The Millennial Advisory Council was formed as a way for Millennials at The Coca-Cola Company to share their perspectives directly with the Board of Directors. Three to five Millennial associates are selected from across the organization representing different geographies and areas of the business. These individuals have the opportunity to present ideas in a “Ted Talk” style to the Board.

The first Millennial Advisory Council was comprised of Tevin Govender, Christina Ambrose, Josie Brucker and Joao Victor Galhego. They met at the One Young World Summit in October 2018 and, following the summit, were asked to present their ideas on how to implement World Without Waste – the company’s goal of collecting and recycling a bottle or can for every one it sells globally by 2030 – to the Board of Directors. The team presented their ideas for how countries  could work together at the local level to meet the World Without Waste goals. In addition to this being a motivating and inspiring opportunity for these Millennials, it also served as a learning opportunity for the Board and senior management.

“We believe in a world without waste and most importantly we believe in this company” – Joao 

As part of this experience, the Millennial Advisory Council members were invited to a dinner at the New York Stock Exchange, where company leaders asked them about a variety of topics – from current events to social media.

Here’s what the Millennial Advisory Council had to share about their experience presenting to the Board and getting to know senior leaders:

How has this experience shaped how you view the company?

(Christina): It’s shown me that Coca-Cola can adapt and be flexible to the changing external environment. It also confirmed for me that our leaders are authentic, care about the business and mostly the people who work here. Throughout this experience, I felt I was heard and that my ideas were being taken seriously.

(Joao): It says a lot about our company that they specifically wanted to create an advisory panel for the Board of Directors. It speaks to Coca-Cola’s inclusive culture and their sincere interest in having  different generational voices heard. If they are able to adapt ideas and try new things, it makes me feel confident we will have a strong business for the next 135 years.

What did it mean to get this opportunity so early in your career?

(Tevin): It felt like I could be an agent of change. It made me realize that we need to be the ones to initiate the change we want to see at Coca-Cola – or in the world – because no one else is going to do it for us.  There’s a real sense of change that’s happening now at the company. The thinking is different, and it makes you want to be part of something that’s different but that’s also making a positive impact in the world.

What did you learn from this experience? How will it change how you do your job?

(Josie): I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid of failure. There’s always a lesson learned when things don’t go the right way from the start. I learned how to ask the right questions and gained the confidence to ask the difficult ones.

(Christina): I also learned that “no” isn’t necessarily a “no” – it may just be “not now.” It’s about figuring out another way to get to the “yes” and that’s why iteration is so important.

What’s your advice to future millennials that will go through this process?

(Tevin): If you are ambitious and have an idea you want to pursue – this company will help you get there. Show purpose and value. And put yourself out there.

Some Millennials  - and all associates for that matter – can struggle with feeling empowered in a corporate environment. How would you say this experience empowered you?

(Joao): It’s the awareness that empowerment has to come from within and you can’t wait for others to make you feel empowered. You can make your own “Coke.”

(Josie): It goes back to this idea that it’s OK not to be perfect. It’s about progression over perfection.