Optimistic About Philadelphia’s Leaders of Tomorrow — Generation Z

By Malik Majeed, President, CEO & General Counsel

I recently read an article in Black Enterprise Magazine about six African-American teenagers who are leading the charge in innovative business solutions. Some are developing apps, others are conducting motivational tours and one is even making deals with the NBA. These teens and the work they are doing greatly impressed me, but I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I know this young generation, known to researchers as “Generation Z” or “iGeneration,” is going to change the world — and for the better.

Because of a partnership with the Adopt-a-School Program, PRWT Services, Inc. has the opportunity to follow students from 9th to 12th grade at Martin Luther King High School in the School District of Philadelphia. There, my colleagues and I get to support and interact with tomorrow’s leaders on a regular basis. We conduct three annual themed workshops where we talk about a variety of topics, including leadership, post high school options, career choices and job readiness.

Beyond interactive lectures, we sit down and talk with students regarding their social engagements, travel activities and political awareness. These young adults never fail to amaze me with all that they do in their school and community.  For instance, some of the students take a business course at school that teaches them about taxes and tax preparation.  Other students go home and help support family businesses, e.g., a family owned landscaping company.

As the President, CEO & General Counsel of the largest minority-owned firm in Philadelphia, I know how important it is to spend time mentoring the next generation of leaders in the communities in which we live and work.  Since our company’s inception nearly 30 years ago, PRWT has made it a point to hire from the local neighborhoods and surrounding communities. So, it is beyond encouraging when I sit down with or read about inspiring, motivated teens. Despite the stigmas that may befall young people, I am confident they will leave our world in a better place than they found it.