Attracting and Retaining with PURPOSE

Blog artist Kayla Schnuelle urges rural communities to "create space" for young leaders.

May 31, 2016 |

"Attracting and retaining young leaders to your community is about intentionally creating space for young leaders to discover their purpose connection network."

-Kayla Schnuelle (poster picture: Gallup Millennials Summit,

Editor's Note: Blog artist Kayla Schnuelle has a Master’s Degree in Leadership Education from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and also a Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing. She feels "blessed to have an amazing job at the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, a great network of friends and colleagues and an opportunity to change the world one relationship at a time." A large piece of Kayla's work is ‘connecting the dots,’ but another part is engaging others in the work. Connections drive change, and she values connections, sharing resources, moving knowledge and harnessing talented minds to think about bold ideas.

Kayla's blog is called Network is the Leader. We want to thank her for allowing us to feature her thoughtful blogpost, and we encourage to check out her work.

Attracting and Retaining with PURPOSE

By Kayla Schnuelle

I just attended a very informative conference hosted by Gallup and the topic was Millennials (ages 20-36). It was a fantastic blend of real stories and research. I am now geeking out over the report that they released, which basically tells me the numbers behind my previous hunches.

I now want to tease out something that is very near to my heart… “Purpose” was the phrase that came to the forefront of many conversations over the two-day conference.

What is Purpose? #abilitytomakeadifference

I have previously blogged about a need for millennials to ‘make a difference’ and this is a game changer because young leaders are making the decision on where they work, live and play based on their opportunity to have purpose. Millennials actually desire purpose over the money. This quote captures it:

“millennials don’t just work for a paycheck — they want purpose.” – Gallup CEO

Of course money is important but you don’t get to take money with you in the end. And millennials would rather work on something that changes the world than make $5000 more a year. A friend of mine spoke about turning down a bonus from her boss because she felt like the process was not inclusive of her team and she shouldn’t be rewarded by a bonus when it should have been a team project.

What does this mean for young leaders in rural communities?

Attracting and retaining young leaders just took a new shape. It is NOT just about the bells and whistles of your community. It is NOT about the how much money we can pay people. They need to have good earning potential but this isn’t the soul motivator.

“Attracting and retaining young leaders to your community is about intentionally creating space for young leaders to discover their… purpose — connection — network.”
-Kayla Schnuelle

The key:

Young leaders gravitate to communities where they can live a good lifestyle and where they can make a difference. They need to have options to share their big ideas and be part of something bigger. Give them a chance to create change. Let them make decisions about the future of your community while you are still there to coach them through the process. Allow them the work-life balance that they so desperately want.

As long as your community can meet the basic needs of young leaders and has a few options for recreation, family-time and networking then the rest is about creating a safe space for their ideas.

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