Ambassador Barzun spoke to the Student.com team on the importance of giving a voice to young future leaders and revealed the wise advice he received from President Obama.
The Student.com London team had the honour of hosting the US Ambassador to UK, Matthew Barzun, in our London office in Trafalgar Square today. Hosted by the former British Council CEO Martin Davidson and Student.com CEO Luke Nolan, the US Ambassador to the UK spoke to a packed room of invited guests and eager Student.com team members about the importance of nurturing young leaders across the UK.
Becoming a young leader
Barzun spoke passionately about the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US and the the Young Leaders UK (YLUK), an organisation he established to help nurture and motivate young leaders across the UK. YLUK has now grown into a network of ambitious young people, between the ages of 18 and 30, who connect with their peers as well as successful entrepreneurs, politicians and influencers across both the UK and US.
This part of his role has seen Ambassador Barzun interact with over 18,000 young people from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, finding out what inspires and frustrates them about United States. The enthralled audience members were invited to share their own positive and negative impressions of the US, which evoked some interesting responses.
The ‘selfie generation’
In particular, Ambassador Barzun stressed the importance of giving a voice to those who will be at the forefront of business, politics and other industries in the future. The ‘selfie generation’ as he described these young leaders, are sharing more content then ever before, and are used to engaging in important issues as they happen through social media like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
Through the YLUK initiative, Barzun sets up meetings, webinars, town hall-style seminars with prominent global leaders and influencers, such as members of Apple’s senior team, actor and former White House speech writer Jon Favreau and even President Obama himself, who hosted a meetup for the YLUK group when in the country in April this year.
Listen to lead
Barzun’s spoke about Obama’s ability to inspire and mobilise large groups of people – changing the mindset of one individual and empowering them to pass the message onto the next. Ambassador Barzun revealed that Obama had once told him personally that the key to being a good leader was to be a good listener, which will enable you to inspire and empower people to follow you.
A very successful stately breakfast
Co-hosts Martin Davidson and Luke Nolan and guest of honour Ambassador Barzun rounded up the event with by opening the floor to some colourful questions from the audience. Once the post-event networking winded down for the morning and the ambassador and his entourage swept out of the office swiftly, the Student.com team returned to their desks with added inspiration from one of the most exciting events in Student.com history.