IBEW International hosted its annual RENEW/NextGen conference in late summer in New Orleans. RENEW/NextGen aims to inspire the next generation of IBEW workers to become active in their local union by focusing on issues important to younger workers, providing education about the IBEW and the labor movement, and fostering relationships with members and local union leadership.
This year’s conference was packed with inspiring speakers and valuable workshops, as well as a number of unique activities, including a wellness fair, blood drive, CPR classes, open mic night and more.
Below, conference delegates from Local 1245 reflect on their experiences at the 2023 RENEW/NextGen conference.
The RENEW conference was really important for both personal and job-related growth. What I took away from this conference was that we are tomorrow’s future. This event gave me a special chance to learn new things, expand my education, and new meet people who think and have the same common goals as us. During closing plenary, we were asked to describe the conference in one word. I chose the word “inspiring.” What I have gathered from this conference has also made me more excited to be part of our organizing steward program. I know it will help me grow personally and professionally.
-Rocio Gianelli, IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward
It was really great seeing how much the union cares about its younger generation. Seeing so many young people so passionate about the union was pretty cool to witness. I really think these conferences are so important for us as organizing stewards to attend, because we get to bond with one another and see how the union really appreciates all the hard work we do. Every time I think the union can’t get any better, I am proven wrong. I am proud to be part of it and will continue to put in the work to support all of my brothers, sisters, and siblings.
-Kayela Jones, IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward
This was my first time attending RENEW/NextGen. The energy, pride, and desire to be involved was amazing to see. Specifically concerning our 1245 delegates, I saw a comradery that is hard to come by. These folks roll great together. They were engaged, professional, attentive, and all about our IBEW 1245 family. I couldn’t be more proud of the group that represented us at RENEW/NextGen. Thank you to all our delegates, I would do it all again with them tomorrow.
-Berto Balistreri, IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager
As soon as I landed, I immediately connected with my [union] brothers and sisters. I felt their unity, camaraderie, and pride for IBEW 1245. Overall, what stood out to me was that 1245 had the most diversity and female representation. As a Mexican immigrant, I was proud to be in the room giving representation for women and girls like me. I think coming together is a great way to remind us of unity in union. After coming together, I’ve now put faces with the brothers and sisters we need to fight for and who will fight for us.
-Luisa Sanabria, IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Prospect
Our EWMC RENEW President, Edward Nieves from IBEW Local 3 (who is also a good friend of mine) reached out and asked me to host the Open Mic event that was held on Thursday night. I rose to the occasion and did what was necessary to introduce presenters who showcased their talents in singing, acting, comedy, playing an instrument, and more. Another highlight was when Business Rep Phuong Tran and I donated blood during their blood drive event. Because of our donation, IBEW helped save 183 patients’ lives and give back to the community and hospitals in the area. I was also asked by IBEW Int’l Rep Rennie Blye to participate and get interviewed by our IBEW Media. I was delighted to help and share my past experiences with our organizing steward program and all the wonderful campaign victories. This was a bittersweet RENEW/NetGen Conference for me, as I’ve officially “aged out,” but I have gained a lot of memories and friends during my time here, and will forever be of service to our IBEW Staff and our IBEW Local 1245.
–Alvin Dayoan, IBEW 1245 Lead Organizing Steward
My biggest takeaway from the RENEW conference is experiencing the incredible energy from the youth of the IBEW membership. From all the workshops and events throughout the week in New Orleans, the interaction with members from across the country and Canada, filled me with great hope for the future of the IBEW. Local 1245 is truly blessed by the outstanding work, recruitment, and participation of the Organizing Stewards program. Furthermore, I am very proud of how the delegates of Local 1245 conducted themselves at the conference. Local 1245 was well recognized and acknowledged by the other locals during the conference.
-Phuong Tran, IBEW 1245 Business Rep