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About Us

Leaders aren't born. They're developed, grown, and inspired through organizations like 21st Century Leaders!

21st Century Leaders is Georgia's premier youth leadership and development organization for high school students.

 Since 1989, we have provided equitable access to high-level leadership training to thousands of high school students through the partnership and support of business partners and volunteers. We're connecting, transforming, and inspiring the next generation of diverse leaders and talent for companies and communities across Georgia and beyond.

Our Vision

To inspire youth to lead.

Our Mission

To connect, transform, and inspire high school students across Georgia to promote and leverage diversity and inclusion, explore career opportunities, and become leaders in their schools, communities, and ultimately the workforce.

Our Three Pillars

21st Century Leaders provides opportunity and access to all students with our programs centered around three main pillars that unlock students' leadership potential.


A leader is defined not by their title but by their attitude, skills, and ability to lead and serve others.

Our programs empower students to unlock their potential by developing the essential soft skills and core competencies required for effective leadership

Career Readiness

Our programs connect students with passionate professionals from diverse backgrounds, providing hands-on experiences and in-demand skills.

This exposure helps them explore career opportunities and post-secondary education while gaining insights into professionalism. We collaborate with over 50 companies and 600 volunteers across various industry sectors to meet workforce needs and support our students.


Our programs inspire and empower students to create an inclusive environment that embraces diversity, belonging, and equity through developing their leadership skills.

All of our programs come at little to not cost and are provided through in-person, school-based, and digital formats, ensuring opportunities and access for every student to reach full potential.

Our Student Values

After attending our programs, our students are empowered to embody these qualities:


Our Core Competencies

21st Century Leaders' programs are designed to help students discover, explore, and master these seven (7) core leadership competencies that research indicates are needed for success.


Leaders are comfortable being uncomfortable. They are personally committed to learning and improving their skills, attitudes, and abilities. From personal branding to handling criticism, they will possess a positive attitude and share lessons learned with others

Problem Solving

Leaders can effectively define the problem before trying to solve it, seek out forward-thinking solutions, and understand the needs of others before making decisions


Leaders know how to communicate effectively and are active listeners. They are skilled presenters, but not always the loudest person in the room, can get their message across, and can lean into different communication styles appropriately.


Leaders actively seek and create opportunities while being able to adapt to change and recover from mistakes. They can be strategic thinkers, determined, and goal oriented.

Team Building

Leaders recognize and emphasize the power of building effective teams. They foster diverse ideas, create a sense of belonging, and manage conflicts equitably.


Leaders are authentic, compassionate, and honest. Their behavior and actions are in sync with their core beliefs and values and they can be counted on in all situations.

Career Ambition

Leaders know what they want in a career and actively work on it. They have the ability to create career opportunities, make advances, and are dedicated to becoming more knowledgeable, while mentoring others in that same field.

What Our Students Say About Us

Our Partners

In the News

Group photo of the 2024 Georgia Youth Leadership Award winners and their coaches, taken Feb. 10, 2024 at their Meet & Greet luncheon in at Emory's Goizueta Business School.

21CL Announces 2024 Georgia

21 high school students will be recognized with 21st Century Leaders' Georgia Youth Leadership Award and the Be the Inspiration...

Chairman’s Corner

As 21st Century Leaders celebrates #35yearsof21CL, our Board Chair DeRetta Cole Rhodes, PhD, shares her thoughts on the kickoff of...

Legacy Partner Spotlight: Warner

21st Century Leaders Celebrates 35-Year Partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery (Atlanta, GA) For 35 years, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), formerly...