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 Joshua Simmons, Founder of Broward County, Florida’s Young Black Progressives. The mission is to educate, engage, and empower millennials in all levels of government. Joshua moved to Coral Springs in 2011 to help raise his sister while his single mother served in the United States Navy, becoming his sister’s legal guardian at the age of 22. After earning his Bachelors of Art in Political Science at Florida Atlantic University and successfully completing his Masters in Psychology, Joshua stayed in Coral Springs, working as a mental health therapist before taking a position as a Broward County Public School Teacher at Pompano Beach Middle School, followed by his current position at Coral Springs High. He currently serves on City of Coral Springs Customer Involved Government Committee, Martin Luther King Jr Committee, and the Multi Cultural Advisory Committee. We caught up with Joshua 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?

I chose a career in public service for the same reason as most, which is to make a difference in my community, my state, my country, and the world. However, unlike most, I have vowed to remain idealistic and optimistic. Ideas and action will drive our world to a better place and I hope to be a part of the struggle and progress.

Who inspired you to get involved?

My mother, as cliche-est as that sounds, raised me to always be kind and be a force for good. I also have to say that all of the leaders of the Civil Rights Era are my inspiration. The courage that was displayed was absolutely remarkable.

How do you define a leader?

An individual that is completely selfless. A leader must have the ability to immediately think of others.

What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders ?

I am currently a candidate for Coral Springs City Commission. As a Commissioner, I want to be a voice and inspire the next generation of leaders.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?

My advice to them would be follow your own path. You can make a difference by being different. The problems of today and tomorrow will require solutions that are waiting to be found. Rarely do you find those solutions while coloring inside the lines.