1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello, community! My name is Cami and I am the owner and coach for MillenniAlign a life and career coaching service for Millennials in the U.S. I identify as she/her and I am a writer, woman of faith, intersectional feminist, wife, bibliophile, music aficionado, and gardener. In 2016, I received a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, as well as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Owens-Illinois. Probably to no one’s surprise, I’m also in recovery from being an ENTJ, an over-achiever, and a perfectionist.
I launched MillenniAlign in 2019, with the mission to embolden Millennials (born between 1981-1996) to achieve their dreams and realize abundance for themselves.
2. What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first ‘career’-type job was actually a promotion from in-house editor/supervisor to a client-facing executive for an international market research company. My job was to build and maintain exceptional relationships with our clients by developing and executing their operational and client-satisfaction research studies using my team of in-house and remote staff. I was offered the promotion in the fall of 2008 after I had recently completed my undergrad in English, and was still waffling over whether I was going to pursue graduate school right away or not. As fate would have it, I took the promotion—which ended up being a wise move, given the impending recession. As a newly minted professional, I learned a lot about resilience and how we can never take one relationship or one sale for granted.
Seizing the opportunity to accept a lead role in the company—especially at the young age of 23!—was an amazing opportunity and allowed me to learn how to establish new relationships, develop my brand of leadership, and grow professionally…and even make mistakes. I was incredibly fortunate to have a boss who saw my potential very early in my career, always reflecting with me on how to learn from my mistakes, and challenging me to pursue goals rather than merely accomplish tasks.
3. How did you decide and get to your career today?
I moved from my previous executive, private-sector role in 2013 into public service, specifically planning, research, and quality improvement. I completed my Master’s, received a regional young professional award, and was promoted into leadership. All of this allowed me additional leadership opportunities to help my community all within a year. I was completely burned out. By observing my high-performing Millennial colleagues around me, I saw the same pattern. Curious, I started to do my own research on the Millennial generation.
The stereotype that often came up to describe Millennials as “lazy,” but the majority of Millennials I knew worked the equivalent of a full-time job while having at least one business or ‘side-hustle’ of their own, not to mention their personal lives which could include partners, children, and continuing education. I dug in further: What did Millennials think of their own generation? I found that Millennials believe their generation is adaptable, passionate, and high-tech; they also believe they can achieve their dreams, but that abundance is unattainable for them. Why? …The financial collapse, when many of us were graduating and entering the workforce (often with unparalleled student loan debt). …Social structures that have reinforced historical trauma and oppression. …The uncertainty of our environment's future. Many Millennials feel both impacted by and responsible for course-correcting these issues, but don't know where they fit in specifically in a way that is meaningful and so they can thrive. Instead, we pick up more jobs, burn ourselves out, and wonder why we feel like we are neither progressing nor living a life of purpose (if we even know what our purpose is!).
Dealing with my own burnout, I gave myself permission to resign from a number of obligations so I could focus on figuring out my purpose. Along the way, I developed a series of strategies and tools to help with the qualities I previously struggled with: clarity, confidence, and compassion. This series is what I refer to as the ‘Aim, and Align’ process. In April 2019, I formalized the process and started MillenniAlign, through which I work one-on-one with Millennials as their life and career coach. MillenniAlign is for people who may have a fuzzy view of their future, and need help defining their goals and sticking to them. It's for entrepreneurs who need a framework for getting started and maintaining momentum. And it's for those who want to succeed in the way they define success.
4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?
I don’t think I would have given advice. Instead, I would have asked her a reflective question: “Whose purpose are you serving?” Then, I would tell my younger self not to answer immediately, but to really think critically about that. We, particularly Millennials, have been groomed to achieve more, show up more, hustle more, etc., and as a result, creating more noise and chaos in our lives is automatic and, frankly, a status symbol. We have such a hard time disrupting our own lives and creating an intention for ourselves. It wasn’t until I started saying no to others and incorporating silence and the practice of meditation that I began to question whose purpose I was really serving…and it became clear rather quickly that it wasn’t mine. I resolved to change that day and embark on learning what my purpose truly was.
5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally?
In five years, I aim to be living my purpose fully through writing and working with others on their journeys.
Stay connected with Cami!
Personal Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sziroth/