Kahlil Greene is the first Black student body president in Yale University’s 318-year history. The self-described Gen Z historian and online educator has over 500,000 followers on Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, and is the author of op-eds that have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the Harvard Business Review. He was recently profiled by The New York Times. At Yale, he studies the history of social change and social movements.
Greene will take part in the Newhouse School’s Leaders in Communications speaker series Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. ET in a virtual event hosted by Melissa Chessher, interim associate dean of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA).
We sat down with Greene to get his thoughts on leadership, public discourse and what the future holds for his generation.
How do you define leadership? What are the essential qualities of a leader, particularly for members of your generation?
I would define leadership as the ability to organize people to accomplish a specific goal. Leaders need to be inspiring, visionary, tenacious and charismatic.
How has/will Gen Z influence(d) the conversation about and actions around IDEA issues?
We add an extra layer of nuance to IDEA conversations by bringing in topics, such as intersectionality, which have only just became mainstream.
What are the biggest threats and the biggest opportunities facing Gen Z?
The biggest threats facing Gen Z are the ones that are breaking down our society, like climate change, social and economic inequality and political conflict. The biggest opportunities are the creative ways in which we are using innovations like social media and the internet to combat these issues.
Leaders in Communications
Leaders in Communications is a monthly speaker series that brings media leaders, influencers and newsmakers to the Newhouse School for candid and insightful conversations with students and other guests. With a special emphasis on current trends and challenges, the series helps students keep apace of a quickly changing communications industry and provides them with a connection to the professions they will eventually lead. The series also offers valuable networking and learning opportunities, as guests visit classrooms or student organizations in addition to participating in the public conversation. The series is supported by the Hearst Speakers Fund.