An #upfront conversation with Leila Willingham

My name is Leila Willingham and I'm a 16 year old with big dreams. I'm the founder of DigiPigz; a business that bridges the gap between Generation Z and businesses. I was #upfront wth Lauren at Silicon Beached and I'm here to share my story with you. 

As a member of Generation Z, the era of digital natives, I feel it is vital that our new technological talents and instincts are recognised. We are changing the way business works with our extraordinary way of living - we live with one hand superglued to our phones at all times. I'm a true believer in the potential of young people and get angry at the way our media often brands us as lazy and tech-obsessed.  Not only this, but as we see a diverse group of extremely talented young people enter the world of work, it is so important that we make sure all genders, race and ethnicities feel welcome.

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I want to shout about these ideas!  However making my voice heard has always felt like an impossible task. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a bunch of people almost twice your age and say how you feel. What if they don’t agree with me? What if they don’t take me seriously? Speaking out is a daunting process but #upfront gave me the opportunity to sound my ideas and my worries for my generation as we look into the future. It provided a secure and humble environment where I felt comfortable to be myself and say what I truly meant. 

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This whole experience gave me the confidence and reassurance that with a little bit of courage, anything can happen and one should never be afraid to speak out, because if no one does then who will. 

I was also inspired by Lauren's vision for #upfront encouraging and inspiring other people like me and of my age to be #upfront and conquer their fears. 

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Deciding to be #upfront was one of the best choices I have ever made. Recently my school entered a public speaking competition. The skills I had developed by being #upfront at Silicon Beached helped me come second in the South West Finals. I am so keen to see more people up on the stage taking the #upfront approach and take to the stage and be #upfront about their hopes or fears.

If you'd like to talk to me about being #upfront, my ideas and your ideas please tweet me!