Throughout her life, 17-year-old Skyler Basco was never one to talk. “I was always the shy kid at the back of the classroom, afraid to engage in peer-to-peer discussions,” she said.
At the beginning of high school, Skyler realized that the only way to share her thoughts with the world was to voice them.
“As I finally stepped on the red dot and voiced my ideas to a large crowd, my greatest fear—public speaking—transformed into my greatest passion.”
She recalls her English teacher approaching her with an application to speak at a local TEDx event. She applied and was accepted. When it was time to give her speech, she was terrified. “As I finally stepped on the red dot and voiced my ideas to a large crowd, my greatest fear—public speaking—transformed into my greatest passion,” she said.
Toda, Skyler uses public speaking to connect with various communities, including her classmates, online. On June 4th, 2020, she created an Instagram group chat with a few of her fellow high school seniors to rant about college admissions. When the chat reached its maximum limit of 30 users, she transitioned the conversation over to Slack, and the number of users grew from there.
Skyler is the Founder and CEO of BEAM ( Believe. Educate. Apply. Manifest), an international organization of 1,000+ high school seniors supporting each other through the college admissions process. She and her team host community events such as the BEAM Conference, College Panel AMAs, and Among Us Game Nights to help BEAMers destress from college applications.
In her role, she merges her passions for design, entrepreneurship, and technology to build community. “It wasn’t until starting BEAM when I discovered the strength of collaboration during times of adversity,” she said. “With the competitive nature of college admissions, I wanted my high school senior counterparts to experience a more collaborative approach to this process so they can apply this skill in the workplace and beyond.”
As an exceptional Gen Z’er using her voice for good, Sklyer was honored for her commitment to Unification through The ConversationaLIST. “Whether it be about the exhilarating culture of the entrepreneurship industry to the flaws in the modern-day education system, I use social media to spark important conversations and connect with like-minded activists daily,” she said. “I’ve been able to unite 1,000+ students across 25+ countries through BEAM.”
“When you take risks, judgment from others is inevitable, but despite this, no one can never take away your voice.”
For those who are still looking to find their voice, Skyler suggests faking it until you make it. “If you’re afraid to put yourself out there, remember that the only person who will truly judge you the most is you,” she explained. “When you take risks, judgment from others is inevitable, but despite this, no one can never take away your voice.”
Looking toward the future, Sklyer hopes to build a presence on Youtube and immerse herself in the Silicon Valley startup space. “I plan to converse with entrepreneurs who started with nothing, strived for more, and landed with everything,” she said. “I’ll simplify what I learn from these conversations to empower Gen Z’s aspiring founders and prepare them for the ins & outs of the entrepreneurship industry.”
Skyler said that Gen Z’s ability to speak out and take action around issues is essential. “The Conversationalist encourages us to express such opinions, enabling Gen Z to become more unified in the process,” she said. “TC’s mission truly proves that important conversations can foster change for the greater good.”
She adds that people don’t need to have the same passions to create a unified world. “To me, a unified world is where people can share their interests—whether they be similar or diverse—to spark interdisciplinary connections,” she said. “We, as Generation Z, must continue to use our platforms to spark important conversations that inspire others to take action. Social media—whether it be Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or even communities like TC—is one the best places to share our perspective on absolutely anything taking place in the world.”
“We, as Generation Z, must continue to use our platforms to spark important conversations that inspire others to take action."
To break open her echo chamber, Skyler takes to Instagram. “By using my platform to share my take on diverse topics—whether it be the monotonous nature of the ‘9-5’ lifestyle to overcoming shyness—I’ve been able to connect with new people throughout the globe daily,” she said.
When navigating difficult conversations, Skyler believes that mentality is everything. “Approach every conversation with an open mind, truly listen to & acknowledge one’s take on the topic at hand, and you’ll find that the other person will likely be understanding of your perspective as well,” she said.