I'm sitting across from Eric Termuende, the Director of Gen Y Inc., a Calgary-based consultancy organization that helps companies attract, engage and integrate the next generation. Eric was the VP of Finance at the University of Calgary, Class Ambassador for his graduating class, represented Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit and the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s ‘Entrepreneurship 3.0’ Summit and speaks for the Conference Board of Canada. His main gig is currently leading Gen Y Inc.'s "Emerging Leaders Network," expanding their client base and connecting the front-runners of Generation Y throughout Canada. In ten years, 75% of the workforce will be made up of Gen Y's. Eric seeks to ensure that this generation has a future lush with opportunities to specialize in their passion and particular skill set by creating a network of forward-thinking leaders.
Oh, and did I mention he's 22?
Eric has accomplished in 22 years what most people hope to achieve in a lifetime. Yet, despite his dauntingly impressive resume, Eric is down-to-earth, authentic, doing what he loves and simply passionate about making the future brighter for his generation, which is why we have decided to highlight him for our first installment of #realandraw community.
Q: So Eric, can you briefly tell me what Gen Y is all about?
A: Our motto is value for everyone. We want to empower a generation to educate a workforce on what they want. It's about integrating communities. Giving a workforce the tools to integrate the next generation.
Q: How did you start getting involved in the University, Gen Y, and being a representative for so many organizations? What was your main source of inspiration?
A: I dropped out of University for a semester and I didn't have any plans on coming back. Then I realized that because academics wasn't my strong suit but I loved talking to people that if I got involved in extra-curricular activities and started to connecting with people, I could learn from them and actually apply it to academics. You usually take what you learn in school and apply it. I did the flip. From there everything kept escalating because when you are connected to more people there are more opportunities.
Q: What would you say is your proudest accomplishment to date?
A: I know this sounds cliché, but...being happy. I feel like I am living lifestyle I want.
Q: You have such a busy, globe-trotting lifestyle, what do you do to unwind and take care of yourself?
A: I like to go the gym, but even then I'm taking emails at the gym, phone calls at the gym, doing something. For the past 8 months we haven't even had an office, but in a few weeks we will be moving into HQ YYC with Branded and DateNight. I'm really excited! But I want an office to be nothing more than a base, a place you can come to and to meet and almost celebrate our successes, not a work space. That's part of actually how I look to unwind. If we're doing out job right, we're never in an office anyways.
Q: What advice can you give to people from your generation that are looking to emulate your success?
A: Make sure you are doing what you want to do and for the right reasons. At the end of the day, it's the culture and lifestyle that you want to live that will bind you to your success. If you love what you are doing and there is a value to it, it can be athletics, art, engineering business, etc., there is something there for you. Don't ever try to find a job based on dollars and cents. You can always make it on a shoestring budget, take it from me.
Q: We have identified you as a leader for your generation and one of the movers and shakers of YYC. You have also been highlighted in the most recent issue of Branded. What does this responsibility mean to you?
A: At Gen Y We are just taking it day by day and trying to be the best organization we can be. We know that we are super passionate, work really hard and have a value for potential clients. We try to have every door open without closing any of them, so we are ready to walk through at any time.
Q: You have such a busy, globe-trotting lifestyle, what is one adventure you are dying to take?
A: I'm going to Turkey later on this year which I am really excited for!
Q: Lastly, Favorite Cru Juice blend?
Yo Madre. Absolutely.
Watch out for Eric as he keeps it #realandraw and continues to expand Gen Y Inc. internationally, connecting the top leaders of his generation across the globe.