Chris Llewellyn: The nurturing of young talent in our industry is tremendously important for its future

I then show a picture of that same young man at the age of 60. Everyone knows who it is, Albert Einstein, Nobel prize-winner and quite possibly the most famous scientist ever.

Einstein ()

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The thing is, it was in 1905 that he first came up with the famous e=mc² equation and his Theory of Special Relativity. In fact, in that same year he came up with three other stunning scientific papers, each of which would have been outstanding in their own right. He was 26. By the time he was 60, he was in a comfortable position as an academic professor teaching the next generation at Princeton.

The point I make is that his breakthroughs and innovations came in his youth – not when he was 60. At this age he had been lauded and celebrated and frankly had nothing more to prove. He probably quite liked the way the world was. Perhaps, therefore, in our own industry as we look for growth and innovation, the answers are more likely to come from the passion, restlessness, energy and enthusiasm of people who don’t know why it can’t be done, who want to change the world and make a mark. Or Millennials as they are now called.

This struck me even more markedly at our World Congress in Toronto last month when Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp and industry analyst Peter Kreisky both talked about the Time Inc project Media Upstarts. The initiators of this venture were not the management team at Time Inc. but two young employees at In Style, Gwen Rahn and Cassandra Skoufalos, who collared Joe Ripp in the company’s cafeteria and pitched the idea of creating a platform for Millennials like them, and of which Time Inc. had many, to improve communication of ideas between them and the leadership of the company. The brief of Media Upstarts is unrestricted and wide ranging – defining new product or service ideas, suggesting appropriate company benefits, even reverse mentoring schemes where these bright, young, digitally native, always-on, millennials are attached to mentor older employees.

Quite rightly, Time Inc. is proud of this initiative and it deserves success.

The nurturing of young talent in our industry is tremendously important for its future. The magazine media industry has always been viewed as a very appealing career choice and accordingly has attracted high quality creative and commercial talent. That is fast changing as the digital explosion has created a myriad of choice, new and imaginative working practices, and, of course, rewards. 

Recognising this, FIPP felt we too should be celebrating the young talent we have in our industry and last year launched the Rising Stars in Media Awards. We asked for nominations of people under the age of 30 who work in any aspect of our industry to be nominated as a ‘Rising Star’ and were delighted with the level of response. With the generous sponsorship of UPM, we were able to invite the three winners, Laura Wilson, account manager, jewelry/watch, travel, weddings at Hearst USA, Matthew Stepanic, editor of Glass Buffalo and assistant editor of Where Edmonton, Canada, and Francesca Wilson, marketing and events executive at Immediate Media, UK, to come to Toronto and speak on a special millennials Panel held during the Congress.

The Rising Stars scheme is here to stay and I’m delighted that UPM have continued with their support. So it’s time once again to seek out the eager, impatient, excited, young achievers who will probably want to change far too much, but who are our future. Full details of Rising Stars in Media 2016 can be found at

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