Bridging the generational communication gap
By Nicole Burke
On Tues., Nov. 9. Diana Ruiz, President and Founder of the Women's Global Leadership Initiative, and JoAnn Tyler, came to Sonoma State to give a presentation in Schulz 3001 titled, "The In's and Out's of Communicating Across Generations."
Ruiz was traveling through Croatia in spring 2006, and decided to walk into a travel agency in the city of Rome to escape both the crowds and the heat. The following day she left Croatia knowing only that she would be traveling to two cities by the name of Jelsa, on the island of Hvar, and "Split", where the idea of WGLI began.
According to Ruiz, that side-trip not only marked the beginning of WGLI, it was a journey that changed her life.
"Years before, I had spoken of this region, saying that one day I would visit," said Ruiz, "As a young mother in college, I had studied the Balkan region, the conflicts and consequences of war, and I had interviewed a handful of immigrants. Their stories and faces had stayed with me. From time to time I looked at the photos, impressed by these brave women who had overcome so much."
WGLI is a local non-profit organization dedicated to unlocking the leadership potential of women who want to make a difference, and the organization puts on many different lecture series where they talk about a variety of topics including, community capacity building, building a passionate and rewarding career and many more. "I chose Sonoma State to create awareness and education in areas important to personal and professional development," said Ruiz. "Women at SSU are seeking a better life for themselves.
I want to give them additional support. We will establish the model branch on campus, a steering committee to assess what women want. We will deliver and hook them up with external support."
JoAnn Tyler's talk was comprised of five different generations, and there were about 30 students, mostly from the University 102 classes in attendance. The generations that were discussed included, The Silent Generation of 1925 - 1945, followed by The Baby Boomer Generation of 1946 - 1964, then Generation X of 1964 - 1981, Generation Y of 1982 - 1991, and lastly Generation Z of 1991 - present.
"I learned a lot of new information about our generations," said Carrisa Friedman, freshman in the University 102 class. "I feel more connected to other generations now and I feel like I can understand people from other generations better than before. I didn't know a lot about our different generations and the speaker presented some interesting facts."
While learning about the different generations, Tyler said that The Silent Generation is defined by those that had fathers who fought in World War I and those who were children of the Great Depression. The Baby Boomer Generation is defined by those that were born after World War II since there was a large increase in birth rates during that time.
Generation X is defined by those that were born after the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation Y or Millennial Generation is defined this way because their generation began in 1982, and ended around the turn of the millennium and lastly Generation Z, or Generation 9-11, is defined by the terrorist attacks on 9-11 at the World Trade Centers.
"I really enjoyed getting into smaller groups and discussing what defined our generations," said Friedman. "I thought it was cool to get other people's views and voice my own. I learned that I am part of Generation 9-11, and I found it interesting, though slightly morbid at first. But after our small group discussions I realized that it is not necessarily a bad thing."
There will be five more talks at Sonoma State put on by WGLI's Leadership Series, Feb. 8, 2011, "Basics of Emotional Intelligence & Its Impact On Leadership," March 8, 2011, "Recognizing and Transforming Indirect Aggression," April 12, 2011, "How to Create an Inspired Life & Make a Difference" and lastly May 10, 2011, "Building a Passionate & Rewarding Career." All the talks take place on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in Schulz 3001. "I knew that somehow they needed to connect, a community, sharing of resources, perspectives, a world view and how to move them, and leadership development was the answer," said Ruiz.