As we do each year, the Learning Guild is looking for the best and brightest young learning and development professionals for our Thirty Under 30 cohort. These young leaders (and future leaders!) show their skill and passion through their contributions within their organizations or to local L&D professional groups and chapters, through presentations at events, and through awards and recognition received.

Thriving organizations need strong leadership pipelines, and nurturing promising young L&D professionals is one element of building those pipelines. As those leaders grow within the L&D role, they’ll be responsible for ensuring that young leaders continue to progress through the pipeline—and have a hand in creating future leadership development programs.

But the reasons for celebrating and nurturing up-and-coming leaders aren’t all related to strengthening the L&D bench. Young leaders across departments bring advantages and strengths, such as:

  • A bridge to younger workers. As members of the same age cohorts that many employers turn to when recruiting employees, young leaders can share insights into what younger workers may value and seek in an employer or work culture
  • Openness to change and innovation. A Forbes study found that younger leaders had the courage to make difficult changes and to strive for continuous improvement, including challenging the “status quo.”
  • Tuned in to current and future needs. A Harvard Business Publishing study said that younger leaders “have different expectations of leadership development when it comes to technology, relevance, and choice.”

Younger leaders in the HBP study were willing to call out what they perceived as misalignment between development content and the business issues they were facing in their organizations and more likely to urge technology innovation than older leaders.

Young leaders are already driving change

Developing future leaders is critical as organizations rebuild leadership pipelines depleted by the pandemic, the wave of Baby Boomer retirements, and more. And as organizations struggle to achieve greater diversity and inclusiveness, younger leaders can help.

Entrepreneur Desiree Peterkin Bell told Forbes that young leaders know that they need to make themselves uncomfortable to make an impact—and are willing to do it. They also understand that intersectionality is essential to change, understand the difference between expressing support and taking action—and recognize the difference they can make with small day-to-day actions.

Apply—or encourage someone to apply—today!

If you’ll be under age 30 on December 4, 2023 and are a passionate, accomplished L&D professional, apply for the Thirty Under 30 program today! (Applications close on July 14, 2023.) If you don’t meet the criteria but you know or work with someone who does, encourage them to apply!

Members of this year’s cohort will enjoy a special program, along with the opportunity to participate in Learning 2023 sessions and activities. They’ll also participate in a full year of Thirty Under 30 programming online, and join a network of participants and alumni that will benefit them throughout their careers.

We welcome applicants from anywhere in the world, but applying indicates willingness to attend and participate in the Learning 2023 Conference in Orlando, Florida, December 4–7, 2023.