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The dawning of 2022 means a fresh opportunity to plan your best events yet, to give your audience even more unforgettable moments and experiences. Every year, the dynamic community of talented speakers within our industry grows and evolves.
Right now, there are so many talented young speakers bursting onto the scene, while others are building on their success of 2021. Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying emerging talent in the speaking world allows you to bring the very best talent to your events and give audiences unforgettable experiences.
The impressive careers these speakers are building and all they have accomplished at such a young age make them inspiring and impressive to audiences of all kinds. Meet the amazing young speakers to watch in 2022.
Bright young minds taking tech by storm:
Capturing all that makes Gitanjali Rao exceptional is a tough task. Where to start? She’s created multiple inventions that aim to improve the quality of life for her fellow humans, including “Tethys,” an early lead detections tool, “Epione,” a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and “Kindly,” an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.
She’s racked up an impressive list of awards and honors, including Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” as well as TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” and “Kid of the Year.” She conducts STEM workshops globally, inspiring countless other students to take up an interest in innovation and science.
Samaira Mehta is one of the world’s leading young voices in technology. Mehta invented “CoderBunnyz,” a board game that simplifies complex coding concepts and teaches them through a fun farmyard adventure. She is the founder of “CoderMindz,” the world’s first-ever Artificial Intelligence board game that simplifies the intricacies of how AI works, as well as “CoderMarz,” which brings together her love for coding and AI with her interest in outer space and Mars. Partial proceeds from her professional speaking engagements go to Samaira’s STEM nonprofit organization, “Yes, One Billion Kids Can Code.“
She’s been featured on platforms like Vogue, CNBC, CNET, Business Insider, Today Show, UN Women, and Washington Post, and has been a speaker at over 100 conferences nationwide and internationally, including MWC’19, C2 Montreal, and corporations like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, SAP, Walmart, and IBM.
Gifted creators leaving their mark:
The term “child prodigy” has the tendency to paint the picture of an individual whose sheer talent alone has fueled their success. Tyler Gordon is a shining example of a young phenom whose path to prominence was paved with both artistic gifts and extraordinary willpower.
Growing up amidst challenges like deafness, a vitamin deficiency that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound, and a severe stutter that led to bullying, Gordon discovered an artistic outlet that allowed him to rise above it all. He has honed his painting skills and put them on public display. His portrait of Vice President Kamala Harris went viral and garnered a call from the VP herself. His work has been featured in a host of prestigious galleries.
Moziah Bridges has built an impressive brand – Mo’s Bows – that’s all about making people feel their best. Many of his handcrafted bow ties, neckties, pocket squares, and even face masks are named based on the feeling they evoke: “Feeling Fresh,” “Feeling Grand,” and “Feeling Groovy,” to name a few.
Bridges’ colorful, handmade ties have made an impression on major networks since Mo’s Bows debuted. He’s appeared on The Steve Harvey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20, CBS This Morning, the Disney Channel, and the hit ABC show Shark Tank. He not only served as the fashion correspondent for the 2015 NBA Draft but was also twice on Time’s list of “30 Most Influential Teens.” His impressive business acumen, passion, and creativity at a young age are an inspiration to other aspiring entrepreneurs.
Unwavering activists challenging the status quo:
In recent years, discussions around diversity have been expanded to include LGBTQ+ rights, and Jazz Jennings is one of the young speakers leading the conversation. Jennings, a transgender woman, is notable for being one of the youngest publicly documented people to be identified as transgender, and for being the youngest person to become a national transgender figure.
Jennings hosts a series of YouTube videos about her life, titled “I Am Jazz”, and stars in the TLC reality TV series, “I Am Jazz”, which focuses on her life with her family as a teenager and as a transgender youth. In 2016, Jennings published a memoir, “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen”. She started attending Harvard University in 2019. In 2022, Jennings will continue to share powerful and important messages around LGBTQ+ rights. If you’re considering events around these topics in 2022, she should be at the top of your list.
Jamie Margolin is a 20-year-old Jewish Colombian-American organizer, activist, author, public speaker, and filmmaker. She is co-founder of the international youth climate justice movement called Zero Hour that led the official “Youth Climate Marches” in Washington, DC and 25+ cities around the world during the summer of 2018. Jamie’s the author of a book called “Youth To Power: Your Voice and How to Use It,” serves as a guide to organizing and activism.
Jamie is also a plaintiff in the Our Children’s Trust Youth v. Gov Washington state lawsuit, “Aji P. vs. State of Washington,” suing the state of Washington for denying her generation their constitutional rights to a livable environment by worsening the climate crisis, which continues to be a leading policy issue for the foreseeable future. Jamie’s powerful voice will continue to make waves, as she continues to carry the banner of climate justice in 2022.
Yara Shahidi is an award-winning actress, producer, change agent, and breakout star of ABC’s critically acclaimed series “black-ish.” Her on-screen accomplishments have earned her the label of one of Hollywood’s most heralded young talents. Off-screen, she is proving to be an influential advocate with a deep passion for BIPOC inclusion in the political process.
Shahidi has received numerous accolades for her work outside of entertainment, such as TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential Teens, Forbes 30 Under 30, British Vogue Forces for Change, Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year, and Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood. As DEI continues to be a high-demand speaking topic for events in 2022, Shahidi is one of the young speakers to watch — both on-screen and off.
She’s not quitting until she walks on Mars:
Alyssa Carson is an astrobiology student with a huge goal: being selected for future human spaceflight to Mars. She’s been making big moves to make that dream come true. Carson has her rocket license, advanced scuba certification, pilot license, skydiving class A license, and is a certified aquanaut — all by the age of 20!
Inspired from a young age to pursue a career in space travel, Carson is a role model for young women with similar dreams. She was the first to visit all 14 NASA visitor centers in the US and has kept her sights set on being involved in future missions to Mars. As NASA and private-sector space travel ventures continue to make leaps and bounds towards a mission to Mars, Alyssa is poised to be one of the top voices around this effort in 2022.
After the past two years, we’re all ready for a fresh start and hoping for a brighter future. As you look ahead to your events in 2022, these talented young speakers can bring a much-needed sense of optimism, dare us to ask tough questions, and inspire us with their commitment to making the world a better place. By all accounts, they could be just what attendees need right now.