This past month I had the opportunity to represent Veracity Media at the Generation Progress annual National Progress Summit. The conference was an incredible gathering of progressive organizations and millennial leaders--over 1,000 participants and dozens of organizations from across the country mobilized to discuss a progressive agenda to better our country.
Speakers included Vice President Joe Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, and dozens of other public officials, progressive leaders, and experts. The plenaries were energizing and the breakout sessions were engaging. Overall, the entire conference was empowering and inspiring. The opportunity to hear so many successful leaders tell me “yes you can” make a difference and change the world left me itching to take action on the issues important to me.
Action can look like anything, so do something. Get angry and decide to change it #MakeProgress— Zachary Schaffer (@ZacharySchaffer) July 16, 2015
The speakers challenged the status quo and honed in on a message of millennial engagement and empowerment. The questions scrutinized at the summit were fascinating and important. What does activism mean in the social media era? How can millennials in the modern age put our values and principles into action.
While I learned a lot at the summit, I also realized that my past three months at Veracity Media have already provided me with the answers to some of the most important questions. More importantly, it has given me the opportunity to tackle these very issues. Improving the country on a national level was not some faraway dream for me, but something I spent the last three months of my summer doing here as a digital strategy assistant.
"One person can change the world." #MakeProgress— Zachary Schaffer (@ZacharySchaffer) July 16, 2015
Veracity Media is a social-impact digital strategy firm that works to advance the vision of a more open, transparent, just, and active world. In short, we put purpose before everything else. Every project that Veracity takes on and every client that we work with is for one purpose: to move our country forward. And, as a member of the Veracity team, I have been doing that every single day.
I’ve contributed to political candidates devoted to protecting our environment and achieving gender equality; I’ve broadened the base of an organization trying to secure access to affordable higher education; and I’ve supported military families, helped to train the leaders of tomorrow, worked towards criminal justice reform, and so many other worthwhile causes.
As inspiring as the Progress Summit was, I think what really moved me was looking back at my time at Veracity Media. The Progress Summit addressed millennial engagement, gender equality, environmental justice, and taking action to make the world a better place. At first, I couldn’t wait to enter “the real world” and tackle these issues. Then, I realized I had been doing that all along.
Zachary Schaffer is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a degree in political science and communication/rhetoric, with a certificate in corporate/community relations. Prior to joining the Veracity team, he interned at The Israel Project in Washington D.C. and the Jerusalem Post in Israel. At Pitt, he serves as a Public Speaking Coach for the Department of Communication, President of his fraternity Beta Theta Pi, and President of the Hillel Jewish Student Union. He is excited to be spending his summer in D.C. utilizing digital strategy to further worthwhile causes, and he hopes to draw on his experience at Veracity Media for a future career in communication or politics.