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Building the foundation of leadership

Siegfried Youth Leadership Program® (SYLP), a collaborative effort among The Siegfried Group, LLP (Siegfried), the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE), and Junior Achievement of Delaware and of Chicago, recently hosted its largest crowd yet in the 12th iteration of the event, which took place at the University of Delaware and at CICS-Loomis Longwood in Chicago.

Nearly 500 students, along with their teachers and mentors, came together in person to participate in reflective activities, listen to the experiences of their peers, and share their own insights. Hearing from inspiring guest speakers and from one another, students learned what it means to be individual leaders in their lives and of their futures.

You’re never too young to lead

Siegfried team members Lauren Campbell, Chief of Staff at Siegfried Advisory, Brendah Walyemwa, Director of Employee Engagement and Employee Inclusion and Advancement, Martin Marasigan, Professional Resource Director, and Taniqua Bailey, Associate Director, kicked off the event with a session to help ground the students in the concepts — such as dreams and character ethic — that help build the foundation of their individual leadership journeys.

To lead is to serve yourself and those around you

Students also heard from guest speaker Dr. John “Push” Gaines, a former at-risk kid turned mentorship advocate. He discussed how leadership is rooted in service and how the ability to serve is not contingent on age or experience. Once you find it in yourself to serve, you can become a leader to yourself and your community.

“I believe leadership is the same for an adult as it is for a young person, because I believe leadership is service,” Dr. Gaines explained. “I think we have these preconceived notions or misconceptions of what it means to be a leader. But to me, anyone can be a leader because anyone can serve. So, whether in the professional world or as a student, I would start with service.”

Creating the opportunity for leadership development

Siegfried has spent nearly 35 years delivering on its higher purpose to help people transform themselves into better leaders to exponentially improve their lives. In 2016, CEO and Founder Rob Siegfried expanded this reach and created SYLP — an immersive leadership experience to inspire transformational growth among young people in the community.

SYLP is designed for students in grades 8 through 12, as well as their teachers and mentors. During each event, student participants focus on developing the qualities they need to start, or continue, their journey toward becoming strong individual leaders and building a successful future. Overall, the program aims to create a more rhythmic approach to focusing on individual leadership.

“SYLP was inspired by my daughter and her belief that I could share something with younger generations,” said Siegfried. “I want to impress on them the importance of personal leadership to find something inspiring, a personal passion, and use it to lead a purposeful and fulfilling future.”

Future events

The next SYLP® event will take place on March 7, 2023 in locations around the country.


“This has become a staple for me to use to engage students to that I feel possess leadership qualities that aren’t out of their shells and for students to look outside their “neighborhood” to experience the perspectives of their peers.”

SYLP Teacher

Ready to experience SYLP?

If you’re curious about SYLP and want to learn more how you, your school, or your child can get involved, explore our different SYLP offerings.