Temple alumni serve on city’s millennial committee

The mayor’s advisory committee will have input on policies that affect millennials in the city.

Temple alumni Brandi Baldwin-Rana (fourth from left), and Raymond Smeriglio (fifth from left), were appointed to the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee on Feb. 1. Penda Howell, Dafina Williams and Nigel Charles, who are also alumni, serve on the committee as well. COURTESY CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

Before Brandi Baldwin-Rana earned her three degrees from Temple, she was a residential assistant at University Village.

When her boss, a resident director, unexpectedly quit two weeks into the school year, the then-20-year-old decided to take on the senior position. She found herself managing the 749-bed facility.

It was that same motivation that led her — along with the 20 other appointees — to complete the extensive application process and land a spot on Mayor Jim Kenney’s Millennial Advisory Committee in February.

The committee was created to engage and support the city’s millennial population, Baldwin-Rana said.

“Let’s highlight and showcase millennials,” Baldwin-Rana added. “We are out there doing big things.”

Several other Temple alumni are also serving on the committee, including 2015 strategic communication alumnus Ray Smeriglio, 2015 media studies and production alumnus Penda Howell, 2007 economics alumna Dafina Williams and 2011 finance alumnus Nigel Charles.

According to a press release from the mayor’s office, the committee is advising on policies and programs affecting millennials and helping to create initiatives designed to attract and keep millennials in the city.

Baldwin-Rana said she hopes to bring her entrepreneurial skills to government work as she joins the Millennial Advisory Committee’s neighborhood planning and community development subcommittee.

Nicole Allen White, the chair of the committee’s executive team, said it will host meetings in Center City and in neighborhoods with significant millennial populations.

“We’ll be pushing the mayor’s agenda to make sure that all ZIP codes are thriving,” Allen White said.

Although none of the appointees came in with a set agenda, Allen White said she is looking forward to researching how student debt will impact the financial future of Philadelphia.

Smeriglio, a former Temple student body president, said he was interested in joining the committee so he could give back to the city. He now works in the university’s athletic department as an assistant director of development.

He thinks the committee will help foster the future of Philadelphia’s leaders as well as retain the current millennial presence.

“We need to get millennials involved now so the right leaders emerge and can adequately serve Philadelphia in the future,” Smeriglio said. “Millennials and immigrants reversed a 50-year population decline, so if it wasn’t for millennials, Philadelphia would be declining.”

Baldwin-Rana said the connections she formed at Temple helped her in her journey from teaching to entrepreneurship.

Baldwin-Rana is the founder of Millennial Ventures Holding Company, which supports young business professionals by offering services and opportunities to help companies better support and utilize their talent.

Her company’s next big event is the Millennial Leadership Summit, which will take place on April 21 at the University City Science Center on Market Street near 37th.

Baldwin-Rana said the event is for leaders “by title or character.” It’s a common phrase she uses, which outlines the talent of millennials and explains that years do not necessarily equal experience or qualification.

“Millennials are realizing that that’s not necessarily the case,” she said. “Your leadership skills and career opportunities are not contingent upon how many years you’ve worked, but your talent, your natural gifts. We deserve to be at the larger discussion, not the kiddie table.”

Smeriglio said it’s important to have alumni on the committee so they can bring Temple’s voice to the advisory sessions.

“We need to have Temple be a part of the conversation,” he said. “It’s an institution that is a part of the lifeblood of the city and has a lot to offer in these efforts.”

Megan Platt can be reached at megan.platt@temple.edu.

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