Social impact
min read

5 Gen Z changemakers driving change for their peers

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
April 25, 2023
Last updated
January 22, 2024

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A huge part of our mission is to give young people a voice – and with 74% of Gen Z describing themselves as activists, it’s clear they’re ready to be heard. 

In this blog post we showcase some of the incredible Gen Zers that will be taking to our Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) event stage on 7th - 8th June in London.  They share what inspired them, how they’re driving change for their peers and how they want to make an impact on society today.

Fanny Beckman (she/her), Photographer/Prince's Trust Ambassador

Fanny Beckman is a London-based portrait photographer and Prince's Trust ambassador. Her work focuses on highlighting social injustice from a feminist perspective. She will be joining our Gen Z panel ‘Ask Us Anything’ on day two of YMS, where the audience can put their burning questions to our panel of outspoken young people. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the causes that you are most passionate about…

“I am a portrait photographer and public speaker focusing on raising awareness of social injustice, mainly from a feminist perspective. 

I work with both fine art projects and commercially. I have exhibited series about domestic abuse, beauty standards and  marginalised people’s (un)safety in the public sphere. Commercially, I work with companies who share my values around equality and sustainability, such as Canva, King’s College and the Prince’s Trust. Together we bring visibility for people with disabilities, highlight gender imbalance within male dominated sectors and question the male gaze.”

Do you feel there is pressure on your generation of young people to 'change the world'?

“There is definitely a need to change the world and the society we live in. I feel a responsibility to do the best I can myself, but wouldn’t necessarily call it pressure. 

There were many people who fought historically for the rights we have today, and it’s our generation’s responsibility to take it to the next stage. We owe it to the people before us.” 

What one thing would you like brands to do to support the causes young people care about the most?

“Invite us to the tables, don’t talk over our heads and discuss what “young people want to do”. Let us speak. Create action and develop strategies to try to work in the direction discussed. Consider inclusive language and diverse marketing to reach different voices.” 

What lasting legacy do you hope to create?

“I want to highlight marginalised people’s stories and show how we can use art as a tool to question norms and power hierarchies. Within my lifetime, I want objectification of women in the media to be a memory and not the present. I want people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to be able to see themselves represented in mainstream visual media and I want us all to feel safer talking about our mental health openly, regardless of gender.”

Lateefah Arewa (she/her), BFS Alumni 2022 and Diageo Global Account Executive at PHD Global

Lateefah Arewa is an Alumni at the Brixton Finishing School and will be joining Ally Owen, Founder of the Brixton Finishing School on stage for a session to shed light into the future of the marketing and creative industry.

​​Tell us a little bit about yourself and the causes that you are most passionate about. 

“Born in London, half Dominican and Nigerian; and South Africa raised me. I enjoy going to alternative music gigs and lectures on environmentalism and psychology - and I speak Chinese. I aim to excel in the marketing, communications, and advertising sectors in order to learn and solidify what it means to be sustainable and to develop sustainable work practices. 

Additionally, I am passionate about raising awareness of ADHD in the workplace. I am also not afraid to address controversial topics and to empower others through education.” 

Do you feel there is pressure on your generation of young people to 'change the world'? 

No. I know I’m not going to change the world, but I know that I need to pave the way for the change makers. We can’t change the world now. But we can change ourselves, and we can influence others through our craft and passions”. 

What one thing would you like brands to do to support the causes young people care about the most? 

“Four words: HAND OVER THE MIC. We need your expertise, but you need to give us the floor. I believe that it is important for brands to not only talk about sustainability and social causes, but to actually take action and make changes within their own operations to support these causes. This includes reducing their environmental impact, supporting fair labour practices, and giving back to their communities and others.” 

What lasting legacy do you hope to create?
That people will think of a time I made them happy.”

Ife Obasa (she/her), Student and LinkedIn Content Creator

Ife Obasa is a former Council Member for the British Youth Council and currently works with several companies to develop education initiatives within schools. 

Powerlist Magazine has also recognised Ife as a Top 150 UK Future Leader. Ife will be joining a panel of young female digital natives on the Social Media Track at YMS on how to leverage culture trends to connect with under-represented Gen Z audiences on social media.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the causes that you are most passionate about?

“I am a law student currently on a placement year that will be ending in June. Outside of my aspiration to become a commercial solicitor, I have an avid interest in empowering young people, using my voice to activate change, and seeing young people occupy seats at decision-making tables. 

I have had first-hand experience representing young people in various leadership positions, which exposed the reality that there are not enough young people being invited to sit and speak on matters that concern them in these influential places.

The causes that I am most passionate about are seeing employers invest in young talent earlier(for instance at the primary school level), institutions acknowledging young people's value and including them in the decision-making process, and ensuring every young person is empowered to fulfil their purpose.”

Do you feel there is pressure on your generation of young people to ‘change the world’?
“I would not necessarily say there is a pressure; I do think there is an unspoken assumption that young people have been equipped with the tools that automatically propel them to change the world. If I am honest, I sincerely believe every young person is loaded with value. Every young person has a unique selling point that, if activated and showcased, can truly change the world. Sometimes a mixture of fear, lack of confidence, or not knowing the right people can cause young people to rule themselves out. There should not be pressure on young people to change the world; instead, there should be a vested interest in seeing them reach their full potential.”

What one thing would you like brands to do to support the causes young people care about the most?

“Meet young people where they are. I have started seeing an increase in brands investing in young people by utilising the expertise of young influencers, running relatable social media campaigns, and organising youth-led focus groups. However, one thing brands can do to support the causes that matter most to young people is by listening to and learning from them, then collaborating with them to make the cause more visible.”

 What lasting legacy do you hope to create?

“Whatever my age or stage in life, I have a burden to see young people reach their potential, and that will always be at the top of my legacy goals. I want to inspire others to authentically occupy space and bring about change in the fields they are passionate about, and I want to see other young people like me in leadership roles in positions of power.”

Lou Millar-MacHugh (they/he), Web and Product Designer, Reuser

Lou is dedicated to creating meaningful and impactful user experiences that solve real-world problems, joining a panel on the Future of Work Track at YMS all about how to attract, engage and retain Gen Z talent.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the causes that you are most passionate about
“I’ve recently graduated with a degree in Digital Media and Interaction Design, and I’ve had lots of exciting work opportunities alongside that. My passion for creating positive change has always been a driving force in my work, and I take pride in applying this mindset to every project. I’m also transgender, and I’m from Glasgow, so being able to use my skills to create positive change for those communities is always my top priority.”

Do you feel there is pressure on your generation of young people to 'change the world'?
Absolutely, there is no doubt that our generation of young people is expected to make a difference in the world. Thanks to social media, we are more aware than ever before of people and causes around the globe, and this has raised our social consciousness. It's crucial to keep in mind that changing the world doesn't necessarily mean making sweeping, worldwide changes - even minor actions can have a significant impact.”

What one thing would you like brands to do to support the causes young people care about the most?
“To me, the most important aspect of a brand is its commitment to safe workplaces. Supporting progressive causes means nothing if the workplace isn't safe. As a transgender individual, I value small gestures that support trans people, such as having sanitary bins in men's bathrooms. It may seem trivial, but it makes a huge difference and is often overlooked in conversations about inclusivity.”

What lasting legacy do you hope to create?
As opportunities in the tech sector continue to grow in the UK, it is important to ensure that it does not become centralised solely in London, or in England. It should be possible for young people to stay in their hometowns while also pursuing exciting opportunities. For me, this means advocating for part-time and internship opportunities to be made available to university and college students in Scotland.”

Supercharge your marketing strategy and join us at YMS, where we’ll be returning to London to unite the youth marketing community, share relevant industry news, platform the most inspiring speakers and share the freshest insights. Make sure you secure your tickets today!

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