NBMBAA’s Leaders of Tomorrow Program, a nationwide leadership initiative launched in 1991 in St. Louis, provides mentorship to Black high school students. The initiative focuses on students aspiring to hold executive positions. Leadership, financial literacy, college preparation, career preparation, and life skills are the program’s priorities. The program offers scholarships and internships.
St. Louis Leaders of Tomorrow works with the students on yearly summits and case competitions. In the competitions, students will create solutions to business problems for corporations. Three students who come up with the best strategy each win grand prize money that will go to their tuition.
“Leaders of Tomorrow is a great collegiate program where our students have opportunities to meet and have personal conversations with CEOs from companies such as Netflix, Dominos and Amazon and see firsthand they can reach the same success,” said Gina Covington-James, co-chair of Leaders of Tomorrow-St. Louis and Business Education & Technology teacher at Parkway Northeast Middle School. “We are giving them the tools to succeed in their endeavors. They have the chance to meet people they probably would’ve never [imagine meeting in their wildest dreams], all because of the program.”
Elizabeth Franklin, a junior at Parkway West High School, said she enjoys participating in the Leaders of Tomorrow Program.
“It’s not only fun, but it’s really useful,” Franklin said. “I’ve learned much about financial literacy and Black businesses in general. It’s been an interesting experience.”
Franklin, at the moment, is undecided on her career aspirations but does have some interest in potentially practicing law in the future.
“Even if you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur, the lessons you learn in Leaders of Tomorrow provide kids with endless resources and opportunities and help nurture their talents and abilities,” Franklin said.
Another component of Leaders of Tomorrow is parent involvement.
Kasandra Hodge, the co-chair of Leaders of Tomorrow – St. Louis and a financial services executive with Edward Jones, said the program had benefited her and her son.
“In the past, we [Leaders of Tomorrow] met Bob Johnson from BET from that connection. I always said once my son got older, I wanted him to join the program,” Hodge said. “He joined his freshman year, then joined virtually last year his sophomore year because of COVID-19.”
Students throughout the city and county can join Leaders of Tomorrow-St. Louis. The current cohort has students in Parkway School District, Ladue School District, Hazelwood School District, Clayton School District, and Francis Howell School District.
All students interested in attending must register at the 2022 Information Meeting Sign-up Form (google.com) or scan the QR code on the attached flyer.
Learn more about Leaders of Tomorrow here: Leaders of Tomorrow® – NBMBAA.