Photographing MaryBeth Hyland’s Project — Documenting the Work of High Achieving Millennials

MaryBeth Hyland, a millenial, would be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as natural charisma. She has it but it’s an attribute she learned. Her classroom was restaurants where she waitressed and where you get better tips when you engage with customers. It was in classrooms where she tutored Baltimore City School children. It was in the nonprofit arena where she learned first-hand how to “cultivate” relationships.

Prior to starting her current business SparkVision, she oversaw the United Way of Central Maryland’s Young Emerging Leaders program. That position gave her insights into group dynamics and methods for creating a “community” to achieve a common goal. It also enabled her to work with Millennials.

A graduate of the UMBC Shriver Center Scholars program, which fosters civic engagement, MaryBeth quickly connects with people from all walks of life. She’s comfortable speaking in front of groups and delivers remarks as if she’s an experienced “TED Lecturer.”

As a part of her new business endeavors, she initiated a research project about “High Achieving Millennials.” More than 1,000 individuals have taken her survey and she and her staff have analyzed the results. One fact they have identified is that millennials hate the term that demographers have attached to their generation.

As a member of her Life Lens Advisory group, she invited me to a reception where she revealed the survey’s results. She also hired me to photograph it.

Photographing MaryBeth is like shooting a sports event. There’s a plenty of action, the challenge is following and anticipating where the action is and where it’s going next. It’s also watching the crowd, the expressions of people watching the action can sometimes be better than the action itself.

Capturing an event like MaryBeth’s public launch for SparkVision wasn’t work, it was fun. Her friends and colleagues who attended are genuinely enjoying themselves so it’s a joy to photograph. I believe the pictures prove it.

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