University News

Two WIU Students Elected to NMGZ Community

March 6, 2024

Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL - -Two Western Illinois University students were recently accepted into the National Millennial and Gen Z Community (NMGZ) during the Spring ‘24 semester. Up to four students are accepted each semester into NMGZ from each represented college and university. During the 2023–24 academic year, five students from WIU applied to the NMGZ Community; all of them were accepted.

Leonita and Blerta Bekteshi are pursuing their undergraduate degree in Economics with a minor in Marketing and are both members of Phi Theta Kappa, which recognizes students' academic success and provides them with opportunities to develop professional and leadership skills.

"Learning about what NMGZ stands for is what drew me to learn more about such an amazing organization. A movement that brings Millennials and Gen-Z together with leaders and brands to achieve professional development. It allows members to showcase their ideas and accomplishments. What intrigued me the most about NMGZ was the organization provides members an opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment while helping them achieve their goals and succeed in life. I have a strong desire to showcase my ideas, learn and grow personally and professionally. As a member, the NMGZ community will provide opportunities to find my voice and purpose which will empower me to create change in the world. I am looking forward to meeting other members and participating in everything NMGZ has to offer," Leonita said.

"There are a lot of reasons why I became interested in the NMGZ Community. I love how the NMGZ Community consists of university students, young professionals, faculty, administrators and civic leaders who participate in multi-generational conversations with an eye toward our future. The NMGZ Community provides valuable knowledge, skills, connections and exposure to various fields and industries that align with what I want to do for my future. I have always enjoyed meeting new people and gaining knowledge from them, which has helped me obtain additional insights. There's a lot of misunderstanding about Gen-Z. As a member of the NMGZ Community, I will be able to showcase my opinions and ideas about our strong ethic, morals, creativity and innovation to make the world a better place. I am looking forward to attending as many trips as possible so I can connect and meet new people. I am also looking forward to meeting people from the NMGZ community," Blerta said.

The NMGZ Community represents more than 44 colleges and universities in over 40 states, Washington D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico. There are nearly 1,000 alumni throughout the world. The NMGZ consists of college and university students, young professionals, faculty, administrators and civic leaders who participate in multi-generational conversations with an eye toward our future. NMGZ provides opportunities for members to engage and network with each other and industry leaders from across the United States and around the world, attend conferences, as well as travel and tour various companies and meet with top executives from corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Members also work with employees on current product development and marketing initiatives, which allow them to showcase their knowledge and skills. Through client engagements, NMGZ opens doors to potential career opportunities. Membership is free and members can attend meetings online at their convenience.

"WIU members have met with top executives from BMO Harris Bank, BVK, Coca-Cola, Cookerly, Cox Enterprises, Echo Global Logistics, Home Depot, Hub International, Lululemon, NBC Universal/NBC Chicago, Northwestern Mutual and Porter Novelli to name a few and found the experience life-changing," Assistant Professor of Marketing and WIU Advisor for NMGZ Community Donna Wiencek said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in your life while impacting the lives of others throughout the world."

NMGZ Founder, Bill Imada was elected into the Advertising Hall of Fame, which celebrates industry legends who have distinguished themselves with outstanding, globally recognized achievements; remarkable innovations; and exceptional philanthropic work both within the advertising industry and in their communities. The event is among the advertising industry's biggest and most prestigious of the year, attended by nearly 1,000 C-suite and senior-level executives from the world's largest brands, advertising agencies, media and tech companies and is the largest fundraiser for the Federation providing a vital source of funding necessary to continue the wide range of educational, diversity and advocacy initiatives that are critical to our industry. Leonita and Blerta will be attending the Advertising Hall of Fame event in New York City.

For information on becoming an NMGZ member, email Wiencek at

Posted By: Kelsey Brown (
Office of University Communications & Marketing