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Our Next Generation of Leaders: The Teen Vogue Summit

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On December 1st and 2nd in Los Angeles, CA, the first ever Teen Vogue Summit brought together over 500 young activists and leaders from across the country for two-days of inspiring talks and workshops with top business, tech, and civic leaders. The amazing line up included Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Women’s March organizer Paola Mendoza, poet and artist Cleo Wade, Black Lives Matters activist DeRay McKesson, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, and actresses/activists Amandla Stenberg.

There were a number of amazing events, booths and opportunities for young women to learn about themselves and others at the Teen Vogue Summit. Besides a photo booth, and giveaways from Juicy Couture, Philosophy, and other amazing brands, there were a plethora of talks and workshops. The keynote speakers were especially on point and handpicked to bring a dynamic sense of strength and wisdom to the summit.


Hillary Rodham Clinton and activist and actress Yara Shahidi

Hillary Rodham Clinton and activist and actress Yara Shahidi took the stage at the Teen Vogue Summit for the opening key note conversation today in Los Angeles Their discussion focused on the importance of being socially and politically active, the complicated perceptions around women in politics, and Clinton’s advice for the next generation of leaders. Clinton on whether she regrets not confronting Donald Trump when he stalked her during the presidential debate last year:

"I knew he’d be desperate because the Access Hollywood tapes had just came out where he basically confesses to sexual assault," Clinton explained. "So I said, we have to be calm and I maintained by composure. But afterwards, I thought about that, and what would have happened if I spun around and said, 'You love to intimidate women, but back up you creep!' I think it would have been really satisfying. But I also think given the way women are covered..They would have said she can’t take it....or we don’t want an angry woman in the oval office."

Clinton addressed a number of issues and encouraged young women to be innovators, voters, and activists. She even spoke on what it was like be called a “nasty woman.”

"We have to make it not only safe for women, we have to make it possible for us to express a full range of human emotion....without being so negatively judged. Remember when he called me a nasty woman? All of that stuff he didn't end up hurting him that much because men are given a much broader range of emotions to demonstrate their authentic feelings. Be part of the changing culture so it's not viewed as disqualifying if you're standing up for yourself and speaking up for yourself."

Congresswoman Maxine Waters and actress Amandla Stenberg also took the stage at the Teen Vogue Summit for an intimate, cross-generational conversation. Earlier in the day, A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay was joined by actresses from the film Rowan Blanchard and Storm Reid for a conversation on representation in Hollywood led by Teen Vogue editor in chief Elaine Welteroth.

Waters spoke deliberately about political issues facing our nation. " I think this is the kind of discussion we’re going to have to have for some time to come, Donald Trump does not deserve to be President of the United States of America. I am totally offended by him. And I want other people to get in touch with themselves and how they feel about him. This man is deplorable and he’s dangerous. You cannot depend on anything he says."


Director and creator Ava discussed the importance of mentoring young people. “There is no black woman filmmaker that I can look to who has worked in the studio system consistently at a certain price point. There was no one to ask questions to. So my intention is to be that for any of you that’s gonna be the next one out there. So that you can call me or we can have that conversation in the same way I have talk to Rowan and I talk to Storm. It’s important that we pass the knowledge along, pass the love along and pass along the idea that we could lead in any moment.” If this first ever Teen Vogue Summit is any indication in what the future holds for our nation, then we are definitely in good hands.

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