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2 Billion Under 20: Changing Millennial Stereotypes

Career

For Stacey Ferreira, invention is the name of the game. At the ripe age of 24, Ferreira founded two companies and she's not done yet. Her current venture, Forge, is an on-demand temp agency, in the form of a mobile app. Right now, the popular gig is to be an Uber driver or a Postmates delivery person. The trend of working in an open format, where you can set your own hours affords you the luxury of supporting yourself while pursing a dream or other career, such as acting. That is to say, Forge retains the concept of flexible hours, but takes it beyond courier or transportation provider, into stints as a retail sales associate or working in QSR.


Ferreira, who wrote the book 2 Billion Under 20, is a college drop out. While this may not offer images of success, the one-time NYU student aims to challenge the notion that there's one right way to do something, specifically that you need to go to college to be great.

No one needs to read the book to know that a formal secondary education is becoming more of a financial burden with lifelong repercussions than the key to success.

While some millennials are lazy and entitled, the same can be said of every generation. Ultimately, it comes down to media’s specific narrative, and the “lazy, entitled, etc.” narrative just stuck. Maybe it's because of social media, maybe it's because of the fact that most pre-teens have cell phones, but either way, is it Millenials fault that they were born into this digital time?

Another part of the Millennial narrative is the notion that they are over-dependent on their parents. Ferreira likes to give the credit of her initial success to social media, but really she should be giving her parents the credit. “If I hadn’t logged on Twitter and I hadn’t seen that Tweet coming through my feed,” she says, “we wouldn’t be where we are today.” The story goes that Richard Branson Tweeted about an opportunity to have dinner with him for the reasonable price of $2k a person. Being two “broke college students,” Ferreira and her brother borrowed money from their parents. Their parents said they wanted the money back in two months, (which was paid back using one million in seed funding from investors).

“If I hadn’t logged on Twitter and I hadn’t seen that Tweet coming through my feed we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Ferreira isn’t just another trust fund baby who wouldn’t be where she is without her parents. But even if she were, is it such a crime to accept help from parents who are willing? It’s true that not everyone has that luxury, but does that mean that people who are able to get family assistance shouldn’t? That being said, few people who responded to Richard Branson’s tweet – irrespective of how they funded their invitations – did great things with the results. And there are certainly people who took more than $2K from their parents and did absolutely nothing with it.

There is no one way to achieve greatness, or even mediocrity or failure. The founder of Snapchat graduated from Stanford University, while Stacy Ferreira, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs didn’t finish school. Clearly, an education is more than just a degree.

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Culture

Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Eboni K Williams Get Real On ​Race, Success, and Empowerment

Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!


Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.

Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.

During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.

Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.

I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.