Dallas Tea Party Congress FiredI came across an interesting article on Yahoo! News, “Capitol Hill’s 40 under 40: Will youth invasion change Washington?” about how younger people are “invading” Congress.

The article starts by asking, “Can youth and relative inexperience be virtues?” and apparently, two members— Illinois Republican Aaron Schock and Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard— of Congress are trying to make them become so.

The story goes:

The two members of Congress, both in their thirties, are recruiting Congress’ 40 members under the age of 40 to join their newly launched “Congressional Future Caucus.”

“It’s bringing together the freshest faces in Washington, DC and the Congress,” Schock told “Top Line” of the new caucus in a joint interview with Gabbard on the steps of the Capitol.

“When most of America looks at Washington, DC, they look at a much older, much grayer Congress, and we’re excited that there are now 40 members under the age of 40 and we can hopefully get some things done,” Schock said.

Gabbard says she’s observed that that younger, newer members of Congress tend to have a different mindset than some of their older colleagues who’ve been in Congress for a longer period of time.

“What we’re seeing generationally, that is now being reflected in Congress, because we have more members who are younger, is an impatience, an unwillingness to just wait around and expect things will change,” she said.

And with this new caucus, Gabbard hopes, those members will have a forum to break through the gridlock that’s been characteristic of Washington in recent years.

The Congressional Future Caucus: a group of appointed officials who actually want to work together to accomplish something for the greater good of our nation. Wasn’t that the original goal of Congress in the first place? And so many question the work ethic and seriousness of millennials.

I digress.

Anyway, this new wave of younger people “invading” Congress led me to do a little research on the group that makes decisions (or fails to) that affect our daily lives.

If just 40 members out of hundreds are under the age of 40, what does Congress really look like? And is it a good representation of America?

Well, I learned:

  • The average age of Members of the House is 57, while the average age of Senators is 62.
  • 101 women (a record) serve in congress, which makes up 18.7 percent of the total Congress membership
  • While 8.1 percent of Congress is made up of African-Americans, just one serves in the Senate
  • 7 percent of Congress is Hispanic, 2.4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and just two American Indians

Similar to the faces of most top executives, presidents and CEOs of American businesses, Congress looks white, male and older. What about your company?

Take a look around your C-suite; is it mostly made up of men? What about ethnicity and age? Do you see variations, or is pretty much everyone “the same”?

It’s important for companies to take note of the amount (or lack of) diversity in their businesses because diversity produces great benefits. Below are just a few:

Look at what the younger members of Congress are trying to do—promote change. They see a problem with the way Congress currently operates, and because they have a different perspective and different experiences, they will be able to bring new ideas to the table. Diversity creates innovation.

No one wants to work for a company where everyone is the same. If every employee thought the same, worked the same and had the same background and skills, where is the creativity? Where is the originality in your company’s offerings? How can you ensure that your company will stay at the forefront of your industry if it lacks creativity? Diversity produces creativity and originality.

Think about why so many Americans get turned off by Congress and government in general. While there are a myriad of reasons, a major issue is that Americans don’t feel like Congress is relatable. If the nation were comprised of white, older males, sure, but it’s not. America is diverse, and oftentimes, it’s difficult to relate to others if 1) you haven’t had any experiences with them and 2) you haven’t walked in their shoes.

If a customer doesn’t feel like your company has a diverse range of offerings and can relate to his/her needs, he or she will look elsewhere. Similarly, if job seekers see that a company lacks diversity in its employees, he/she may choose to look for employment elsewhere. This often causes companies to miss out on a lot of top talent. Why? Because diversity is attractive.

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