Young Leaders Learn and Share at the Global Citizen Festival

Working as leaders and advocates in the areas of sexual & reproductive health and rights, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, and mental health, 20 different young leaders from 13 different countries convened in New York City last week as Johnson & Johnson’s 2016 Young Leaders. Most are involved in partnerships with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and all are very influential grassroots leaders and advocates in their communities.

These leaders were brought to New York City to learn, share, interact with J&J leaders and participate in the Global Citizen Festival. As a major sponsor of the Global Citizen Festival and longtime partner for sustainable global health efforts, Johnson & Johnson holds the foundational belief that change happens one person at a time and the world moves forward one leader at a time.

“Everyone today is a person of power… and we must see a reflection of ourselves in every injustice that we see.”
– Yemurai Nyoni, Women Deliver

Top Left: On day one, Sarah of Over The Horizon Strategies, emphasized the power of your story. Giving some tips, she suggested that when telling the story of your work or your passion you need to balance of both facts and personal narrative. Telling your story forces a clarity of thinking, touches emotions, and opens up a door to begin a dialogue so be brave and share! If it feels hard to talk about yourself, Sarah suggests you talk about your work and free yourself from feeling that you are hitting people up or promoting yourself as a “do-gooder”; show that what you do is for everyone and everyone can get involved!

Bottom: Alicia Weigel and Trish Garrity of Fenton, helped lead training on social media use and discussed what it means to be Thought Leaders both on and offline. Social media is “not just a vanity tool,” but a place to share your views, shape change you want to see, and be a reliable source of information. They encouraged Young Leaders to follow the coffee shop rule: if you wouldn’t want someone over hearing you say it in a coffee shop, don’t say it online. Instead be selective, responsible, and curate your thoughts.

Above: J&J Young Leaders practiced sharing their story or “elevator pitch” with one another. Practicing your story with a friend helps to make it brief, clear, and precise.

In addition to training sessions, the Young Leaders joined corporate leaders at Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey to share their stories and engage with J&J leaders about fulfilling the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Leaders expressed commitments and shared the necessity of integrated development; we are affected by everything around us. Joy Marini of J&J describes it well when discussing integrated solutions needed for material & child health: “What good are safe birth efforts if we lack clean water to wash hands or don’t have electricity to power lights at delivery?”

Joy Marini and Michael Bzdak of a Johnson & Johnson panel listen to questions and comments from attendees.
Girls’ Globe founder, Julia Wiklander, engages the panel.


Deb Almond (Save The Children), a J&J Young Leader, shares her story. “You can’t just address access to healthcare, you also need to change gender norms and raise awareness,” she said while discussing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Finally, the Young Leaders participated in the Global Citizen Festival, involving on evening event at NYU’s Skirball Theater and a day long music festival at Central Park. The Festival involved live music from artists such as Rihanna, Chris Martin, Kendrick Lamar, and Metallica and all attendees gained entrance by taking actions on issues such as gender equality, clean water, reducing inequalities, and environmental issues. To be with like minded individuals, hear from world leaders and their decisive actions, and listen to artists committed to the sustainable change made for an incredible experience!



Kendrick Lamar performs at the Global Citizen Festival, Central Park, NYC.



Girls’ Globe is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson to provide coverage during the Global Citizen Festival and to share the stories of the Young Leaders who are participating in the activities in New York. 

All photos by Sarah North/Girls’ Globe.


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Category: Development    Music
Tagged with: #JNJ    Global Citizen Festival    leadership training    Photo essay    Photo journalism    social media training    young leaders

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