Siegfried Youth Leadership Program® (SYLP), a collaborative effort between The Siegfried Group, LLP (Siegfried), the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE), and Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA), recently brought a first-of its kind, hybrid live-stream assembly to four Delaware schools.
Changing the scene
“We know that students, along with the rest of the world, are growing tired of virtual interactions,” said Amy Devlin, Vice President at Siegfried. “After hosting a fully virtual program last year, we knew we wanted to change it up this time around for our tenth program.”
On October 20, 2021, Siegfried’s Amy Devlin, Kevin Keegan, and Brendah Walyemwa acted as presenters live at four Delaware high schools: Las Americas ASPIRA Academy, Paul M. Hodgson, Mount Pleasant, and Smyrna. They, along with representatives from CEEE and JA, facilitated four 80-minute live assemblies. These live assemblies also included a real-time, virtual, and interactive guest speaker keynote by Juan Bendaña.
“A lot of people have treated the last 18 months as a ‘waiting room,’” said Bendaña, renowned speaker, author, DJ, and the founder of the 100 Day Playbook. “They said, ‘I’m going to wait for things to get better and I’ll put myself out there and continue to pursue those goals after the world goes back to normal,’” explained Bendaña. “We are all making excuses, but just because the world has been closed doesn’t mean we need to be.”
This hybrid assembly featured high-energy speakers who spoke about individual leadership topics and incorporated related activities and lessons that teachers can use to further engage students in and out of the classroom. And although the delivery of SYLP changed, the mission remained the same: to help young people build individual leadership, enabling them to enrich their personal and professional lives, now and in the future.
Choosing kindness and courage
“Talking to students is my passion,” said Bendaña. “Today we dove into bigger future, individual leadership, character ethic, mindsets, courage, relationships, and more. Taking this thoughtful and reflective time out of their hectic, teenage days to focus on bettering themselves is a true gift.”
Throughout the sessions, students were asked to take quiet time to reflect and write down their insights, including their accomplishments and how they want to be courageous.
“My biggest takeaway from SYLP today is that a lot of people experience the same things, like being shy and speaking out, but there’s a lot you can do to feel more confident,” said a student from Las Americas ASPIRA Academy.
“One insight from today is: be kind to yourself”, said Kevin Keegan, Senior Vice President and Regional Market Director at Siegfried. “One student said, ‘I’m my own toughest critic.’ Juan’s keynote touched right on this. That’s another sign of how much intelligence, insight, and depth these students have even before they go through the program. But it’s up to us to bring it out of them and continue to have them explore their individual leadership and what’s going on in their hearts and minds. I love the passion and energy the kids bring to SYLP, it always energizes me.”
It’s never too early to teach leadership
Siegfried’s CEO and Founder, Rob Siegfried, lives out the higher purpose of his company day after day: We help People transform themselves into better Leaders to exponentially improve their Lives!
“SYLP was inspired by my daughter and her belief that I could share something with younger generations,” said Siegfried. “I want to impress on this group the importance of personal leadership to find something inspiring, a personal passion, and use it to lead a purposeful and fulfilling future.”
“With leadership, the earlier you start, the better you get at it and the more time you have to achieve your goals,” said Brendah Walyemwa, Acting Director of Employee Engagement and Employee Inclusion and Advancement at Siegfried. “Starting with students at this age allows them more time to figure out what they want to do in the future, how they’re going to get there, the character ethic they need to develop, and gives them a better chance at achieving their goals.”
Creating leadership development opportunities for young people
Siegfried has spent more than 30 years helping people transform themselves into better leaders to exponentially improve their lives. In 2016, Rob expanded this reach and created SYLP to help students in grades 8 – 12 develop the leadership qualities they need to have a successful future.
Watch a recap video of the event!
The impact of SYLP builds with each event and brings a purposeful rhythm to the leadership journey for young people. More information about our next program will be posted to here.