The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.
Today’s Q&A feature is Antonio Brown, City Councilman for Atlanta, Georgia’s 3rd District, which includes Vine City, English Avenue and Atlantic Station communities. In April of 2019, at the age of 34 years old, Antonio became the youngest person elected to Atlanta City Council.
As a successful CEO and humanitarian, Brown adds a unique perspective, strong faith, and inspirational work ethic to his community. From the ground up, he built LVL XIII (Level 13), a luxury men’s fashion brand currently sold in Nordstrom nationwide. After successfully launching his business, Antonio immediately began to pour back into the community through Dream of Humanity (DOH), a nonprofit committed to improving the life trajectory of marginalized people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dream of Humanity provides the community with access to a self sufficient lifestyle through wraparound services, transformative educational programs, and generous charitable contributions.
Antonio has been recognized by “Next Big Thing Movement as one of 2018’s Top 35 Millennial Influencers”, and Georgia State Representative Erica Thomas awarded him a “Notable Citizen of Georgia Proclamation”. Antonio appeared on the cover of 17t South Magazine in January 2019.
Antonio is an inspiration to the youth that want to get involved in Entrepreneurship and community service. We caught up with Antonio to find out what leadership means to him and what advice he would give to the next generation of leaders.
Why did you choose this career path?
Through my previous Humanitarian Work in District 3, at the At-Promise Youth and Community Center, I could see the residents in our communities were hurting. As long as I have lived in District 3, I have not seen much change.
Who inspired you to get involved?
The people of District 3 and the City of Atlanta, inspired me. Their determination to hang and fight for a better future brought back memories. Most of my life was lived in poverty and with my parents in and out of prison. Rather than relish in my adversity, I set out to change my circumstance and my desire is to help others change theirs.
How do you define a leader?
Leadership means having a vision and the motivation to share that vision with others. Leadership means serving those that you lead, not the other way around. And, leadership means having the ability to connect with those you lead, because of the common bond you share.
What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?
Through my Small Business Entrepreneurship Program, licensed by The Art Institute, we provide hands-on entrepreneurial training and support to over 30,000 historically underserved college students nationwide. In addition, Student Entrepreneurs of America, a program that will serve 34 high schools by providing students access to a summer immersion program and pipeline to college. And my non-profit, Dream of Humanity, provides the community with access to a self-sufficient lifestyle through wraparound services, transformational educational programs, and generous charitable contributions.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?
With faith you can accomplish anything. Faith requires you to live within yourself, living in a place of certainty, where all things become possible. You are capable of defying all the odds. Believe in yourself and you can move mountains. Never give up.