This rock star activist is helping brands stay relevant and socially responsible.
Ziad Ahmed is an 20-year-old rising junior at Yale University. He is an unapologetic American-Muslim-Bangladeshi student activist, entrepreneur, and speaker.
Ziad founded a teen organization, redefy, committed to furthering equality in 2013. Redefy has grown immensely with hundreds of students internationally on the team, over 3,000 likes on Facebook, and over 100,000 hits on redefy.org. Through Redefy, Ziad has been recognized as a 2017 Global Teen Leader, a High School Trailblazer by MTV, a Top 15 Young Prodigy Changing the World by Business Insider, a Diana Award Winner, and a recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.
Ziad has also done significant work in progressive politics — working for the US Department of State, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign, Martin O’Malley’s 2016 Campaign, and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in various capacities. Currently, he also serves as a Digital Intern for at the SOZE Agency, working on Yara Shahidi’s EighteenX18 campaign to encourage young people to get more civically engaged.
As an entrepreneur, Ziad has co-founded JÜV Consulting Inc., which is a Generation Z marketing consultancy. He serves as CEO of the company — growing the company to empower Generation Z with the opportunity to communicate directly with businesses about what exactly appeals to youth.
Additionally, he has given four TEDxTalks, has spoken at forums such as the Council on Foreign Relations, has written for publications such as Teen Vogue, and serves on boards such as the Marketing Advisory Board for DoSomething.org.
He has even been personally commended by President Barack Obama, and has had the honor of being invited to the White House three times.
Overwhelmingly though, Ziad is just your average teenager grappling with identity, struggling to balance it all, pursuing his passions, and spending way too much time on twitter.
Generation Z: The Leaders of Today
A crash course into who Generation Z is, how the cohort is distinct from Millennials, and why that matters. There is a lot of discourse around “young people,” and Ziad speaks on the importance of talking directly to your audience, the nuance of his generation, and the implications of a changing world. Ziad speaks regularly to major companies to help them better understand the next generation of consumers — and he underscores his own story as the CEO/Founder of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z consultancy that is disrupting the marketplace. Generation Z are not the leaders of tomorrow, but rather are the leaders of today — and Ziad speaks often on why that is/motivates audiences with his anecdotes/passion on the topic.
The Intersection of Social Media, Social Good, and Social Justice
As a twenty-year-old who has done work as an influencer, as a social entrepreneur, and as an activist — Ziad is uniquely positioned to speak on the vital intersection of social media, social good, and social justice. Ziad has gone viral for pushing the envelope with his politics, and he is no stranger to working with brands/audiences to grapple with our changing tomorrow. He can talk about how folks are using social media differently (what a finsta is/why it matters), how society is pushing for purpose-driven business (not just regarding cute campaigns, but in terms of what real engagement looks like), and how his generation is the generation of memes/movements that is fundamentally changing everything. Ziad understands the intersection of technology, business, social justice, corporate social responsibility, and marketing — and he’s always happy to talk about how we approach the crossroads with power/purpose.
Age Does Not Limit Activism
Ziad started a non-profit when he was in eighth grade, and it is his goal to talk to as many young folks as possible about the importance of taking action right now. It is too often the case that young people are told that the time to act is later, but Ziad breaks that down with stories of his peers, with the reality of the issues that we are grappling with, and with actionable steps that folks can take to get started. He also shares his own story with starting a non-profit in eighth grade, with starting a company as a teenager, with working with politicians as a young person, with using social media to be heard, with building capacity with thousands of others young people, with being inspired by his peers, and with growing every day. He tells his personal story of how we got to where he is today — with the hiccups, humor, and heart that comes along the way. Ziad has also done a lot of work specifically in terms of youth voter engagement, and he talks extensively about how/why young folks need to get civically engaged to make tomorrow better. He is a motivational speaker that leads sessions/workshops to provoke folks to action because our age (or anything else) should never limit our activism — we all have voices that need to be heard, and Ziad champions that.
Thriving Through Turbulence: American-Muslim Today
It is complicated to grow Muslim in America today, and Ziad has been very outspoken about his identity as an American-Muslim since he was around thirteen. He has a unique journey about facing Islamophobia, learning from American-Muslim leaders, and finding strength in his truth. The reality is most folks know very little about Muslims, and so Ziad hopes to use his voice to speak on the beauty, nuance, and reality of his community wherever possible. Ziad talks about his family, his personal development, and his unapologetic confidence in his American-Muslim identity. Ziad is American, Ziad is Muslim, Ziad is American-Muslim — there is nothing contradictory about his identity, and he will never tire of saying that.
Ziad Ahmed talks about youth stereotypes in this fun TEDx talk.
Teen activist Ziad Ahmed shares why he talked to 237 people as a result of Donald Trump’s election.
Ziad Ahmed wrote one hashtag one hundred times for his college admission essay: #BlackLivesMatter. He got in.