Scott Zimmer, a product of Generation X, went through college with a passion for public speaking as well as a deep interest in the generational divide. Zimmer graduated with a BA in mass communications in 2000 and went on to begin his public speaking career from there. When guest speaking for a company called BridgeWorks, Zimmer discovered that he had found a place that really highlighted his interests, and he made it a goal to one day join their team. After a long while of following BridgeWorks on LinkedIn and other social media sites, an opening came up, and Zimmer began his career as one of three speakers at this firm of “generational junkies and trend spotters” in 2013. Zimmer will deliver the keynote address “When Generations Connect: Leadership Across Generational Divides” at 9:30 am during the Opening Session on Monday.
Founded in 1998, BridgeWorks strives to bridge the generational gaps that are found in all workplaces through research, keynote speakers, workshops, blogs, training, trivia, and more. Bridgeworks is a team of 13 people coming from the Baby Boomer generation down to Millennials on the cusp of being classified with Generation Z (Gen Edgers, as Zimmer calls them). Each team member has their own interesting and diverse background with a passion for the topic of generations, and everyone engages this passion by conducting research with the BridgeWorks team.
There are generational clashes in every single industry, according to Zimmer. Just at BridgeWorks, he even notices when simply sending a text he perceives as “normal” to one of his Millennial coworkers, that it is sometimes received as curt and leaves the recipient concerned that they have done something to offend him. This topic is not foreign to anyone—everyone has had a moment of saying “kids these days,” or “ugh, old people.” Because of this, Zimmer starts every session knowing that each person will leave with relevant insights and actionable takeaways.
Zimmer also loves to integrate nostalgia into his presentations, and working with generational theory at BridgeWorks allows him to do just that in a way that helps drive home points and makes ideas more relatable. “Some people like to say we are all just people, and we grow out of certain things,” he says. “But we develop specific traits and values at an impressionable age, and I love looking at what was happening in our lives during those formative years. What are these shared experiences that will form who we are?”
This love of nostalgia set Zimmer up for a great opportunity to develop his own trivia gameshow at BridgeWorks. GenPOP! is an interactive trivia gameshow that pairs members of different generations up and quizzes them on all things pop culture from different decades while also teaching audience members new things about the people they interact with every day. This gameshow highlights the generational gaps that exist in your work environment, but it also brings team members together for better understanding.
“So much goes into who we are and who shows up to the workplace, what effects our behavior, and our motivation,” says Zimmer when asked where his passion for this topic stems. “It could be our gender, the region we grew up in, or birth order, and I personally like looking at it through the lens of these different generations.”
So, what will Zimmer bring to CHEST 2018? During his keynote presentation, Zimmer will examine the generational gaps that are existent in the medical community. “You don’t want your young medical professionals to feel like they are sitting at the ‘kids table’ or being talked down to when they have something to share because they do not have equal experience.”
Each generation and each member of a medical team communicates differently, and understanding those differences and feeling like an equal part of the team is very important. How information is conveyed to patients and medical team members of any age affects how they perceive given information and the level of comfort that is felt by each party. Finding ways to bridge the obvious gaps between the generations is a key component to making any team work efficiently.