LEAD YP: Navigating A Multi-Generational Workplace

Mitesh Patel, Physician Assistant, Baylor Scott & White Health

On June 29, Kelli Valade, CEO and president of a Dallas-based restaurant data analytics firm spoke to our DRC LEAD YP class about navigating a multi-generational workplace. She said TDn2K uses human resource statistics to drive people, profits, and principles in the restaurant industry. Valade is passionate about the food industry and has decades of experience in numerous high-profile roles, most notably the Chief Operating Office for Chili’s® Grill & Bar.

Valade began her presentation with an interactive generational quiz designed to give its respondents a better sense of who they are. The quiz yielded some surprising results: many in our class of millennials shared more in common with generations closest to theirs than they anticipated. This activity made it clear that generations aren’t distinct from one another, and people of different ages share more in common than they differ. Before jumping to conclusions or making inaccurate judgments, it is important to understand “the whole person,” Valade emphasized. She also spoke of the importance of searching for common ground. By establishing a connection with an individual, one can address common principles that resonate with all generations. This approach is known as “know me, connect with me, challenge me, inspire me, and unleash me.”

Valade gave a touching personal account of the power of human connection. She said that getting to know the people with whom we interact, even briefly, can make us better workers and people. Valade contrasted the power of connection with statistics about the loneliness epidemic and how, statistically, being lonely, living alone, and having few social connections can be as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes per day and is worse than being obese. She also mentioned how loneliness can increase the risk of death at any given time by 29 percent.

Valade wrapped up her presentation by calling for us as leaders to create an environment where everyone has value, and can be seen and heard.

LEAD YP is a 10-month leadership program for up-and-coming young professionals. The initiative helps participants gain a better understanding of their leadership styles and provides new insights on leading and inspiring others. To learn more, click here.