Harnessing Sport to Empower Young Leaders

Last week, we proudly gathered sports industry leaders, nonprofit executives, athletes and youth in Los Angeles for the Laureus Youth Leadership Summit presented by ESPN and The Allstate Foundation. Together, we explored how sport can be a powerful tool for developing leadership skills, and featured speakers including Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson, Olympic legend and Laureus USA Board Chairman Edwin Moses, Olympic Gold Medalist and Laureus USA CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Olympic Gold Medalist Angela Hucles and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, among others. Also in attendance were Olympic rower Anita DeFrantz and Olympic volleyball star and model Kimberly Glass.

The Summit championed youth voices ‪by providing a platform for them to connect with leaders and professional athletes and share insights on how to best design youth-serving programs. In turn, leaders had a chance to share best practices on leadership with youth. We invited more than a dozen youth from the Sport for Good programs that we fund in ChicagoNew OrleansAtlanta and New York City. Additional youth are from LA-area programs focused on developing young leaders through sport.

“There is a critical lack of diversity among leaders of today and we believe sport can help bridge this gap by empowering people from all backgrounds to develop the knowledge and confidence they need to emerge as leaders,” said Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus USA and Olympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field.  “Nearly 75% of youth in Laureus-supported programs show increased leadership skills, including the abilities to organize, plan and make decisions and we are proud to help inspire the leaders of tomorrow.”

The two-day conference (July 8 & 9) was a unique opportunity for youth, athletes and cross-sector executives to learn from one another. The goal of the Laureus Youth Leadership Summit was to empower youth to represent views of their peers, and identify how youth-serving programs can better integrate leadership development into their curriculums.

Among the highlights of Day One were:

  • Opening Keynote: Michael Johnson – Defining Youth Leadership through Sport
  • Panel discussion – Why Youth Leadership through Sport?
  • “Mini TED Talks” – Successful Youth Leadership Platforms in Sport
  • Laureus Youth Council – Including Youth in Programming Development and Growth
  • Athletes Leading the Way –Angles Hucles, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Edwin Moses Advice to Young Leaders

Day Two featured workshops to help further develop youth’s leadership skills while also providing a platform for collecting and incorporating feedback into future Laureus USA programs.

Presented by ESPN and the Allstate Foundation, the Laureus Youth Leadership Summit coincided with the Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 8 which honored athletes, teams, nonprofits and corporations using sport to make a positive impact on society.

The Laureus Youth Leadership Summit was held at The Conga Room at LA Live. Many LA professional teams came together to sponsor and support this event: the LA Dodgers Foundation, LAFC, LA Lakers, Anahiem Ducks, LA Clippers, LA Rams and LA Kings  Additional sponsors included Nickelodeon, the NFL and MUFG Union Bank which also invited incoming and graduate students from their student-run bank branches in Los Angeles.

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