It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce our new Gen ZEOs Council today (Press Release)! What is a Gen ZEO? It’s a member of the Generation Z population who is changing the marketing landscape through innovative methods, technology and new companies designed to fix what they think simply isn’t working today for their generation.
This all started last year when I was chatting with Heidi Browning Pearson, CMO of the NHL. We were talking about how the NHL was working with and listening to more members of Generation Z to truly understand what they thought and how they felt about the NHL. Then she asked me, ”have you heard of these Gen ZEOs?” Ummm…no. What the heck is a Gen ZEO? And so it began.
We found them. We found six, to be exact, who are exemplary role models of this fast-growing group of business leaders and they are working with us to ensure we are mining the right topics and representing Generation Z in the right way.
After spending time with these amazing young rock stars (from tweet chats to the first-ever Adweek Symposium), I couldn’t be more certain that we’re off to a great start, with a great line-up of more Gen ZEOs coming soon. Without further ado, please meet our Gen ZEOs Council and see what they’ve been up to:
Meet the Gen ZEOs Council
Aanikh Kler, COO and Co-founder of Trufan
At the age of 13, Aanikh Kler created his first business and social venture – UndrTheRadr (UTR). This involved a neuroscience-based ringtone that adults over the age of 21 couldn’t hear. At age 15, Aanikh became the youngest social entrepreneur ever to receive venture capital funding on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. UTR reached the #2 most downloaded App on the Canadian iTunes App Store beating out Angry Birds and Minecraft. To boot, each 99 cent download included a charitable donation of 20 cents to Free the Children.
Through this success, Aanikh was selected as a National Youth Ambassador for The Next Big Thing Foundation, Aanikh has used the power of media and public speaking, including to TEDx talks, to reach millions of people with the message of overcoming challenges and making a difference in the world. Aanikh is a proud recipient of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 Award, a delegate representing Canada at the 2016 G20 YEA Summit, and a Junior Team Canada Trade Ambassador to China. Aanikh joined forces with Swish as COO & Co-founder of TruFan and is continuing to empower youth entrepreneurs all over the globe. Read Aanikh’s story…
Andy McCune, COO & Co-founder of Unfold
Andy McCune is the 23-year old COO and co-founder of Unfold, a design toolkit for storytellers that has amassed more than 16 million users in one year including celebrities like Selena Gomez and Emma Watson, publications, brands and consumers around the world. Speaking of the world, Andy is also the founder of Earth, a millennial-focused travel media brand that has earned more than a million followers. Andy also sits on the Under 30 Advisory Board for Delta Airlines.
Last weekend, Andy was in Paris working with Tommy Hilfiger to bring their runway to life leveraging the Unfold app and custom templates designed for consumers to tell their own stories using their own photos. This first of its kind partnership also involved an Instagram takeover with both “backstage and front-row moments”. Read Andy’s story…
Drake Rehfeld, CEO and Co-founder of Demeanor
By the time Drake Rehfeld was 21 years old, he had already founded a ticketing business for high schools, was a product-accelerator at Lava Lab, a Computer Vision and Machine Learning engineer at Snapchat, the head of Engineering at Team 10 and founded his most recent venture, Demeanor.
After spending so much time helping companies leverage Infuencers, Drake felt it was time to help Influencers leverage companies in more authentic ways and help them better develop their personal brand. To do so, he developed a new product development platform and marketplace for influencers, called Demeanor, born from Y Combinator’s S18 batch.
“Influencer monetization is drying up: brand deals feel inauthentic. I cofounded Demeanor so that I can work on important things that actually matter.”
Drake and team have some very big news to announce soon, so stay tuned! Read Drake’s story…
Dylan Gambardella, Co-founder of Next Gen
Dylan Gambardella is an accomplished entrepreneur, speaker, investor, and activist. After discovering how few resources there were to support young entrepreneurs, Dylan co-founded Next Gen Summit at 19 years old to bring together thousands of aspiring young Gen ZEOs and support them on their path.
Dylan previously co-founded Students4Students and has addressed global audiences at events including TEDx, Yale University, and UCLA. His passion is to support the younger generations and to create lasting, positive impact in the world.
Dylan and the team at Next Gen have enjoyed a momentous start to 2019. In recent weeks, Next Gen secured backing from venture groups including 1517 Fund and announced high-level partnerships with leading companies including Dell and Target as they gear up for Next Gen Summit 2019, the largest Next Gen event to date. The invite-only NGS2019 will bring together over 1,000 of the world’s most talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs for a collaborative and impactful weekend June 7th-9th in NYC. Read Dylan’s story…
Swish Goswami, CEO and Co-founder of Trufan
Swish Goswami is the CEO and Founder of TruFan. He is a 21-year old serial entrepreneur, three-time TEDx speaker, social media personality and UN Youth Ambassador. After working at JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital, Swish founded Trufan, an AI-driven audience management platform helping influencers, brands and agencies discover and reward their top fans. Trufan has raised over $1M to date and is backed by several NBA players, media executives and Canadian venture firms.
Swish previous consulted for Fortune 500 companies like Google, Western Union and American Express. He will be releasing his first book, The Young Entrepreneur later this year through U.K. publisher Kogan Page. Swish sits on various boards including at the League of Innovators and he has been notably inducted into Plan Canada’s Top 20 under 20, recognized as Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year and won the United Nation’s Outstanding Youth Leadership award. Read Swish’s story…
Tiffany Zhong, Founder and CEO of Zebra IQ
Tiffany Zhong, the GenZ Decoder, is a serial entrepreneur at just 22. Her most recent business, Zebra IQ, focuses on helping brands better understand what Gen Z really thinks of their concepts in real time. This savvy app allows for brands to input their questions, either on products they are considering to launch or stories they want to tell, and her team quickly decodes the questions for their panel of Gen Z consumers and rewards these consumers for their input along the way.
This is Tiffany’s sixth business endeavor. She started her entrepreneurial path in high school by launching a magazine focused on music, fashion and tech. She then went on to help create an education tech startup which allowed students to draw on their iPad and type notes on their PCs putting it all together in the same document. From there, Tiffany joined Product Hunt and subsequently was offered a job at a $300MM VC firm focused on finding early stage consumer start-ups. Now in running her own start-up, Tiffany is already on fire and just getting ready to announce her Advisory Board. Read Tiffany’s story…
For more great Gen Z insights, check out Six Ways To Win The Hearts And Minds Of Gen Z In 2019 and the video from our recent Symposium.