Heeding Jack Layton’s Call To Action for Young Digitally-Savvy Canadians

As many Canadian companies in the online, digital, mobile, motion and virtual worlds are often being run by young Canadians, Jack Layton was certainly a relevant political figure. 

While I’m obviously just as rattled as you by his sudden death, he absolutely nailed it in terms of the situation that faces young Canadians in his speech here on the CBC.ca website: 

You can find more of “Jack Layton’s Words” as in the image below on Stuart Thursby’s website

All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

Access to the “right information” is a massive challenge still

One of the biggest challenges in Canada today is how misinformed we are as a society and our lack of understanding of critical issues that we face as most of us really only know the headlines, if we are following the news at all.

The most passionate young entrepreneurs started their companies and their dreams based on the change they wanted to see in the world.

Sure, they could have been naïve at first, not always knowing the competition and exactly what impact they were having when they became successful, but then they began to see between the blurred lines and dominated industries for periods of time.

Transparency is Key for Long-Term Success

Entrepreneurs have to be more transparent towards their employees, especially younger ones.

It’s the feeling of not knowing what is going on at your place of employment which I feel exists in the culture of many companies today given current organizational structures.

I understand trust is the biggest concern here, but in a world that will see a dramatic number of baby boomers retire, entrepreneurial hands are forced into giving young people responsibility if they want a chance at being progressive and innovative.

That was the reason I never joined the ranks of a large corporation and while I have nothing against most enterprises- it just didn’t seem like I could get where I wanted to be very quickly.

There’s a call to action by media leaders like Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post for companies to be more transparent in a new age of journalism where it has been proven that a collection of aggregated sources is much more powerful than a sole news source.

The Internet certainly rewards transparency- one can build a following by constantly producing great and honest content for others to read.

The difference between young Canadians and older Canadians is that we don’t need context in the form of a national newspaper- we’ll listen to a wide variety of perspectives and side with who we think has the best opinion.

Let me say this- if you are passionate enough, if your dream is big enough, and if your idea is good enough, some measure of success can find you in one way or another- and especially here in Toronto, labeled as a city of great opportunity.

How I got here and how you can get there

When I completely realized that the face of the marketing world had been flipped upside down after three years in the industry, my university education was a crash course in the history of advertising, and chaos was erupting as revenue models were changing, I finally began to see a shift.

Baby boomers who account for most of the wealth on this continent suddenly turned to us, social media consultants, mobile gurus, and what not, fresh out of school, all under the age of 25 or 30.

It’s true that the tech world gives young people a chance to take on extraordinary levels of responsibility, unlike many other industries, but at the core, it all begins with an idea of what change means to you.

Layton was inspired by our passion and ideas towards reshaping the world- the same that can inspire an investor to give you a shot at making your dreams come true.

Sure, there are roadblocks along the way, and sometimes we have to make sacrifices to save face, but I think creative thinking can overcome obstacles within the ways society already operates.

You can’t change the way the world works in a matter of days, but as Layton says, young Canadians’ passion and energy can emotionally inspire those who are older than us to listen to you – for there’s hope to change the world over a few months, over a decade, and over a generation, if you will.

Think about how to be creatively heard, and if people eventually respond, you know you will have done a service to the people you walk or drive by on the street every day.

I hear many people saying that they aren’t technical- but it’s still possible to land a job at a technical company – an April Business Insider article does a good job of explaining how.

After all, transparency allows you to follow in the steps of a political leader that did things for people, day in and day out, Mr. Jack Layton.