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Looking to Bridge the Generational Gap in Post-Election NM

November 10, 2008

Albuquerque, NM - The election of Barack Obama has inspired youth across New Mexico and across America to get involved in their communities and in politics. Now, community leaders are looking for ways to build on that inspiration to bridge the generational gap.

Robby Rodriguez directs the Southwest Organizing Project in Albuquerque and is one of the authors of a new book on generational change and leadership. He says it's important for leaders from the older and from the younger generations to begin sharing experiences and developing trust.

"That means working together so that then they can say, 'Oh, yeah, remember when we did this and we did that?' And it helps to lay a foundation of trust that allows people to work better together across generations."

Rodriguez believes the financial crisis may keep a number of leaders from the baby boom generation from retiring in the near future, just as many young people from the so-called "millenial generation" are entering the work force.

"The question is, how is it that organizations can draw on the experience and vision of both younger and older generation leaders to help shape the future together."

He notes one recommendation outlined in the book is the importance of understanding the different approaches to balancing work and family life between the generations. He says while it might appear to the older crowd that younger leaders don't put as much time in at the office, there's likely more work being done on the move using a BlackBerry or at home after the kids are in bed.

Rodriguez adds that the election of Obama and the campaign leading up to it has been a clear indication of the generational change taking place in New Mexico and nationwide.

The book is called Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership and is co-authored by Rodriguez, Frances Kunreuther and Helen Kim from the Building Movement Project.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM