Disney_yacht_beach_clubI am reminded of a movie in which Jack Nicholson says, “You can’t handle the truth!” So before you read this, make sure you can handle the truth, and if you are a young professional, weigh in with your comments and let’s get a conversation started …

What do young professionals want?

They want career growth enabled by technology. They want to be listened to and understood. They are willing to work hard and want life balance. They don’t want to be judged by how long they are in the office. Technology is woven into their lives — every day. They manage pretty sizable networks of friends and associates using technology like AIM, mobile phone texting, social networks like MySpace and Facebook. They value time with their families and friends. They often are teaching “adults” about technology — from helping us set and run VCRs to assisting teachers with their Web use. I thought they were amazing and refreshing and brutally honest on this panel!

Two of MACPA’s young member groups were represented on a panel at the Association Digital Now Conference, held at Walt Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club in Orlando, Fla., last week. The panel was titled, “Reality 2.0: Attracting and Engaging the Next Generation Member.” The moderator, Stephen Abram, vice president of Innovation for Sirsidynix, has been studying this generation (a.k.a. Millenials, Net Generation, Generation Y, etc.) for the past few years and added these points to the panel:Dsc00520

  1. They are the largest generation in history, much bigger than the previous largest group, the Baby Boomers.
  2. They are the smartest generation in history, with IQs about 20 points higher than the Boomers.
  3. They are the first generation of digital natives to have lived their entire lives on the Internet.
  4. They are the least violent of all prior generations.

The panel included representatives from three groups of the “next generation” — four students in high school (ages 15-18), college students (freshmen to graduate students) and “young professionals” (late 20s to late 30s). Byron Patrick, chair of the MACPA’s New/Young Professionals Network, and Thomas Hood, a Tomorrow’s CPA high school member, were featured on a panel of “next generation professionals.” More than 300 associations listened intently to the thoughts of these young panelists.

Dsc02446Later in the conference, Patrick and Hood offered demos of the MACPA’s venture into the 3-D Web using Second Life. They drew crowds of us “older” association executives who were eager to learn about the possibilities of building community and engaging young people using Second Life. The MACPA is the first CPA association to establish a presence on the virtual world application. It is in the process of building “CPA Island” as a place for people to gather in the metaverse.

What do we hope to accomplish? According to the Second Life Guide for CPAs:

    We expect to use this as a tool to have the career roadmap and information about a career as a CPA. We also are showing a first cut of our movie about CPAs on the third floor of our SLACPA headquarters (a.k.a. “the chillin’ grounds”). We are interested in collaborating with CPA firms, the AICPA, educators and other state CPA societies to build a community of CPAs on Second Life. We are in the process of establishing “CPA Island,” which can house many firms and organizations. Second, we would love it if you encouraged students and young professionals to join Second Life (it is free) and join SLACPA. We expect to host events, roundtables and general “social networking” for this important segment of our membership.

What do you want as a young professional?

Useful links:

  • You can view the entire Reality 2.0 video by clicking here.
  • You can view notes from the Reality 2.0 session here .
  • Read an article about the first CPA Firm on Second Life here.
  • The Guide for CPAs in Second Life can be found here: Download cpas_on_second_life_guide.doc.
  • Visit Rocky Maddaloni’s blog  here.
  • Read The Daily Record’s article titled “Cool People Apply” here.

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