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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Why @JohnToryTO should hire @MorganBaskinTO

 John Tory is a smart man with a background in managing big organizations.  One of the keys to any form of successful leadership is recognizing one's own strengths and weaknesses and building teams that fill out your capacity.
It's clear this is what John Tory has in mind as he builds his team.  It's also clear that he's not slacking off on the political acuity side, as he's made a point of saying he hopes to find ways to include his main rivals for the Mayor's chair, Doug Ford and Olivia Chow.
 While John Tory is a good man with right intent, he's decidedly old-school and upper-class.  His approach to management is equally grounded in a old-world, top-town mentality - this was reflected in past comments about the need for women employees to hustle more and his difficulty in accepting the concept of white privilege.
These aren't abject human failings on Tory's part so much as they are limitations.  We can't truly know what we can't experience - it's why the smartest urban planners in the world often neglect design-thinking pieces around accessibility, navigability, etc.  It's why we have a representative democracy in the first place.
John Tory has done a great deal of good for a great many communities, but he doesn't necessarily understand their day-to-day reality or have the capacity to see the world through their point of view. 
This is especially true of millennials. Of course, he's not alone in this - baby boomer managers and employers from every sector are struggling to recruit and retain millenials.
The problem they are facing is one of culture change.  Once at the forefront of social change, babyboomers have become the establishment.  They fundamentally don't get the priorities of today's youth; they have trouble seeing the modern forms of interaction and ideation that millenials practice as anything other than a lack of discipline.
This shouldn't be a problem for Tory - he's smart enough to recognize what he doesn't know and fill out his team with supportive players.
Which is where Morgan Baskin comes in.
If you haven't heard of Morgan Baskin, she's the 19 year-old who ran for Mayor.  Put it another way - she's a millennial that understands the motivations of modern youth who was gutsy and tenacious enough to hustle in an old-school way John Tory would be familiar with.  She also happens to be wicked-smart, well-versed on issues and an effective communicator.
As a result of having run for office, Morgan has amassed an impressive network of supporters and partners who rightly recognize her as a young leader to watch.  She also has an insider's familiarity with the political process that few youth - including those weaned on partisan politics and youth forums - can match.
Right now, Morgan is weighing her options of what to do next, which school to go to, where to dedicate her focus post-election.  Among the options she is considering is study in either public policy or urban studies.  She remains passionately committed to systems change in Toronto. 
Who better to lead or at least advise John Tory's youth employment/civic engagement push? 
Hiring Morgan in some capacity (ie, a paid position) would be a smart move on the part of Team Tory.  She can do the job, she can communicate Tory's message (and bring the message of youth back to him) and beyond that, it's good optics. 
A big challenge old guard employers/policy makers face is that they are seen as tokenizing youth rather than taking them seriously.  Giving a millennial a significant, paid role on his team with a clear mandate is a great way for Tory to send the message to Toronto's youth that he's serious.
Would Morgan be interested, though?
Morgan's nobody's pasty; she wouldn't take on a token position, nor would she be content to be a one-way messenger.  Morgan is a quintessential millennial; she's diplomatic, but not willing to push messages she doesn't believe in.  Engagement, not sales, is her focus.
If Tory were to consider adding Morgan to his team, he'd have to make sure the position offered was one she could relate to, grow in and find fulfilment through.  That's just the way it is with millenials.
I think it would be a great match; Tory would gain a fresh face, powerful communicator and a bridge to millenials.  Morgan would have a great opportunity to hone her skills, build her brand and facilitate the kind of change she knows is required. 
Plus, doing so would be a clear, early indication that Team Tory is serious about doing a better job engaging the City's youth.  Figuring out how to bring Morgan on to his team would also be a useful exercise in millennial engagement for Tory himself. 
Introductions made - I look forward to seeing what happens next.


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