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Our Story

In 1989, a group of Georgia-based executives identified a problem in need of a solution.

They observed a growing and critical need to prepare their employees for leadership and promote collaboration across class and racial barriers. To address this, they founded 21st Century Leaders, aiming to build the next generation of leaders by providing young people with training, guidance, and encouragement to enter college and the workforce with highly developed leadership skills.

For 35 years, we've been the premier youth leadership development organization in Georgia and 'best kept secret' in the state that students and companies have turned to.

1989
Incorporated as “The Georgia Business Forum” in 1989, before launching our first one-week summer leadership institute, The Summer Business Academy, in 1991 at Oglethorpe University with 31 students from 8 high schools.
1989
2001
Launched our first school and community based clubs, 21CLubs, including at Midtown High School which still exists today!
2001
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2016
Launched our gamified online learning platform, Leadership Connect, meeting students where they are and eliminating barriers.
2016
2018
Our Founding Executive Director, Bob Watson, retires after 29 years of service.
2018
2023
Launched our Summer Paid Internship & Scholarship program for graduating seniors.
2023
2024
Celebrating 35 years of service to Georgia's youth!
2024

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