Millennials on the Move: Kaitlin Burket

by Ryan Miller

Kaitlin Burket
32, Development Manager for Virginia Beach Library Foundation

How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?

As with most past generations viewing the succeeding generation after them, Baby Boomers and even Gen X'ers, to an extent, look at millennials through the lens in which they were once judged. In turn, that causes them to view us as entitled, lazy and having something handed to us without the kind of work they had to do. However, most millennials entered the workforce in the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Much like previous generations, we’ve had to forge a new reality and a new world for ourselves.

In what ways does having younger employees add to a company's success?

The one thing about our generation that is often taken for granted is our adaptability and willingness to not just embrace change but to implement it ourselves. It gives us an advantage of being able to survive rapid change and even supplementing or enhancing productivity. We don’t live by “this is the way it’s always been done.”

Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?

As much as I appreciate, and often take advantage myself, of our more fluid ways of interpersonal communication, we have to remember that meaningful, in-person conversation is irreplaceable. We cannot be afraid to pick up a phone and call someone ... or better yet, meet them in person. Being able to look someone in the eye and get a feel for their body language tells much more than a box of words on a screen could ever do.

What do you look for in a job/company?

The one thing any of us should want in our career is to have purpose. I want to have a goal set and, more importantly, be given the flexibility to reach it. All successful companies give their staff a mission, flexibility and a team approach to accomplish what they need for the betterment of the employer.

What kinds of digital platforms do you feel you have benefited from in your career?

Social media began playing a part in our day-to-day lives while I was in college, and sites like Facebook and LinkedIn has dramatically changed the way we all communicate and share information. Now despite the recent trend of sharing false and misleading information, social media has played a critical role in making our world much smaller and connecting each of us in ways we haven't been connected before.

Kaitlin Burket, Development Manager for Virginia Beach Public Library Foundation

What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?

Obviously, we are surrounded by beautiful beaches and waterways, not to mention our proximity to Richmond and D.C. We have the advantage of being close to each of these hubs, but having such a natural attraction right here gives us an immediate draw. However, Coastal Virginia has to invest in infrastructure and attracting new types of industries and businesses. Public transportation and walkable living communities will be important to attracting and keeping talent.

Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.

There are a number of professional groups and community organizations that we can access. It has given young professionals the opportunity to spend time listening and getting to know each other one on one. Having that ability to ask questions, learn who they are and about their lives is essential. Relationship building is the key to any successful networking strategy.

How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?

I am currently President of the CBDX, a group of business professionals, ages 40 and under, charged with furthering the mission of the Central Business District Association. We are committed to encouraging the involvement of the next generation of business leaders in Virginia Beach. In addition, I support and raise funding for the Special Olympics of Virginia by participating in their annual Polar Plunge. My team, “Team Jonathan,” plunges every year in honor of my brother, Jonathan, who has special needs and is also a Special Olympics Athlete. Since 2003, we've raised nearly $70,000 for the Special Olympics.

What advice would you offer to other millennials or recent graduates about getting their careers to take off?

You only have one life and a multitude of ways to live it. Do not be afraid of making mistakes and taking chances. At worst it gives you another avenue to learn. Be willing to change your game plan … not just in your career but especially in your life.

From her nomination:

“Kaitlin is a talented and vision-oriented person who has excelled as a development and fundraising professional. She is focused and driven, and she has strong interpersonal skills, which makes her a natural leader.”
—Joashua Schulman, fiend and colleague/immediate past president of CBDX

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