David Coletto, CEO Abacus Data

Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management (BPAPM) (‘04)

Master of Political Science (‘05)

While David Coletto started out running polls about the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP, his attention has recently shifted to a subject he knows well—the lives of 20-34 year-olds, aka the Millennial generation.

The 34-year-old pollster is harnessing the data-collection power of his company, Abacus Data, to offer employers research and strategic advice on Canadian Millennials.

“Millennials have an incredible amount of optimism, self-confidence and expectations about what they can achieve,” says Dr. Coletto. “Some people say the work ethic is missing, but Millennials feel if you had the good fortune to hire them, you have to keep them engaged.”

In his data, Dr. Coletto has found people of his generation feel entitled to flexible, meaningful work and are entirely comfortable with digital communications. As a Twitter user with more than 6,000 followers, he says it’s no coincidence that he started a company with the same ideals.

“Millennials can be more demanding, but they also want to make a difference,” he says.

Dr. Coletto’s interest in influencing public policy began early, with a decision to enter the Strategic Public Opinion and Policy Analysis specialization in the BPAPM program. He continued his studies in the Department of Political Science before going on to earn a PhD at the University of Calgary. Today, he teaches courses on polling as an Adjunct Professor in Carleton’s Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs.

“Carleton continues to be a fundamental part of who I am and where I am in my career and my life. I use what I learned in my quantitative and qualitative research classes every single day,” he says.

It also gives him the chance to work directly with—and mentor—the next generation of researchers.

“I tell them that they need to stand out among the competition,” says Dr. Coletto, who has hired several Carleton graduates. “That means they need to fight the stereotype that they feel entitled and show that they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to get and keep the job.”