Youth Lead Now

Youth Lead Now! is an initiative of The Aspen Institute that brings expert, national speakers into the living rooms of youth and families locally. These virtual monthly events provide touchpoints that enable youth to stay resilient during these unprecedented times and motivated to be engaged in the work of change-making. We are leveraging the power of the Aspen Institute’s network in service of local communities to provide messages of hope and inspiration when it is needed the most.

The Aspen Institute’s Leadership Division, Aspen Challenge, and Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship – along with programmatic and community partners across the United States – are launching Youth Lead Now! to mitigate the significant distress and uncertainty that youth and their families are experiencing while simultaneously catalyzing new ways of thinking and working toward community progress. By leveraging the networks of the Aspen Institute, we will provide opportunities for youth across the country to engage with and learn from seasoned leaders, while helping them build their own strategies for resilience and efficacy in leadership.

Identity Leadership: How to Lead Yourself So You Can Lead Others—A Conversation with Stedman Graham

Before we can learn to lead others, we must learn to lead ourselves. Stedman Graham, chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates, has been an advocate of this Identity Leadership mantra throughout his 30-year career as a businessman, author, educator, and coach. Join Stedman in conversation with co-moderators, Nely Galán, the first Latina President of Entertainment for Telemundo, and Brenda Velardi, Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship Alumna, for a conversation about transforming ourselves into leaders capable of progress. Through purpose, passion, and personal development, Stedman, Nely, and Brenda will discuss how now, more than ever in this lifetime, our chaotic world needs to find and encourage leaders who lead by example—and that there’s no better place to find them than by looking first within ourselves.

Finding Your Movement: How Discovering Your Passion Can Lead to Societal Change

For anyone doubting that young people can change the world, Leah Thomas is proving them wrong. At just 25 years old, Leah is leading the charge for Intersectional Environmentalism, a movement that advocates for and explores the relationship between social justice and environmental issues. As the only Black woman in her environmental studies major at Chapman University, Leah could no longer remain silent about the climate injustices disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable communities on Earth. Through her organization, The Intersectional Environmentalist, Leah and her team are committed to dismantling systems of oppression and the whitewashed narrative of environmentalism.

Pushing Beyond Resilience: A Conversation on Perseverance with Music Industry Pioneer & Entrepreneur Troy Carter

Music Industry Pioneer. Founder and CEO. Entrepreneur and Tech Mogul. Venture Capital Visionary. Troy Carter rose from humble beginnings, surmounted barriers, and never stops learning from successes and stumbles alike. From launching and managing the careers of artists (Eve, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Meghan Trainor) to recognizing the potential of early-stage investments (Uber, Spotify, Dropbox, Warby Parker), Troy’s path is a living story of beats, bytes, and big ideas. Known for the “art of the hustle,” Troy’s unstoppable combination of work ethic, grit, and genius took him from living out of his car to the C-Suite.

Hope, Education, & Pathways to Progress

Join former U. S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, for the inaugural Youth Lead Now! Virtual Town Hall and a conversation on how youth can stay engaged with community action and foster hope in the face of adversity during these unprecedented times. Moderated by Kriste Dragon and Jasmine Adams, the discussion will explore why youth are essential for community-driven leadership and how they can play a pivotal role as leaders during the current COVID-19 crisis.