing the Gen Z Advisory Council!
Shadowcliff Executive Director, Kathy Baldwin. and Advisory Council member, Bill Lepentis, began working to form a Generation Z advisory council in late 2019.
The primary focus of this council would be to answer these questions:
What are the current unmet needs of Gen Z (under 25 years old)?
Do the Shadowcliff core values address these unmet needs?
If so, in what ways can Shadowcliff help address the needs through new or partnered programming?
Overview of Project Work
The Council began its work in early 2020 by analyzing research about Generation Z attributes and surveying over 100 Gen Z to confirm the research and identify unmet needs. The results point to four key areas of collective concern (climate change, racism, gender equality, LGBTQI justice) and personal and interpersonal concerns like general anxiety, financial concerns, general stress, lack of deep personal connection and lack of connection to nature.
The Council has been meeting on a monthly basis, and is planning to meet at Shadowcliff in June. Programming teams have been formed to create experiences on the topics of: Intersectionality, Interpersonal Resources, the Natural World, Reflection & Conversation Circles, and more.
Meet The Council!
Samaya (she/her) is currently studying for her Masters in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design, New York. She is from Bangalore, India, where she studied Architecture. Her interest in the design community enabled her to co-found an organization with a mission to create learning experiences in the design sector, gaining knowledge and experience in social innovation and business design. While she isn't working on a design problem, you can find her drawing in a park or experimenting with food.
"I'm very thrilled about joining this group of talented individuals to reflect on some of the most important issues that my generation is facing. The natural environment and culture at Shadowcliff is the right space for us to create a collectively rewarding experience."
Chidinmma Egemonu is a current sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in Cognitive Studies and Human and Organizational Development. She is interested in exploring how data analytics and human behavior interact to help create better educational environments for young people. She is excited to further explore these passions as a member of Shadowcliff's Gen Z Advisory Group!
"I am interested in learning more about how to provide other members of my generation with the tools to navigate the stressful social justice issues we all grapple with."
Kachi Egemonu is currently 17 years old with a passion for marketing and business alongside graphic art and design. Kachi has a huge heart when it comes to speaking out on LGBTQ+ issues and the intricacies of intersectionality and is also a huge Percy Jackson fan!
"I am apart of Shadowcliff to surround myself with like-minded individuals who share the same passion to enact change in the world."
Ben was born in Mumbai, India and came over to the U.S. in 2001. He is currently attending Jobcorps training in Albuquerque, NM for Build, Construction and Technology and hopes to go into the solar field. Ben is currently working at a hardware store in Kansas City, MO; on his days off he installs carpet, does some plumbing work, and a bit of carpentry. Ben also went through Centriq I.T. training and is a Network Administrator. Some of Ben's passions are photography, cooking and fishing as well. He has a a deep love for trees and stars.
Fun fact: Ben is Kathy's son!
"I don't have a blueprint laId out for how I want to help, but I feel that Shadowcliff is the place to start and get back to my roots with nature and community."
Atul is a leadership development consultant with demonstrated impact working with young professionals, leveraging his skills for program design and facilitation of experiential journeys and coaching. He is currently pursuing an MS in Organizational Change Management from The New School in New York City. Over the past six years, Atul has designed and facilitated fellowship and internship programs, residential and non-residential workshops in rural and urban settings with adolescents and young professionals in education, non-profit and corporations. He has coached, supervised, and engaged with more than 500 youth from India, UK, USA, Australia, Germany, and Afghanistan on their "self-to-society" leadership journeys. A Zolberg – IRC Learning and development fellow, Atul enthusiastically believes in forming cross-border connections, fostering compassion, and creating immersive experiences for young adults.
"Shadowcliff reconnects me to my purpose - to create a safe and an empowering space for young adults for larger social impact. I have felt connected to the group instantly. There is this vibe that cannot be explained but experienced. That is the experience that we are trying to create here for other young individuals."
Becca (she/her) is Loretto Volunteer working at Angelica Village in Lakewood, CO. She's originally from Minneapolis, MN, and graduated from Macalester College in 2019. She is entranced by the magic of growing food, cooking that food, and sharing it in community, and wants to be a full-time regenerative farmer. You'll find her fermenting foods, reading, and hiking on the weekends.
"I am deeply drawn to Shadowcliff's values, which parallel my own, and I am grateful to have this opportunity to interface with the organization in this unique, historical moment. I'm enjoying getting to know the other members of our advisory board, and working with Kathy and Bill, and am looking forward to visiting soon!"
Amy (she/her) is a current AmeriCorps member working on food justice initiatives at Hunger Free America in New York City. She is originally from Salem, Oregon and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2018 where she studied Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies and Theology. She is enjoying learning about the wonderful history of Shadowcliff both through the Gen Z Advisory Group as well through assisting with communications efforts.
"I really admire organizations that strive for intergenerational care and feel lucky to watch and participate as Shadowcliff strives to do just this."
Sydney Sirkin is a current senior at Elon University in North Carolina. She was slated to be on the 2020 summer staff at Shadowcliff, but was stopped short due to COVID. She is thrilled to be a part of the archive team, and has thoroughly enjoyed working with Kathy and the team. Sydney is majoring in Arts Administration with minors in Theatre Design and Environmental Studies, and loves to write, camp, hike and do yoga in her free time.
"I am drawn to Shadowcliff and this advisory board because they are actively creating change for the environmental and social world. I am so happy to be a part of an organization whose morals line up with my own and to be able to collaborate with so many people that I would have never met otherwise. I hope to have a wider world view through this work and to be able to create positive change in the community."
Gen Z is...
Pragmatic and Realistic
GenZ is determined to make decisions to mitigate the financial instability experienced by previous generations and prefers to spend practically and conservatively compared to Millenials.
70% of GenZers support defending causes related to people’s identity and human rights.
Active, Engaged and Resourceful
GenZ want brands to contribute to society and brands that are inclusive and promote equality.
Communal and Nostalgic
GenZers rely heavily on their communities, both online and off: 60% of GenZ prioritizes online support and “community” - many find no difference between friends they have in real life vs friends they have online.
They have a love of nostalgia and have a love of the past through a present lens.
A growing number are shopping at brick and mortar stores - another version of “unplugging."
GenZ expects a higher level of authenticity from brands and experiences. Brands must appeal GenZ by emphasizing value and quality for the cost of their products - sometimes overpaying for quality and experiences.
In Other Words...
mobilized, curious, digitally-savvy, ambitious, passionate, social justice, corporate responsibility, access to information, sustainability, identity experimentation, LGBTQ rights, gender fluidity, multi-racial acceptance, truth, unique, real, non-conforming, inclusive, diverse, analytical, responsible, sensible, conservative, strategic
- GenZ makes up about 27% of the population in the US (approximately 90 million) and in 2019, GenZ surpassed Millennials by making up 32% of the global population.
- GenZ is on track to be the most educated generation, with decreasing high school drop-out rates and increasing college enrollment. The generation has seen a large increase in hispanic and black youth for completing high school education.
- GenZ is the MOST DIVERSE generation in the US has ever seen. With close to half of it’s population being racial or ethnic minorities, it’s anticipated that GenZ will be the US’s last white majority. In the western US, GenZers are likely to be white or hispanic; each taking approximately 40% of the population.
- By 2026, GenZ will make-up to 40% of the total consumer base. 93% of parents say their children’s opinions and preferences influence household purchasing decisions.