December 13, 2018
American Young Leaders had the opportunity to gather in New York on December 11, two months after their Young Leaders seminar in Toulouse, to discuss contemporary concepts of leadership, reinforce the relationships they made during their trip, and plan for next year’s program.
Young Leaders from the classes of 2017 and 2018, in addition to several alumni, divided into sector-based groups and discussed their views on questions such as:
- What does leadership mean to you?
- What is the difference, if any, between management and leadership?
- What examples of good and bad leadership have you experienced?
- What are some behaviors and actions you have taken as a leader?
- How has your definition of leadership evolved over time?
With the collective power of their experiences, Young Leaders had a great deal of insight. A panel on the arts and fashion, made up of novelist Karin Tanable ’18 and fashion industry executive Siddhartha Shukla ’16, introduced the importance of having a vision and of sharing that vision effectively with one’s team. The pair also discussed the contradiction between the creative impulse and monetary concerns.
A government and service group included economic development leader Jason El Koubi ’17, former squadron commander in Afghanistan and Air Force veteran Michael Morales ’17, and director within Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s team Simon Tafoya ’18. The panelists recognized the significance of having room for failure and the ability to take risks, and also spoke candidly about taking responsibility for a team’s welfare, successes, and failures.
Finally, a panel on women in international affairs included UN Team Leaders Megan Carroll ‘18, NYC Commissioner for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena ‘17, and the Consul General of France in New York Anne-Claire Legendre. The group examined characteristics of good leadership, such as listening to one’s team and creating a safe space in which a team can air new ideas. Likewise, they discussed their thoughts on mentorship and what leadership looks like in different cultural contexts.
A small group of French-American Foundation Young Leaders are selected every year through a competitive selection process. Representing diverse fields such as business and entrepreneurship, government, technology, international development, and the arts, Young Leaders have the unique opportunity to exchange with one another and form a close, longstanding network.
The application process for the new class of Young Leaders opens in January 2019. We look forward to welcoming the newest group in Chicago next October.