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 Shevrin Jones, Florida State Senator for the 35th District, which includes southern Broward and Miami-dade County. Prior to joining the legislature, Shevrin served as an AP Chemistry teacher in the Broward County School system from 2006-2008, and then went on to teach at Florida Atlantic University High School from 2008-2012. At FAU High, he led his school to be #1 in the state for having a 100% pass rate on the Science End of Course (EOC) Exam. Shevrin believed that teaching was his calling, and whenever he entered a classroom, it was always with the mindset that “Every child CAN learn.” Shevrin is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of L.E.A.D Nation (Leaders by Empowerment, Activists by Development). Their mission is to develop youth and young adults to become social entrepreneurs, community activist, trained young professionals and critical thinkers, who positively influence political and social change. He has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades including a feature in Gold Coast Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40,” the Margaret E. Roach Humanitarian Award from the Urban League of Broward County, Legacy Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow,” the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Fort Lauderdale’s Finest, a Congressional Political Institute Honoree, ICABA’s 100 Most Accomplished Caribbean Americans, and Broward Parent Teachers Association’s Legislator of the Year. We caught up with Shevrin to find out what leadership means to him and what advice he would give to future leaders.

Why did you choose this career path?

The old saying goes “If you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu”!. I wanted a seat at the table, to represent by people how I wanted to be represented.

Who inspired you to get involved?

My father inspired me to get involved in the community.

How do you define a leader?

Someone who leads with the people, not in the front or behind them.

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

My office started a community series called “At the table”. It is a strategy to bring young people, their families, and the community to central locations (house, parks, etc) to talk about ways to change their community.

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

If you are doing it to be or get famous, don’t do it.