2009 21st Century Leaders Program

At the end of the day, isn't it all abo21st Century Leadersut giving back? Making an impact? Developing others? Leaving the world better than you found it?! My wife, Monique Honaman (CEO, ISHR Group (www.ishrgroup.com)) and I, recently had the opportunity to co-develop and lead aspects of a high school leadership development program with an organization called 21st Century Leaders (21CL) (www.21stcenturyleaders.org). The 50 young leaders participating in this program were rising high school juniors and seniors from around Georgia who were interested in doing more, giving more and being more - now and in the future. 21CL operates under the charter of Georgia education leaders to develop, inspire and nurture students with leadership potential to make a positive impact on their schools, communities and future places of work. Their mission is to increase the number, skills and diversity of Georgia's future leaders.

Students participating in 21CL programs hail from over 130 high schools across the state of Georgia. They are truly a picture of Georgia: they are urban and rural, minority and majority, male and female. They come from differing economic circumstances and family backgrounds. Since 1991, over 3,800 students have participated in 21CL: 97% enter college and 72% report taking on formal leadership roles in their colleges and communities after high school. These students lead community service projects, take on high profile summer internships, and are hired as summer program leaders. Students lead faith-based groups and mentor younger students.  The one thing they do have in common is that they are all truly making a difference in their communities!

How did we come to be involved in this initiative? This particular 21CL program was unique in that it was developed and delivered by individuals who have been recognized over the past several years by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the "40-Under-40" (40U40 ...40 leaders under the age 40 who are making a difference in their work and their communities). Monique and I, as members of the 40U40 group, were invited by the 21CL organization to help create this week-long summer program. 

We were up for the task and intrigued by the diversity of talents that could be leveraged. The final program included topics on leadership, personal branding, interviewing, social networking, community service, green initiatives, setting goals and personal accountability. To top it off, each student left the program with a set of goals and a dedicated mentor with whom they will remain in contact as they transition into their next year in school. We called the 5-day program "G5@Goizueta" (it was taught at the Goizueta Business School on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta) and focused on building key skills necessary for leadership today:

Greeting:  Building a Team

Gaining:  Learning to Lead

Going Green:  Meeting the Environmental Challenges

Growing:  Building Yourself and Helping Others to do the Same

Giving:  Leadership and Service

Goal-Setting:  Putting it all Together

Monique and I are passionate about developing leaders - particularly influencing our future 'young' leaders. We enjoy speaking and facilitating workshops on authentic leadership, professional development and personal branding - and the joy is found in truly giving back and making a difference - especially in the lives of our leaders of tomorrow!!