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Rising Millennials’ Approach to Work, Values, Innovation, and Leadership

June 9, 2023

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

Rising Millennials’ Approach to Work, Values, Innovation, and Leadership

Rising Millennials’ Approach to Work, Values, Innovation, and Leadership

Alicia Serrani is a rising Millennial leader and serial entrepreneur. Alicia started at RBS and Morgan Stanley and got a law degree while launching several new ventures—spanning art, politics, artificial intelligence, and fashion. Alicia explains why her first boss had such an impact on her approach to leadership and business, why she deliberately chose the entrepreneurial route as a woman, and how working remotely supercharged her ability to innovate. She shares how she guides and mentors her employees while also trying to remedy some of Gen Z’s detrimental pandemic experiences.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[02:22] Alicia goes for political science as a means to enact practical philosophy.

[02:52] Being in NYC allowed Alicia to explore a wide range of early internship experiences.

[04:01] Fashion is Alicia’s family business.

[04:38] Banking was a fluke development at the start of Alicia’s career.

[06:10] Alicia discovers her banking colleagues lead rich personal lives.

[08:20] A hit and run causes brain trauma and it takes the first six weeks at Alicia’s new job to recover.

[09:23] Physically incapacitated, Alicia pioneers a remote finance career in 2014 doing data remediation.

[11:33] The contrasting office environments of RBS and Morgan Stanley.

[12:10] Alicia learns about good and bad bosses from her first boss.

[13:44] Contemplating the next career move—potentially venture capital.

[14:30] Alicia moves into a startup role after meeting her founding partner at a party.

[15:10] What New Hive is and how digital art, blockchain, and NFTs evolved.

[17:11] Alicia and Zach develop “survivable disagreement” to collaborate with parties that are at odds.

[20:01] Law school becomes Alicia’s pathway to enhance her business credibility.

[22:24] In the midst of her law degree, Alicia and Zach launch a second startup, Guardians.ai, and why the model wasn’t sustainable.

[23:17] They start tracking misinformation and narrative influence regarding voter fraud in 2016.

[24:41] The strange dynamics of a misinformation operation, and uncovering it.

[27:27] Third Web – Alicia and her business partner’s brain trust.

[28:03] Alicia’s philosophy on work—using a graduating lawyer as an example.

[29:34] Some of Alicia’s classmates from law school are already taking less traditional routes.

[31:08] Alicia shares her plan for her law degree.

[31:55] How Alicia thinks technology will elevate the importance of industry level expertise.

[33:09] Alicia discusses entrepreneurship as a way to embody your values and stimulate change.

[34:36] In entrepreneurial overdrive during the pandemic, Alicia speaks of her approach for developing new projects and ventures.

[36:50] How hard fashion businesses are which “hoodwinked” Alicia into actively running T.W.I.N..

[38:56] A boss of many Gen Z’s, Alicia explains her approach to onboarding after the pandemic.

[40:10] Isolation during the pandemic impacted aspects of Gen Z’s social comfort and professionalism.

[42:06] How Alicia sets clear expectations, identifies goals, and fosters ideas.

[43:42] Mentoring is a mutual investment for Alicia and extends beyond her companies.

[45:24] Diversity and inclusion requires keeping yourself in check.

[46:10] Alicia counsels young employees to recognize the difference between working in a small company and expectations in a large corporate environment.

[48:04] Building diverse and inclusive organizations has been a recurring conversation for Alicia.

[48:55] How organizational structures can evolve to support effective decision-making, engagement, and creativity.

[50:00] Alicia wants to balance and benefit from both physical presence and remote work.

[51:00] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: If you’re on the entrepreneurial path, don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Sketch it out, try it out, don’t spend a lot of money doing it. Don’t get in your own way. Be intentional about getting it started and sharing it with people.

[52:23] Alicia shares how she has been able to fund and grow T.W.I.N..

QUOTES

“And when they offered me the amount of money they offered me, I responded with ‘you know, I don't know what I'm doing, right!?’ And they were like ‘Yeah, nobody does!’.”

“And I realized at that point you don't have to be your job.”

“A shaved head at an investment bank at 22 was a look.”

“Having someone who's totally different like a middle-aged man with kids just sit with me and teach me and talk to me like I’m an equal was so pivotal for me.”

“That's when I learned that I didn't want to be the smart person all the time. When you're working at as a consultant you have to be the smart person every single time. When you are the product the wear and tear is very intense.”

“I think the traditional idea that you are going to grow up, go to university, go to law school, become a lawyer, be a lawyer, and become a partner at a firm is just not the reality anymore. It's not my reality.”

“I think I saw that the way forward for myself as a woman, as someone who values collaboration, as someone who values partnership, as someone who values diversity and inclusion, that running your own business is the only way to create that.”

“The pandemic allowed all of my instincts around entrepreneurship and distributed work to absolutely go crazy, because it meant that I could be in one place and be intellectually or professionally everywhere.”

“I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad about being young, but if there's a lack of professionalism and performance, if I see somebody not doing something that's of a professional ethic or standard, I will say, for the record ‘If you did that somewhere else where there was more hierarchy and oversight, it would be questionable.’”

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