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Obama leader promotes inclusivity and amplification of young voices

Ziad Ahmed, a man with a medium skin tone, smiles at the camera. He has black hair and is wearing a red patterned jacket. He is sitting on an apple box. The background is brown.

24-year-old Ziad Ahmed is committed to championing the voices of young people. It has been his goal since he was a teenager to empower the next generation, and it remains at the core of his work today.

Ziad is a 2023 United States Obama Leader and the CEO and co-founder of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z marketing consultancy that works with clients to help them reach young people. 

The firm partners with companies to amplify the voices of Generation Z, finds solutions, and creates campaigns targeted at those born after 1997.

He says his mission is to level the playing field and include young people in the conversation. 

“We exist to empower diverse young people and we believe in co-creating products, campaigns, ideas, and movements that meaningfully push our generation forward,” Ahmed explained. “I wanted to change the world and disrupt the current conversations and to get more young people in the rooms where it happens. Somehow, seven and a half years later, JUV Consulting has been named the largest and most popular Gen Z agency.” 

The company has worked with more than 20 Fortune 500 companies and in 2019 Ziad was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. As a teen, Ziad founded his first nonprofit, Redefy, which he founded in middle school, to defy stereotypes and embrace social and acceptance. 

Ziad Ahmed, a man with a medium skin tone, stands on a stage and speaks to an audience. He is wearing a red patterned sweater and his arms are outstretched. A projector screen is behind him.

“The world looks better when diverse young people have a seat at the table. I believe that folks should be talking and building with us, rather than just talking about us,” he shared.

JUV Consulting has worked with major brands to champion diverse communities and enhance storytelling around topics like climate change, mental health, and systemic inequities. 

“We believe that the expert is the person closest to that reality so we staff diverse teams for our clients to tackle the problems they're facing,” Ziad explained. “That can look like anything from doing research in regards to how Gen Z's feeling about climate change, to co-creating a campaign around youth voter engagement, to co-creating and producing a new line of sustainable products for a brand and working with diverse creators to tell that story.”

The world looks better when diverse young people have a seat at the table. I believe that folks should be talking and building with us, rather than just talking about us.”

Ziad Ahmed

Ziad says being a part of the Leaders USA program has enhanced his leadership skills and given him a network of like-minded individuals.

“The program has been a great moment for pause and reflection each week. Having time to learn and embrace community, rather than just be obsessed with productivity has been beneficial,” Ziad reflected. “I've been really humbled and honored to be a part of the program and work with such inspiring people.” 

He says the amplification of young voices is essential for the progression of democracy. 

“Our voices and viewpoints cannot be an afterthought. I think voting and democracy is one tool in our toolbox of change making. It’s important that young people can make their preferences, desires, and demands heard in order to shape the political institutions and infrastructure that we have,” Ziad shared. “I believe in the saying, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. I think young people are often on the menu because people are making assumptions about what our tastes are instead of including us in the process. I hope that we can make our voices heard through protests and at the ballot box because we are the ones who are inheriting the decisions that are being made right now and how we will have to contend with the future that we're barreling towards.”

Moving forward, Ziad is focused on scaling his business to reach more young people. 

“We will continue to impact more young people and put out more stories into the world that hopefully makes more people feel seen, included, celebrated, honored, and inspired,” Ziad shared. 

Tune in to for the 2023 Democracy Forum on Friday, November 3, 2023!


Donate to the Barack Obama Foundation to inspire, empower, and connect the next generation to change their world.

The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 46-4950751).

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