Philip Koenig started his nonprofit, Leading Miami, in 2009, when he was in high school. Three years, 300 workshops and 600 middle school students later, he shares his formula for teaching leadership at TEDxFIU.

philip koenig tedxfiu leading miami

Being engaged and feeling empowered can motivate any adult to new heights. Those same keys in the hands of a 12-year-old – or hundreds of 12-year-olds – have the power to change a city and more.

His five-part curriculum is familiar – it is not only what he teaches, but it is how he got to this point in the first place. Every step he teaches is one he’s been through before, whether or not he was conscious of it at the time.

Koenig’s favorite part of the program is the small-scale project that allows students to “ignite their passion,” as Koenig puts it. Passion projects that students have taken on so far include re-launching a defunct after-school arts program and initiating a school-wide recycling effort.

Some leaders may be born, but Leading Miami shows that leadership can also be learned.


Watch his full talk below: