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 Laurence Wilson, Founder and CEO of Wilson Brand LLC. Wilson Brand LLC is a brand strategy firm specializing in elevating outreach and overall brand identity through strategic partnerships.

Laurence is an inspiration to youth that want to get involved in entrepreneurship and community service. We caught up with Laurence 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?

Actually, my career path chose me. When I was 13, then State-Senator William Lacy Clay of Missouri, asked me to help with his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. I was a little kid knocking on doors and making phone calls to residents. It was not until the summer after my freshmen year of college, that I was chosen to intern with U.S. Representative Clay through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. From that point on, I decided public service and politics was my career choice.

Who inspired you to get involved?

My grandfather, who is my heart and inspiration. A man that I admired so much who passed away in June 20, 2019 at 89. My late uncle Earl, who passed 2 months before I graduated from college and who was the reason I became a first-generation college student, and U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay, who help pave the way for my career.

How do you define a leader?

A leader is someone who can empower people to reach their full potential by giving them the right tools, and resources to thrive in the global society. A leader can also rise to the occasion through adversity, but never wear their feelings on their sleeves and not show moved emotions.

Leaders are visionary, and they have a global perspective, but they are not afraid to complete the groundwork.

What projects are you currently involved in?

This year, I served as Campaign Manager for Councilman Antonio Brown who was elected April 16th and sworn in April 22nd. While in this role, we partnered with public works and sanitation department to improve areas that were the most impoverished.

As CEO and Founder of Wilson Brand LLC, I always stay engaged in the community. Recently, I was the tour director for the Parkland Florida shooting survivors, March for Our Lives tour last summer, and was a consultant for Tate+Associates LLC, which does a lot of community events for at risk youth in Chicago.

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.