Jackson Lo is the founder and CEO of KayLo Marketing and an avid blogger. He is also an executive member and photographer at Begin 2 Believe, a not-for-profit organization that lives to build a stronger community in Ottawa. You can follow Jackson on Twitter @jackson_lo.
Gen Y Ottawa (short form #GenYOTT) is all about social networking – taking an evening to go out and meet great new people in your area, not as a way to find clients or investors (although you may do just that!), but as friends first. GenYOTT was founded by four very social people; Jen Butson, Brian Alkerton, Japman Bajaj, and Matt Richling. Their very first event dates back to November 26, 2009, where their goal was to have GenYOTT serve as a focal point for the tech-savvy, ambitious and creative young people of Ottawa, diverse in their backgrounds and professions but united in their desire to build a community based on the ideals of collaboration, community service, and fun!
Wednesday night’s event was definitely a great one. With more than 150 attendees, the room was packed with people from backgrounds of all sorts. It was memorable because it was the celebration of GenYOTT’s one-year anniversary.
The night started with an hour of mingling – attendees grabbed food, drinks and socialized amongst themselves. As young people, we are very approachable, that is one of the benefits of GenYOTT, everyone there is nice!
The night started with an opening speech by Japman (giving his standup!). Japman then introduced Urooj Qureshi, a Gen Y who shared his journey as a volunteer at Serenity Renewal. Serenity Renewal is a non-denominational charitable organization that provides aid to individuals dealing with the effects of addictions and addictive behaviours. The take away for me is that there are so many initiatives that Ottawans take part in. We make a drastic difference in our community, but often that message doesn’t reach everyone. We all learn something from one another, and I believe it is important to spread the word. We never know what difference you are making to someone who’s looking for something you know. Great job Urooj!
The special speaker at the event was Dennis Van Staalduinen. Dennis is a funny and edgy brand consultant and he spoke about the importance of getting to know who you are better. How many times has someone asked you “So… what do you do?” Do you have your 30-second pitch down? Or do you find yourself stuttering and speaking foreign to the person you are trying to engage a conversation with? Not only did Dennis bring a lot of his knowledge into the room, but filled it with humor and lots of involvement from the audience. We all learned a lot about ourselves from Dennis.
Not only are these events to gather young folks in the community together, but it is also an opportunity anyone to expose themselves to others and build a network with talented and awesome people. I have personally only attended three of GenYOTT’s events but none have been a disappointment. I encourage anyone and everyone to come check out their next event, which will be in the next year (join their Facebook Page or follow their #genyott hashtag to stay updated!). Whether you are a student in your first or last year of university, spend most of your time on Twitter, Facebook or any other social networks, or looking for a way out of a 9-5 job and have an idea to start a business, GenYOTT is the place for you. Oh, and did I mention that the events are FREE? Yes, they are FREE!
We are all excited to see what GenYOTT has in store for us in 2011.
“Thank you everyone for an AMAZING time last night at #genyott. Can’t wait to reveal the 2011 plans soon!”
Hope to see some of you out at the next GenYOTT event!