A leading voice of the millennial generation is coming to Bermuda this weekend to run a marathon and to speak about how young entrepreneurs are changing the world.
Jared Kleinert has been named by US Today as the “most connected millennial”, due to his success at building and cultivating an extensive network of friends, colleagues and associates in the world of business and entrepreneurships.
At 22, his knowledge and insight into the world of the millennial generation, of which he is part, means he is in demand as a speaker and consultant, particularly by companies eager to learn what they should be doing to attract and retain millennials and Generation Z-ers into their workforce.
In Bermuda, a hot topic of discussion for insurance and reinsurance leaders in recent years is how best to encourage millennials to seek careers in the industry.
Mr Kleinert, whose marketing and consultancy business Kleinert Ventures works with companies seeking ways to recruit millennials, said: “A lot of companies are facing issues finding top millennial talent. They could think about alternative ways to recruit talent.
“The traditional employer-employee relationship is changing. They could bring in top talent, bring in a consultant. It could be a company-vendor relationship.
“There are a lot of incubators and accelerators where companies are allowing people to come in and start their own projects. This allows employees or top talent to have more ownership of what they are doing and control their destiny.”
He said this allowed the person a level of autonomy and innovation, rather than being micromanaged.
Mr Kleinert has been a featured speaker at a number of TED events. He is the author of two books. The first, 2 Billion Under 20, was named the number one entrepreneurship book of 2015 by Axiom Business Book Awards. That was followed by 3 Billion Under 30, released last year. The books feature interviews and stories about some of the most successful and influential millennials. It is that knowledge that forms the core of what Mr Kleinert does today.
He showed ambition as a 15-year-old when he started his first business. However, it failed.
“I made every mistake you can think of,” he said.
However, soon afterwards he came across the Thiel Foundation, created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, which supports young visionaries through guidance and a limited number of scholarships to create start-ups or work on social movements.
While Mr Kleinert is not a benefactor of a Thiel Fellowship award, Stacey Ferreira, his coauthor on 2 Billion Under 20, is. And Mr Kleinert joined the Thiel Foundation community when he attended a conference and found himself “surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people who were young and creating an impact”.
He said: “I wanted to share that. I thought these people could be working together to influence the world.
“I have been identifying who is going to run the world in the next five years. I identify them and then connect them and share those stories through talks and books.”
Mr Kleinert believes there is strength in collaboration and networking, and it is something he has identified among the millennial generation. He sees himself as playing a part in establishing and nurturing those connections between young entrepreneurs.
When asked about why it is important to be well-connected and plugged into networks, he said: “Your network is everything. There is an old axiom that your network is your net worth. You are the average of the five people you spend most time with, or the 500 you connect with on Facebook.”
He said having a wide network of personal and professional contacts is a valuable communication resource.
“That’s what has allowed me to learn my whole career. It gives you options about what career opportunities are available.
“Connecting gives you more options. You build a network and you will find that more people will care about you and look out for you.”
He advises to always be conscious of your decisions, and to think about who the person is who is giving you advice, and what bias or motivations they might have. Likewise, you should be conscious of where you source your own information.
Through Kleinert Ventures, he has become “a go-to marketing and business development consultant” for venture-backed start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, New York Times bestselling authors, and others.
Despite having so much occupying his time, Mr Kleinert decided in August that he wanted to get healthier and lose weight. He set himself the goal of running a marathon. He chose Bermuda after learning about the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, which combines three races in three days. He faces the challenge of a mile, on Friday, followed by a 10k on Saturday and then a marathon on Sunday.
“Running a marathon was on my bucket list, so it was a nice challenge that I could be held to by my friends.
“I really did it to encourage a healthier lifestyle, get back on track and become mentally tougher,” he said, referring to the drive needed to keep running for hours.
Another positive was having a reason to wave goodbye to the chilly winter in the US, and reacquaint himself with Bermuda. He previously visited the island to give a talk at Bacardi on the topic of attracting and retaining millennials.
Before leaving Bermuda next week, Mr Kleinert will give a talk at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on Monday evening. The discussion is titled “How millennials continue to change the world” and will focus on business and life lessons from the world’s smartest and most talented millennials.
• Mr Kleinert’s talk at BUEI, which includes a book signing, is at 7pm on Monday. Tickets can be bought directly from BUEI and cost $25 general admission, $20 for members, and $10 for students