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Rob Johnson ’09 and coauthor Kate Athmer with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough

GOLD Phin writes book for ambitious millennials

The JU Alumni Relations team has been focusing on our GOLD Phins (Graduates Of the Last Decade) lately – a group comprised largely of millennials. This group has unique needs and desires when it comes to many things, from our networking events to their own professional careers and growth.

According to Forbes, Intelligence Group studies of millennials have found that – 64 percent of millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place; 72 percent of them would like to be their own boss, but if they do have to work for a boss, 79 percent would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor; 88 percent prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one; and the list goes on.

Rob Johnson '09 headshot
Rob Johnson ’09

How do we bridge the gap between the ideals of this generation and the ones that came before, as they integrate in the workplace? JU alumnus Rob Johnson ’09 and coauthor Kate Athmer have put together tools, tips, and tricks to bridge the communication gaps between different generational workplace mentalities and to pave the way for progress in their new book, “Millennial Reboot: Our Generation’s Playbook for Professional Growth.”

Rob Johnson, a Philadelphia native, earned his MBA from our Davis College of Business in 2009. He also served as JU’s Men’s Rowing Coach from 2005-2008. Wave Magazine Online recently spoke with Johnson about “Millennial Reboot,” as well as his time at JU.

When did you get the idea, and what made you want to write “Millennial Reboot: Our Generation’s Playbook for Professional Growth?” 

A lot of our peers, including some of our best friends, are both frustrated with their options and not really sure how where to start looking for a path to advancement. We’ve found ourselves coaching our friends and recent graduates on a lot of the subtle strategies that were missing from their previous training in either college, or the workplace. We were lucky enough to have a lot of great mentors and opportunities that brought us to the point, and this is our way of paying it forward – or as we like to say, sending the elevator back down.

Who will benefit most from reading this book?

It’s primarily for ambitious millennials on how to succeed within the corporate framework, rather than feeling their only option is to become an entrepreneur. Most millennials aren’t ready for a “4-hour work week” or to be their own boss, but they also don’t want to “sell out” and completely change who they are just to maintain dull or frustrating existence in a corporation. So, we offer practical tools, tips, and tricks to bridge the communication gaps between different workplace mentalities and to pave the way for progress.

How did your career point you in the direction writing?

I didn’t know this at first, but my career pointed toward writing from the very beginning. It really started with telling stories through the marketing channels I’ve overseen throughout my career, both traditional and digital. Having a strong base in the marketing field prepares you to tell relatable stories, get to the point quickly, and fill a need for others.

When in your career do you feel you truly embraced the concepts and ideas you bring forward in this book? What/who helped pave your way to professional growth and success?

Learning and embracing the concepts of this book is really an evolving process. “Millennial Reboot,” much like my MBA foundational classes [at JU], set the platform for you to grow. What paved the way for my professional growth and successes has been to [work harder] than the people around you, never stop learning, and don’t be an unpleasant coworker.

“Millennial Reboot: Our Generation's Playbook for Professional Growth" Book Cover
“Millennial Reboot” book cover

What led you to JU for your education?

The combination of the then brand new Davis College of Business building and rowing team were the drivers for me to attend JU. When I was leaving undergrad, I was searching for a highly-regarded business school and a rowing team on the rise that I could coach while getting my MBA. JU fit both of those perfectly and still one of the best decisions I ever made.

The JU Alumni Relations team will be giving away a copy of Mr. Johnson’s book to a GOLD Phin (Graduate Of the Last Decade) who makes a gift* of their graduation year (class of 2017 = $20.17) between now and July 31, 2017. If you opt to make this a monthly recurring gift, you will automatically become a member of the GOLD Phin Society, receive a GOLD Phin flag and other membership benefits.
*If you are the winner of this giveaway, $15.99+tax of your gift will not be tax-deductible; any further amount given and any recurring gifts will be 100% tax-deductible.