In an era where the future of our nation is a topic of constant debate, skepticism often lingers about the capabilities of the younger generation to take the reins of leadership. However, it is crucial to recognize that this apprehension is not solely the fault of our aspiring young leaders.
To a large extent, the lack of proper succession planning by current leaders has contributed to these concerns, leaving the next generation less equipped for the responsibilities that lie ahead. Additionally, there is a growing realization that some leaders, motivated by a desire to cling to power, may inadvertently hinder the natural progression of leadership from one generation to the next. Embracing young leadership is not just a necessity; it is a strategic move that ensures a vibrant, forward-looking future for our nation.
Today’s challenges require modern and holistic solutions. As the world plunges through rapid change and uncertainty, the need for experienced leadership remains undeniable. Still, the opportunity to tap into the ingenuity and innovation of the next generation should not be ignored.
Young people are innately connected to the issues directly affecting their generation. By empowering them in governance, community development, and various sectors, we tap into a wellspring of creative solutions to help address pressing concerns such as climate change, technological disruption, and social inequality.
It is also important to recognize that the world is experiencing generational shifts in values and how people see the workplace, which requires intergenerational communication and collaboration. A LinkedIn article by A Data Pro found that Millennials and Gen Zers are “the most socially conscious generations in history, and they have a strong sense of which companies are sustainable and are actually doing things for the greater good.”
The “greater good” is now more of a priority for Millennials and Gen Zers with stronger views about corporate social responsibility and social justice. Regarding employment, these generations are not solely concerned with high profits but seek companies and organizations that serve social purposes and are mission driven.
The emergence of young leaders in various sectors across the globe and The Bahamas is not merely a trend but a transformative force that holds the potential to usher in a brighter and more inclusive future. In recent years, we have seen examples of young people rising to the occasion and responsibility of leadership.
Is There Potential?
This demonstrates great potential for the next generation of leaders to succeed once equipped with the right opportunities, mentorship, and support. Some of these leading young professionals from varying sectors include Dr. Trevor Johnson, who is helping to build the capacity of disaster management in the country with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Pacific Disaster Center; Lakeisha Anderson, who leads the Bahamas National Trust as Executive Director in the nonprofit sector championing the protection of our national parks and natural resources and Nicholas Higgs who as the youngest Managing Director in the history of The Bahamas Development Bank, is leading the charge in creating more financial opportunities to advance local industries for national development.
These are just a few examples of young professionals excelling in leadership roles in their respective fields.
As a newly appointed President and CEO in the nonprofit sector, I also value the importance of a strong support system. The responsibility of leadership takes work. One of the greatest gifts I have enjoyed is the ability to pick up the phone and call a board member, other CEOs, former leaders, and mentors from various stages of my journey.
Hearing their stories of successes and, equally important, failures has provided invaluable lessons that have helped to broaden my perspective and inspire me. More leaders should open their treasure troves of knowledge and experiences to help shape, mold, and encourage the next generation of leaders.
Making room for young leadership isn’t about abdicating responsibility but embracing a powerful opportunity for partnership and intergenerational collaboration. The wisdom and experience of seasoned leaders can seamlessly complement the energy and innovative thinking of younger counterparts. By working in harmony, these diverse generations can create comprehensive, forward-thinking solutions to some of our country’s most complex problems.
In conclusion, the compelling case for prioritizing young leadership is not a clarion call for exclusion but rather the assimilation of the energy and innovation of youth with the seasoned wisdom of older generations through mentorship. Recognizing the invaluable assets young leaders bring—energy, creativity, and determination—paves the way for a synergistic approach to navigating the challenges of the future.
By fostering a dynamic collaboration between emerging talents and experienced mentors, we establish a resilient foundation capable of effectively addressing the complexities of the 21st century. It is not merely about succession but a strategic partnership that ensures a continuum of growth, learning, and progress. Embracing young leadership alongside mentorship is the key to a more robust, inclusive, and collectively prosperous future.
About One Eleuthera Foundation
Founded in 2012, One Eleuthera Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to transforming our local island communities into thriving, self-sufficient ecosystems. We do this by focusing on five key areas: economic ownership, meaningful educational advancement, pathways to wellness, and environmentally sustainable communities centered around our island’s unique cultural identity. We run a number of social enterprises, including CTI, our vocational school; the Retreat Hotel, a training hotel for hospitality students; and our farm and Cooling House, which trains future farmers in the best sustainability and food production practices. Through OEF’s consistent dedicated efforts, the tenacity and resourcefulness of our legacy community, and the support of donors and partners, we are creating change in Eleuthera.