Youth Leadership Member Interest Group (YLMIG)

Who are we?
This community serves as a forum for all those who study, research, practice, teach, or develop leadership among youth and as a context for cross-generational dialogue about the challenges young leaders face now and in the future. The intention of this MIG is to support knowledge and practice for next generation leadership, in collaboration with other ILA MIGs, by building community and connection among all ILA members who hold an interest in this area.

What are our current priorities?
  • Increase membership
  • Showcase high-impact work of youth leadership scholars, practitioners and organizations
  • Lay the foundation for future publication
  • Increase digital and social media presence
  • Gather data on youth demographics worldwide
How can ILA members be involved?
  • Submitting and reviewing proposals for ILA Annual Global Conference
  • Hosting webinars on youth leadership
  • Sharing relevant scholarship
  • Sharing opportunities for youth leadership development or research

Past Events and Activities
2011 - 2017: Youth Leadership Networking Dinner at ILA Annual Global Conferences.

How to Affiliate With This Community
ILA members who affiliate with a MIG receive occasional emails of interest from their MIG leaders including volunteer openings, updates on MIG initiatives, and opportunities to provide feedback. To affiliate/join: log in to this profile update form, scroll down and "Edit Your ILA Member Community Settings." Make sure to click Save in order to save your changes.

Contact ILA's membership team at with any general questions about ILA's member communities.


Tasha Coppett is the Assistant Director of Off-Campus and Graduate Housing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Currently, she serves a community of 2500 graduate students. Tasha has over 12 years of experience in student affairs and has worked globally with youth leaders in the USA, United Kingdom, Haiti, and India. She has experience creating niche programs to engage youth in their community as social-justice advocates. Tasha holds a PgDip in Higher and Professional Education from Institute of Education -University of Central London, a MBA in Global Management from American InterContinental University, and a BS in Sports and Entertainment Management from University of South Carolina. ×

Q&A With Chair-Elect of Youth Leadership,
Shanita Akindonde

Q: What are you looking forward to as Chair of Youth Leadership MIG?
I am thrilled beyond measure to serve as chair-elect (2018) and chair (2019) of Youth Leadership MIG. I look forward to working with like-minded colleagues to identify the best ways to create pathways for the next generation of leaders to follow.

Q: What new goals do you have for the year as chair?
I plan to ask more questions than provide answers during my tenure as Chair Elect. From there I will formalize a strategic plan which I will roll out at the beginning of my term in 2019. It will definitely generate buzz and excitement!

Q: Why is the Youth Leadership MIG important?
The Youth Leadership MIG is not only important, it is ESSENTIAL. Any organization or entity that wants to ensure longevity must have a plan to 'pay things forward' and create a succession plan for the next generation to follow.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing leadership right now?
One of the biggest challenges facing leadership right now is the absence of presence. Leaders must be FULLY present--engaged, concerned, and cognizant of the needs and wants of those they are charged to lead. In other words, they must first understand before seeking to be understood.

Q: What's the best leadership oriented book you read for the first time last year?
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek was at the top of my book list last year.

Q: What is your favorite movie for illustrating leadership concepts?
One of my favorite movies for illustrating leadership concepts is a bit unconventional (like me). It's Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer. I loved it as kid growing up and appreciated it even more when I shared it with my two sons when they were little. I appreciate the way Rudolph took something that began as a disadvantage, something that caused him a great deal of shame and ridicule and turned it into the ultimate advantage that saved the day. That's what a true leader does in my book. ×

About Stephanie Van Dellen

Stephanie Van Dellen is a PhD candidate at the University of San Diego, where she educates future leaders and contributes to scholarship in organizational behavior to enhance the capabilities of those in our society. Her research interests include engagement, leadership, and culture. Stephanie also holds a Master's degree in Organizational Change and Development from the University of Manchester, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.

Stephanie actively attends conferences and presents her work for organizations such as, International Leadership Association, Academy of Management, and Western Academy of Management. She also volunteers for Alpha Kappa Psi, the co-educational business fraternity that focuses on developing principled business leaders. Prior to pursing a doctoral degree, Stephanie worked for three years in human resources and recruiting in southern California and the Bay Area. Stephanie's experience traveling to twenty-five countries, three of which she has lived in, enhances her ability to communicate and foster inclusivity. She has also holds the Global Mindset Indicator Certification and was part of the team that created the Cultural Mindset Project. ×


Shanita Akintonde is an award-winning professor, author and firecracker communicator propelled by love. Born in Stuttgart, West Germany and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Shanita draws on her experience in the fields of education, business, leadership and media when engaging audiences around the globe. When not managing her role as a faculty member and administrative leader at Columbia College Chicago where she has taught for the past 18 years, Shanita loves three things: 1) Books 2)Bracelets and 3) Brunch with the girls!! Since graduating from high school at 16, this first-generation college graduate has earned three college degrees, with a fourth on the way. She tells her story of turning challenges into triumphs around the globe as a professional speaker, business consultant and an author (she is currently working on her second book). A servant leader who donates her time, talent and 'tithes' to numeorus philanthropic organizations, Shanita is often recognized by her professional peers and civic-minded colleagues. and has been named as a 2017 Women in Excellence honoree by The Chicago Defender. Other recent honors include Excellence in Education, National Council of Negro Women(2016); #RedefinePossible Women's Leadership Award, The Chicago Sky WNBA Team (2016); and Woman of The Year, Metropolitan Club Chicago (2014). She and her husband and college sweetheart Jimmy, president/CEO of UJAMAA Construction, Inc. recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. They are the proud parents of two sons, Jimi, 21, an engineering student former captain of the Whitney Young High School championship chess team and Anthony, 17, a pre-engineering student at Jones College Prep high school. She credits her sons with keeping her abreast of issues of importance to young adults. ×