YRichmond: Engaging Young Talent
All Good Things Must Come to an End

As the summer comes to a close, I’ve decided to take a good look at everything I’ve done and learned through YRichmond. I overcame my fear of heights zip-lining at Belle Isle,  lost a pair of sunglasses to the James River, and discovered that if all else fails, I have a potential career in sushi rolling.

In more professional news, I had the opportunity to learn from some pretty amazing people throughout the course of the program. What they all taught me is valuable information that is not necessarily earth shattering, but is essential for anyone who wants to live a happy and successful life.

A trending theme for the personal and professional development events was encouraging interns to seek out a career that aligns with their passions, values, and creative energy.

Scott Wayne of the Frontier Project was the keynote speaker for the Workforce Readiness Summit. He had everyone write down what they’re passionate about, then asked us to write down what we all want to do post-graduation. Then he told us if what we wrote down didn’t line up with any of our passions, cross it out. Scott also said something that really stuck with me. The top 5%, the most successful people in the whole world, did not become the top 5% by seeking out money or fame. They became the top 5% by following their passions and doing what they love. That’s pretty powerful if you ask me. (I can think of finance majors who should take a good look at that statement.)

Mark Fernandes and Danielle Aaronson of the Luck Companies reaffirmed the importance of my values, and that my goal has really always been to live a purposeful and intentional life. They also reminded me that every once and a while I need to take a step back, give myself a break, and be mindful of why I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing.  Values Based Leadership and the idea of “life on purpose” is an important notion for pretty much everyone to understand. Mark stressed the importance of ‘finding your dance floor’, or finding that place, that job, that company where you truly shine. This doesn’t simply mean finding something you’re good at. I’m good at watching Netflix for several hours at a time- that doesn’t mean that that’s what I should do with the rest of my life, or that I should find a job that allows me to do such. Finding my dance floor means figuring out whatever it is that I’m most passionate about, that thing that incorporates my values, interests, and talents and making sure that the dance floor in which I do all of this is located in a place where those around me have the same values and encourage my passions and interests.  That might sound close to impossible, but I think it’s worth the challenge.

Noah Scalin, the artist known for his Skull-A-Day project, focused on the creativity aspect of the Dance Floor Challenge (which I just made up and should probably become a huge movement). With advice like realize that you can’t be perfect, get out of your environment and comfort zone, and collaborate with others around you, it is clear that the processes used in the artistic world are translatable to us less seemingly creative folk. The best piece of advice Noah shared was to pay attention to your world. Or as a very wise man once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


Christy Coleman, the CEO of the Tredegar Museum, enforced what others had mentioned. Find what you love, and go do it. More than that, once you find whatever it is that you’re passionate about, be ready to do whatever it takes to achieve it. I think Christy’s advice may have been the most important of all. Anyone can figure out what they’re passionate about and what they love to do, but it takes hard work and some serious dedication, willingness to fail, persistence, and a can’t stop-won’t stop attitude to actually achieve that goal.

This summer, and my experience with YRichmond has been unforgettable and truly inspiring. Each event provided a chance for me to stop, take a deep breath, and just take in the environment around me. Whether it was sitting in a tube floating down the James enjoying the beauty of nature, or being inspired by individuals who allowed their passions, not the promise of money and a fancy title, to lead them to success.  At the beginning of the summer, the thought of having to become a real person with a real job in only one year terrified me. Now, I feel slightly more confident as I enter my senior year. Do I know exactly what I want to do? No. But I do know that wherever I end up, it will be in a place where I am doing meaningful work, with people who share my values and goals. And hopefully it will be right here in Richmond.

How I act with interns from other ad schools



How YRichmond interns acted towards HYPE members at last night’s Squirrels game….

Check out Scott Wayne, Founder of the Frontier Project talking about the YRichmond Workforce Readiness Summit presented by Allianz Global Assistance next Wednesday, June 26th.   As keynote speaker of the event, Mr. Wayne (much like Batman himself) does not possess any superpowers; however, he will make use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation to deliver a profound presentation on “making the most of your internship experience”.


This was on my mind yesterday, but I forgot to talk about it. I get nervous, so if it isn’t on a slide I probably won’t say it.

Be supportive, inspire someone. It can be scary when you first start putting creative ideas out in public. The fear of people saying “you suck” is enough for people to…

YRichmond <3 RVA Coffee Stain

YRichmond? Well, Why Not?

Seriously though, why not? Richmond has everything that millennials (in or out of college) want in a city: affordable food, nightlife, and entertainment, and lots of it. Summertime in RVA is like a treasure trove of awesome things to do, just make sure you find some time to hit the gym in between all of the food festivals.

imageRichmond skyline over the James at Rockett’s Red Glare 5/26/13

I come from a small town in northern New Jersey, and ended up at U of R for its beautiful campus, endless academic opportunities (I was far too indecisive to have any inkling of a potential major going into college), and its 6 hour buffer zone drive from the small-town bubble I grew up in. Before coming here, my only knowledge or perception of Richmond was its history as the Capital of the Confederacy. Other than that, Richmond was just the location of my school— I had no attachments, and no idea what I was in for. Besides, I had childhood dreams of living in New York City with a glamorous job, a nice apartment, and lots of time to hang out at Central Perk with my friends Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe— Richmond wasn’t even on my post-grad radar.

Something you should know about me: I’m kind of a concert junkie. Given the option of clothes/food or seeing one of my favorite bands perform, I will hands down always choose the latter. Example: I spent a semester’s worth of paychecks to go to Bonnaroo last summer- and I would do it again in a heartbeat! In Jersey there are many concert options, but it either means a $26 train ticket to NYC plus food, cab, subway, etc., or an hour car ride to the PNC Bank Arts Center (Jersey Turnpike traffic time not included). Basically, its quite an ordeal, and an expensive one at that. Totally worth it of course, since some of my greates memories are at these concerts, but in terms of accessibility, it could be better. When it comes to live music, Richmond is my Disney World: Friday Cheers, Groovin’ in the Garden, local bands at festivals, the National, Innsbrook After Hours; the possibilities are endless—and all less than a 20 minute drive away! Not to mention ticket prices are nowhere near what they are up north. I can actually afford to got to all of these concerts AND still have money left over to eat—what a novel concept.

imageThe Head and the Heart at Friday Cheers 5/31/13

The other great thing about the Richmond music scene is all of the Richmond based artists. I’ve discovered so many great bands in the first 2 weeks of this summer just exploring around town, and checking out the lineups for the rest of the season. Indie, Folk, Country, Ska, Jazz, Celtic Rock..you name it, Richmond’s got it!

imageCarbon Leaf at Groovin’ in the Garden 5/30/13

And then there’s the food. Greek Festival, Broad Appetit, Bacon Festival (seriously? A whole festival dedicated to bacon?!), RVA Burger week…need I go on? The festival scene alone is enough to make any foodie in another part of the country pack their bags and move to Richmond. But even if you took out all of the festivals, there’s still an endless supply of amazing restaurants to try out. I love finding random hole-in-the-wall places to eat (unless they look like the Brazillian restaurant from Bridesmaids), and Richmond is definitely accomodating to my adventurous side.

imageJust a few people gathered at Richmond’s 6th Annual Broad Appetit

You may not be able to take the Jersey out of the girl, but you can certainly take the girl out of Jersey. I mean, if my options are living in a cardboard box in NYC (or worse, my parents’ house) and eating Ramen 3 times a day, or living in a nice apartment in Richmond, attending festivals and concerts, and hitting up all the bars and restaurants on the same budget…well I think the choice is pretty clear.


Reach.June 2012. Richmond, VA.



June 2012. Richmond, VA.


Personal Presence Skills with the Frontier Project

Check out our guest blog post from intern Anastasiya Olds with Allianz Global Assistance as she recaps this week’s YRichmond professional development event.


The afternoon of June 26, 2012 was highlighted with an incredible presentation on Personal Presence hosted by SnagaJob. But what does it mean? Aaron Anderson from the Frontier Project artistically explained that it is a combination of body language, tone of voice, and ability to be an active listener here and now, at the present moment. By inviting two volunteers from the audience he humorously demonstrated the importance of feet position during dialogue. The four main positions are: competitive, cooperative, corner, and independent.

The first one, competitive, occurs when two people are facing each other, when all parts of the body from shoulders to feet are in confrontation of the opponents’. You can use it when trying to establish your dominance.

 If you need collaboration from the person (think of a car salesman who needs a signed contract), you should use cooperative style, when your feet are in parallel.

 Corner style is good for discussions. This style makes both people feel comfortable and relaxed. Observe people at a bus stop talking to each other, you will be surprised.  

 Aaron expressed the independent style through the representation of a cafeteria table at school, when one person faces one way and the other faces the opposite way, but does not sit directly in front of the first person (two women in the picture). This way both people have personal space.

 Additionally, Mr. Anderson stressed the importance of eye contact. Being an active listener involves eye contact, not a creepy staring, but a soft eye contact. Listen behind the words for core values, that way you can gain respect. Another insightful knowledge is mirroring. Pay attention to a speaker’s gestures and poses. If he or she keeps their hands crossed, do the same. This knowledge will help you gain trust. Repeating poses a couple of times will even help you to lead the next moves. 

Main takeaways are:

1.       There are no rules on holding your hands during the conversation. You have to be comfortable when you talk to a person or give presentation. Do not force yourself. Forget that crossing your hands or putting them in pockets is a bad habit.

2.       You need to have authenticity and to find middle ground between being scared to show off and talking too much.

3.       Keep in mind that body language and tone of voice play a big role, even during very formal conversations and presentations.

Aaron suggested practicing these rules until it comes naturally and becomes your authenticity.

Besides the amazing presentation, interns were able to observe the creative SnagaJob building! It is full of colors, quotations on the walls, and different playgrounds, such as a slide from the second floor to the first. Some of my fellow YRichmond interns tried it in action and liked it a lot.

Igniting Human Potential with Mark Fernandes

Genworth Financial hosted Mark Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer of Luck Companies this past Tuesday where he encouraged the YRichmond interns to ignite their human potential.  

Before the interns could learn how to do this they needed to first start with understanding themselves.  This was accomplished by defining their generation Y characteristics.  The majority of the present day workplace is made of late boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).  However, in the next coming years Generation Y (those born after about 1980) , or the Millennials, are going to make up 75% of the workforce.  As a result, Fernandes believes its important to study the values and motivational drivers of Millennials now in order to prepare for this generational shift. 

Some of the defining characteristics of Millennials include:

·         Looking for the meaning

·         Social conscious

·         Value giving back

·         Civic minded

·         “making meaning”

Fernandes talked about how Millennials are wired to chase the meaning as opposed to chasing money.  He believes this generation is going to the first to take us off this economic rollercoaster of severe highs and lows and create a more stable economy. 

 After outlining the defining characteristics of generation Y, Fernandes then focused on what they tend to believe in.  With extensive hours of research devoted towards studying Millennials this is what he found:

1.      Millennials have an extraordinary potential to make a positive difference.

2.      Millennials believe making a difference is a choice.

3.      Millennials believe value based leadership will positively impact the lives of those around them.

In addressing the interns Fernandes states “you are extraordinary but you need to make the choice to be that.  The better you understand yourself the more apt you are to make that choice to make a difference.”

Fernandes also stressed how important it is to grow “straight and beautiful” within your career.  Straight and beautiful is a line of thought where an individual is consciously intolerant of negative thoughts, words, or actions either from themselves or from others.  Negativity is what causes a person to “tilt”.  In order to be a great leader or a valued employee you need to learn how to grow straight and beautiful in your work life and even your personal life.  

A helpful list of action words are listed below to encourage straight and beautiful growth:

Aware- know who you are

Align- draw strength from core values

Understand- how others feel

Adapt-modify your behavior

Act- do the right thing

Again, Fernandes’ presentation focused on figuring out your personal values and picking a career based on a company’s ability to match or exceed them.  However, one of the questions that was asked by one of the interns was what if a person can’t afford to wait for a company to meet their values and has to take whatever job is offered to them in order to pay the bills.  Fernandes acknowledged this possibility and understands that, especially in this economy, people are lucky to even have a job offer.  He stressed the importance of adaptability.  He states “Adaptability is a good thing just don’t sell your soul.  Don’t tilt too much.” 

Near the end of the presentation Fernandes handed out bracelets that had “igniting human potential” engraved on them.  Before the interns could put them on Mark instructed them to think of one thing that they want to do different, one thing that they want to change about how they handle situations, one thing that will make them a better leader.  Once they had their one thing they were then allowed to slip on the bracelet.  This exercise was meant to demonstrate that in order to ignite your human potential and become a great leader or employee, a person may need to change some of the negative behavior that is causing them to tilt. 

As the YRichmond crew headed out the door, Fernandes hopes the bracelets will serve as a reminder to the interns to grow straight and beautiful in their careers and to challenge past traditions in order to create a workforce full of value based leaders.

This guy was one of the scavenger hunt clue items for the #YRichmond Amazing Race event!


Anyone know what this little #rva gem is? #bestfindoftheday (Taken with Instagram)

This guy used to be attached to the Diamond…before he moved.

This guy was one of the scavenger hunt clue items for the #YRichmond Amazing Race event!



Anyone know what this little #rva gem is? #bestfindoftheday (Taken with Instagram)

This guy used to be attached to the Diamond…before he moved.


Some of the nation’s most renowned chefs will be in town this Saturday to kick off Broad Appétit by taking part in OFF Broad Appétit. These culinary stars will craft special meals, while local beer, spirits, and farmers will be on hand for a smörgåsbord of local fare.


Some of the nation’s most renowned chefs will be in town this Saturday to kick off Broad Appétit by taking part in OFF Broad Appétit. These culinary stars will craft special meals, while local beer, spirits, and farmers will be on hand for a smörgåsbord of local fare.