Newcastle youth entrepreneur Rhiannon Tuntevski will tell the Future of Leadership Conference why millennials matter in the enhance the workplace

Credit due: "We are the future of work, we’re the future CEOs, MDs, politicians, school principals, everything," says Rhiannon Tuntevski of her millennial cohorts.
Credit due: "We are the future of work, we’re the future CEOs, MDs, politicians, school principals, everything," says Rhiannon Tuntevski of her millennial cohorts.

You’re speaking at the inaugural Future Leadership Conference on September 13 in Newcastle. What about?

Statistically, millennials actually learn quicker than any other generation.

Rhiannon Tuntevski

 I’m bringing some insight into what my generation is looking for out of work, how some of the data around millennials can help shape Newcastle’s workplaces. I’m bringing to life the research to remind Newcastle that millennials aren’t all avocados and living at home.

 You are a Youthpreneur of the Supernova Tribe – what is that exactly?

The Supernova Tribe is a collective of people using their voice to change the world. Being the youngest member of the tribe, I’m flying the flag for the influence that young people have for change, not just in terms of social enterprise or charity, but also in our workplaces.

 On your website you say you’re “opinionated, entitled and narcissistic yet unashamedly ambitious” and want to overturn the stereotype of millennials. Why?

There’s so much research out there showing that there are some really good things coming out of millennials and their influence on the workplace, I’m trying to bring to light some of that good stuff, based out of data and research, to help our workplaces get the insights they need to manage their millennials well.

What bias exists against millennials; who created the stereotype; and why is it not warranted?

I think, like every generation that’s gone before us, we are products of the context in which we grew up in and there comes a point where we make up enough of the active population to be influencing change, and all of a sudden the difference in that context, to the context in which our parents, or our managers grew up in, becomes very evident. And by nature, human beings aren’t great with change – so we question it, and for millennials that questioning has led to some kinda ugly stereotypes. I don’t think it’s warranted, because often it’s not what is truly intended. For example, in the Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey, one of the questions was around understanding the need to work your way into positions of leadership at work, whereas the stereotype is that millennials feel entitled to the “top jobs”. The moment that research is contradicting stereotype is the moment we need to question the stereotype.

 What led you to start the journey you are on?

When I was 18 I found myself sitting at not one but two funerals of friends of mine who lost their lives far too young. It was heartbreakingly confronting to think that just by chance, I was alive and they weren’t. It made me need to get the most out of life. So I took a semester off uni to work full time and was really struggling to even get callbacks for an interview until I took my date of birth off my resume. All of a sudden people were more interested in me and what I had done which lead me to question, is this bias or stereotype against millennials justified? 

 What are the key issues facing millennials?

The statistics aren’t playing in our favour when it comes to loyalty and tenure. We just aren’t staying in jobs as long as our mums and dads did, and this is a big issue for employers. I think we need to find the balance between “sticking it out” and “pursuing purpose”

 Why should older Australians care and assist your “tribe”?

Really simply, we are the future of work, we’re the future CEOs, MDs, politicians, school principals, everything! And we’re not naive enough to think that we know everything (despite popular belief) – the more our intergenerational workplaces can work in harmony, the more we all learn.

 What unique qualities do millenials offer business?

Statistically, we actually learn quicker than any other generation. We’ve grown up in a world where technology is advancing at such a rapid rate so the ability to be agile, think quick and also be on the front foot when it comes to technology can be a huge plus for workplaces that harness it.

Do they get enough credit at work?

I believe we’re receiving credit where credit is due! I don’t think there’s a hesitancy to reward good work just because it comes from a young person.

 Your family support the Australian charity Hands Across Water, which helps at-risk children in Thailand and their communties. How is it  progressing?

Hands Across the Water was founded after the 2004 boxing day Tsunami, when former police forensic specialist Peter Baines was sent to Thailand as part of the relief effort. Seeing so many children left without care led him to establishing Hands Across the Water, which now supports over 300 children all across Thailand. Our family have supported Hands for the last 5 years, raising close to $100,000. We’ve had some of our most defining experiences in Thailand with the kids, and we will always be committed to giving back!

Is the Future of Leadership summit important?

Any time you have the opportunity to gather with incredible people and hear stories that inspire and challenge is an important date in my book! This will be unlike any other conference Newcastle has seen.

  Your best advice to your fellow millenials?

Don’t perpetuate the stereotypes, find your niche and work hard.