I’m Geena Matuson,
arts technologist, educator,
author and speaker.

A multimedia storyteller, I use print, digital, web, video and social to tell cohesive stories that prioritize relationships.

Next Gen Summit 2019: Removing walls and connecting young entrepreneurs

Next Gen Summit 2019: Removing walls and connecting young entrepreneurs

I’m very excited for the opportunity to be a Next Gen Scholar as part of Next Gen Summit from June 7-9 in NYC! Next Gen is a global community and conference built for young entrepreneurs, by young entrepreneurs. The summit is a conference over three days that, this year, will bring “50+ speakers and panelists, over 80 mentors to guide your business, connections to multi-million dollar brands and recruiters from Fortune 500 companies, a pitch competition to leading seed investors, and a chance to connect with 1,000+ entrepreneurs.”

I have a “Scholar” pass, which offers early access to mentoring opportunities, round tables and themed dinners, and some extra programming. This morning, registration opened. As I was looking into one-on-one mentor sessions, and asked if something was wrong with the site; none of the mentors were listed as available. It turns out so many of us were booking event registrations that we temporarily crashed the platform, haha! And that makes me even more excited about the NGS2019 event — I’ll be surrounded by people who are just as excited and passionate about entrepreneurship and growth. I love meeting new people who want to learn, grow and share experiences together.

So far, I can’t even keep up with all of the opportunities Next Gen has to offer. Every day they post updates about those in the community, or a new partnership. Amidst her own graduation and other Next Gen preparation, Director of Community Rachel Gross gave me her time so I could ask a million questions (when do I not ask a million questions? — there’s one now). Rachel also contributes to Thrive Global, and recently wrote an article about her personal relationship to money. It was open and honest — and I can relate. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable and guilt-free when they’re just…you know, living? Now working on my capstone, a project substantiating the final credit hours I need in order to receive my Masters degree, I am confronted with the guilt of just living for myself, following my dreams and pursuing my goals. (I think, too, entrepreneurs often feel guilty when we're not constantly working.)

Rachel also connected me to some amazing entrepreneurs, like Tiffany Carvalho. Her NGS spotlight feature really resonated with me beyond the fact she calls herself an “artist and entrepreneur.” It's rare to find someone who thinks of themselves in this way; many artists don't understand they are creative entrepreneurs. Creatives often aren't given the tools or skills to grow as entrepreneurs, trapped under the guise of society's idea of the “artist.” Though brief, the journey Tiffany describes sounds similar to my recent journey.

In the last year I’ve met many entrepreneurs who are also going through internal journeys, and you can see this growth reflected in their work. It’s enlightening to be around people who are so open, pushing themselves to look at things differently so they can improve in all areas of life. When you push yourself beyond your known limits, the exhaustion and growth will force your walls down — you just don’t have the energy to keep them up. You’re communicating your goals, sure, and now you’re also communicating your fears and weaknesses, both seeking and soaking up information. When your walls are down like this, you’re also more open to receiving; guidance and opportunity enter for those who are open to it. Without walls, we really accomplish and achieve so much more.

I liken this to Next Gen. In addition to the advantage of social media and increased digital connectivity, Next Gen was created in order to remove perceived walls between young entrepreneurs in all sectors and across a range of skill areas. By taking down these walls and giving them — us — a space to connect, we can communicate our goals and help others, grow a community, and we’ll achieve so much more.

Thanks so much to my friend and former classmate — and now, author — Randy Ginsburg, along with Creator Institute, for providing this entrepreneur opportunity.

Rebranding and communicating my goals

Rebranding and communicating my goals