XYBOOM Conference 2012

Conference Overview
Open Space Technology


The inaugural XYBOOM Conference in January 2012 addressed youth unemployment along with the related baby boomer exit problem with an intergenerational approach: bringing together business professionals and youth with experts from three generations – X,Y and Baby Boomer – for interactive, facilitated panel sessions, activities and an Open Space Technology session.

Big thanks to our amazing XYBOOM team, including our facilitator Amanda Fenton, moderator, Linda Young, the entire My Loud Speaker team, our interns/volunteers, sponsors and many many more who helped make the conference a wonderful, collaborative endeavour.

XYBOOM 2012 Vision: To raise awareness about the importance of intergenerational dialogue and collaboration in the context of youth unemployment and the baby boomer exit.

XYBOOM 2012 Mission: Provide a forum for intergenerational conversation on youth unemployment by bringing experts from three generations together with youth and businesses; provide the opportunity for collaboration, mentorship and action in the context of youth unemployment.

The conference had really good energy with honest conversations. Hearing all the conversations, it seemed evident that at the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing. It’s about choosing what to focus on and creating opportunities like XYBOOM to talk with each other and answer questions.

-Alden Habacon, Panelist & Board Advisor


PANEL 1: Macro Perspective: Shifting Dynamics

Panelists:  Tammy Tsang, CEO & Founder of My Loud Speaker, Gen Y; Shaun Carpenter, Associate Partner, Pinton Forrest & Madden, Gen X; Terry Bogyo, Director of Corporate Planning and Development, WorkSafeBC, Baby Boomer

Topic: This session ‘set the scene’ for the day: established how and why youth unemployment rates came to be so high, how the related baby boomer exit is linked to youth unemployment, and in general, provided some socio-economic context for the issues at hand. What does the current workforce look like and why?

PANEL 2: Talent Development

Panelists: Jillian Walker, HR Specialist, Gen Y; Monica Murray, Consultant (Chartered Accountant), Gen X; Tony Botelho, Manager of Career Services, SFU, Gen X; Lisa Ryan, VP Talent Management, Right Management, Baby Boomer

Topic: This session aimed to highlight hiring strategies, succession planning, how to benefit from what employees from each generation bring to the table and how to work with youth to utilize and develop their talents in the workforce.  How can we not only be prepared for, but leverage the changing workforce?

PANEL 3: Intergenerational Dialogue

Panelists:  Tara Mahoney, Creative Director, Gen Why Media, Gen Y; Alden E. Habacon, Director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development, UBC, Gen X; Sandra Reder, President, Vertical Bridge Corporate Consulting, Baby Boomer

This session delved into how the three generations function – similarities, differences, challenges etc. – with a focus on how to create effective and open communication among and within generations in the workplace.


This 3 hour session allowed participants themselves to set the agenda by proposing topic ideas and self-gathering into workshops. Taking into consideration the questions ‘What opportunities can we co-create for youth and businesses to work better together?’ and ‘How can we create a workplace free from ageism?’

The following is a small representative of some of the workshops that took place:

  1. Values: which do we have in common, which do we wish to pass on to other generations
  2. Networking
  3. Personal branding
  4. Combining traditional growth practices with more sustainable ways forward
  5. What kinds of opportunities are available to differentiate yourself and where to find them
  6. Gen Y: are our “wants” unrealistic?


“Can’t believe I just facilitated an hour long discussion on #PersonalBranding I feel so empowered! #XYBOOM”

- tweet from an XYBOOM participant


On behalf of Service Canada, XYBOOM awarded 3 awards to special organizations in Vancouver that are taking care to positively address intergenerational work place issues in unique ways. How did we know this? We did case studies on each organization:

1. College of Opticians of BC
Case Study: Succession Planning and Employee Development in a Small Organization
Award: In Recognition of Intergenerational Collaboration in the Workplace 

2.  The Personnel Department
A Culture of Purpose: Strategic Hiring and Employee Retention
Award: In Recognition Training and Youth Development

3. Coast Capital Savings, Youth Team Program
Case Study: Integrating Youth in a Large Organization
Award: In Recognition of  Youth Integration in the Workplace