“Everyone can be a leader in their own way”

“The Millenial Takeover”: International Young Leaders Academy
Young Leaders Academy

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Leadership and Youth are often perceived as an antagonism, especially in more conservative societies. This has led to a monopolization of leadership positions by boomers who dominate business, academia, and politics. The time has come for Millennials and GenZ to strike back. FNF Turkey has put the issue of leadership and youth high on the agenda in an ongoing effort to contribute to a more democratic, responsible, active and, in the end also, politically more aware society.

We wish to support and develop leaders who desire to work for the idea of freedom, entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that may provide opportunities and create sustainable solutions for our society. And we also want these leaders to inspire and empower others to join them in their efforts.

And thus, in June and July, we hosted the first International Young Leaders Academy. All the ten sessions and various additional tasks and activities took place online due to the Corona pandemic. The Academy equipped young political activists with the skills to convince others, build relationships, communicate strategically and lead like true leaders. Therefore, the Academy was divided into four thematic blocks. 

To spread the word of liberalism, activists need to internalize its key values. Therefore the first sessions where all about “Knowing Your Liberalism”. "What does liberalism mean for you?" was one of the queries. For our participants, liberalism comes in many shapes and facets. Yet there are some values, which no liberal can forego. These include – to no surprise – liberty and individualism. But with much freedom comes also a lot of responsibility and not least the ability of toleration. We as liberals are also passionate about the rule of law and strive for peace. Yet, we are skeptical about power and believe in spontaneous order – think of free markets, for example. In our academy, we discussed all of these values and what they mean for our work.

As political activists, we work to promote social change – and networking is key in driving change! Therefore, we dedicated two sessions fully on Networking. Networks help people to organize around a common cause, influence each other to come up with innovative ideas, pool resources and empower each other. In our academy, we discussed what is needed to build a good network. And we also critically reflected and asked ourselves what skills and means we can offer to the people in our network. For in the end, a strong network needs to provide results and nurture relationships. It’s worth the effort!

To be a knowledgeable activist and a good networker are great skills but these talents are not sufficient to become a successful leader. You also need to know how to communicate your message and inspire others. That’s why, the second part of our Academy was about Storytelling and Developing Your Leadership Brand. Let us share the secret of success for a good story with you: Tell people why you are doing something before explaining what you are doing! This makes sure you get their attention before you come up with the hard facts.

Social media is a great place to start your storytelling. Most of us are keen users of social media. Stilldo we really know how to use them as tools for networking? During the Academy, we analyzed highly successful social media pages and discussed how we may be inspired by theseto improve our own accounts. You are also looking for some inspiration and ideas? Just check empoweringbrands_co and get useful insights!

After all the input, it was time for our participants to present their personal learnings of the academy. Lots of (fun) video tasks, written assignments, expert inputs and weekly webinars helped them on their path towards becoming real leaders. We learnt many things in this Academy, was one conclusion all shared. Yet, we will highlight one insight from one of our participants we liked the most “Everyone can be a leader in their own way.”

Special thanks to our moderator Sven Gerst, who is not only inspirational, knowledgeable and has an amazing humour. He is also a facilitator with “a very unique way to empower others” (all quotes by our participants). We can’t wait for the next academy with him. :)