Last year we ran in stealth mode, with two students going through the program as a pilot. This year, we’re bringing on two Museion Fellows with incredible talent and strong backgrounds in research, tech, finance, and international studies. Not students, but young men who have already proven themselves elsewhere and are now looking to enter and work in our spheres.

At Beck&Stone, they will have the opportunity to meet some of the most successful and influential cultural figures in the country. They’ll execute new strategies, manage projects, brainstorm ideas, and learn how the sausage is made in an effective remote workplace. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll be part of Beck & Stone’s company culture and share in the team’s camaraderie—building relationships that will last throughout their professional career. Our institutions (or perhaps we ourselves) will receive crack young professionals that have been mentored by myself and the finest veterans we have been able to assemble over the last eight years at Beck & Stone. They will stand as fresh reinforcements on Horatius’ bridge.

Ask any CEO of a corporation or nonprofit to name their most valuable asset and their biggest current need. Most will answer both questions the same: high-skilled employees who are dedicated to their work. It’s your people who build your firm, create your corporate culture, and scale your ideas into enterprises. And there seems to be a shortage.

When we began Beck & Stone over eight years ago, we had a difficult time finding qualified people to work here, even in the deep creative talent pool that was pre-2020 New York City. We were in a weird niche: a creative agency paired with specialized consulting services, serving institutions who promote ideas: magazines, think tanks, churches, university centers, and the like. It was not easy to find professionals with sharp aesthetic instincts who could also code a website, or strategize a subscriber acquisition campaign, or run a social media presence, or plan a donor event, while noting and acting on the subtle but all-important differences between the audiences of First Things and The New Criterion.

On the supply side, working at Beck & Stone was a tough sell when Google and Droga5 were down the block. Now, the opposite seems true: the brightest and most independent minds feel stultified at Silicon Valley startups or climbing the ladder on Wall Street or bored to tears at Madison Avenue agencies. They want ceiling-less, open-door opportunities, not status quo drudgery.

The unorthodox—but necessary—lengths Beck & Stone went to find and vet talent, and the long talks persuading the best people to apply, taught us something about what young people want out of work. It taught us that companies with a pioneering mentality don’t need to worry about skilled worker shortages. The reputation we’ve built for professional trust, loyalty, and understanding has made us a magnet for institutions and entrepreneurs outside the mainstream who need world-class brand management and strategic consulting—and young professionals who want to share in that reputation.

The last position we posted for open application had over 350 applicants, all who understand what we’re building—and want in.

What do the best employees want? They want their work to mean something beyond the paycheck. To strategize and build, not just check off a to-do list. To set standards and goals, not sell clients on fluff or busy-work. To feel valued and be mentored, not tiptoe around a regimented regimen of predetermined behaviors and pre-approved mores. To let work enhance their quality of life, not to invest years of their life for a clump of pixels on a screen or a few lines of code on a server. Companies must find ways of involving such young people in corporate life. The Museion Fellowship is our way.

The word “Museion” is the Greek root of our modern English “museum” the shrine of the nine muses or patronesses of the arts and study. A muse, however, is a source of inspiration: a guiding genius. This guide brings out the potential in an artist or an executive, an intellectual or an entrepreneur. We like to call that process “ingenuity.” The Museion Fellowship will be a cult for such creative genius that will influence our culture at large.

Beck & Stone seeks to capture this blossoming revolutionary energy across our culture by offering a new prospect for rising stars and future operators stuck in the monotonous confines of today’s corporate world. Through a creative, intellectually-stimulating environment and dialogue with luminaries of the arts, literature, politics, and industry, we hope this program will open new pathways to career success for young professionals.

Andrew Beck is Founding Partner at Beck & Stone and father to six children born in New York City that he and his beloved wife now raise together in the great state of Texas.