Where Are They Now? YMS Alumni Edition

Okay, okay, we’ll say it: at YMS and Voxburner, we’re pretty good at being ahead of the curve. And not just in terms of trends – we’ve also platformed some of the biggest and brightest names out there. From superstar entrepreneur and Dragon Steven Bartlett to Gen Z’s favourite period influencer Nadya Okamoto, YMS has been there from the very beginning.

So if you’re heading to YMS this year, or you just need more of a reason to come and join us at the world’s leading youth marketing event, check out the list of our alumni below. Who knows where 2022’s speakers will be in 5 years’ time…

Liv Little 

Liv is the founder and creator of gal-dem, a new media publication that tells the stories of people of colour and those from marginalised genders, and joined us way back in 2018 at YMS LDN, where she spoke on diversity in the industry. 

Now

Covering everything from culture to music to politics, gal-dem has a strong team of just under 15 who write and edit freelanced work. The online and print magazine prioritises addressing inequality and misrepresentation in the industry through platforming creatives. 

Liv Little was included in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020. 

Martha Collison

Martha rose to fame on our TV screens thanks to every Brit’s favourite show, The Great British Bake Off. Martha made history as the show’s youngest ever baker (at the age of 17), and made it to the quarter-final of the fifth series. Martha spoke in 2018 on our ‘The kids that are changing the world’ panel. 

Now

Martha now has a weekly column for Waitrose Weekend, has published two cookery books and has demonstrated her baking skills at a number of high profile events. She was even the official afternoon tea consultant for Wimbledon! What a job. 

Steven Bartlett

Speaker, investor, entrepreneur and now BBC Dragon, Steven Bartlett really does it all. Steven was first involved with YMS in 2015, thanks to his newly formed business, Social Chain. Speaking then about ‘The Kids Who Decide What All The Other Kids Talk About’, he and/or other members of the Social Chain team have joined us on the YMS stages at London, New York or San Francisco nearly every year since. 

Now

Steven is a world-renowned name in the marketing world, and his book Happy Sexy Millionaire and podcast Diary of a CEO are a hit with anyone and everyone, including Gen Z. Steven also recently made history by becoming the youngest ever Dragon on the BBC’s hit show, Dragon’s Den. 

Steven was included in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020.

Emma Gannon

Emma Gannon is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an award-winning podcaster, novelist, publisher… we could go on! Emma spoke on our ‘The rise of the female powerhouse and how to access this fierce demographic’ panel in 2017 at YMS LDN. 

Now

Emma’s podcast, Ctrl Alt Delete, is career-focused, but not in a traditional way; it focuses on work, wellbeing and creativity and has featured guests such as Jacqueline Wilson, Gillian Anderson and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas. Oh, and it’s also got a hefty 10 million downloads (and counting). 

Emma was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018 and is an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and World Literacy Foundation. 

Saeed Atcha MBE DL

Way back in 2017, when he had recently set up Xplode magazines, Saeed spoke on a tech-focused youth panel at YMS LDN. 

Now

Saeed has a powerful story and has used this to inspire his current path. Today, Saeed is CEO of the charity organisation Youth Leads UK, which gives young people real work experiences and helps them to develop their life skills. 

Saeed supports youth organisations, advises other charities and non-profits and shares his story to inspire others. 

Saeed was appointed MBE and Deputy Lieutenant in 2019. 

Elizabeth Uviebinene

Elizabeth spoke at YMS in 2019, where she delivered an inspiring talk on the side hustle mindset of young people and shared her own personal journey that inspired her to write her debut novel, Slay In Your Lane. 

Now

Elizabeth is now a multi-award-winning author and columnist for the Financial Times. Elizabeth has published five books so far, and her debut Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible was a huge success. Elizabeth currently developing an investigative documentary which explores the rise and fall of the infamous millennial ‘girl boss’. 

Elizabeth was named as one of Ad Age’s 2021 Leading Women in Europe.

Nadya Okamoto

Nadya has been a long-standing friend of YMS, and first appeared on a Gen Z panel back in 2018. More recently she’s spoken on behalf of her own organisation, August, and has shared her inspiring personal story and the importance of eradicating period poverty. 

Now

Gen Zer Nadya Okamoto is a bit of a TikTok sensation – her empowering videos gain thousands of views and likes from Gen Zers across the platform, all thanks to an unashamed and honest approach to menstruation. 

Nadya founded the sustainable period care brand August in 2020, and the brand champions sustainability in the sector. She also founded the non-profit PERIOD (a global movement that fights to end period poverty and stigma), wrote PERIOD POWER and is the host of the Tigress podcast.

Nadiya has been recognised on the lists of Forbes 30 under 30, Bloomberg 50 ‘Ones to Watch’ and People Magazine’s Women Changing the World.

Krissy Cela

Ah, 2020. The year that YMS took to the virtual stage thanks to *you know what*. Krissy joined us for YMS:ONLINE to talk about the growth of her fitness app, Tone & Sculpt, as well as Gen Z’s changing fitness habits and engagement with gym brands across the pandemic. She also hosted an online workout energizer for the audience. 

Now

Tone & Sculpt aims to empower women across the world to achieve their fitness goals and grow in confidence. Krissy is a coach, athlete, fitness guru and entrepreneur… and it all started when she filmed herself working out a few years ago because she thought she was doing it wrong! 

Krissy is also the founder and CEO of Oner Active, a fitness apparel provider that launched in September 2020. 

Deja Foxx

Deja spoke about activism, intersectionality and the power of Gen Z when she was just 18. More specifically, Deja shared her story of adversity, activism and the academics of how her intersectional experiences helped her in mobilizing and realizing the power of Gen Z. 

Now

Deja is an activist, influencer and strategist, and is a name everyone should know. 

In 2019, Deja founded Gen Z Girl Gang, an organisation that ‘redefines sisterhood for a new generation’. Their campaigns include community events, mentorship opportunities and informational digital content, all as a way of encouraging and helping womxn and femmes support one another. 

At the age of 19, Deja worked for Kamala Harris as the Influencer and Surrogate Strategist… and became one of the youngest presidential campaign staffers in modern history. 

Deja was named a Teen Vogue 21 Under 21.

Leon Logothetis

TV host, author, philanthropist, and all-round good guy, Leon travels to globe to highlight the good in humanity. Leon spoke at one of our events back in 2017 on the power of human connection.

Now

Leon aims to inspire the world through his messages of kindness and hope. His Discovery+ series ‘The Kindness Diaries’ is a great example of this – the series involved him circumnavigating the globe on his vintage yellow motorbike (‘Kindness One’) and giving life-changing gifts to unsuspecting good samaritans along the way. 

Like what you see? Come and join us at our upcoming YMS events in LA, NYC and London. Inspire your teams and empower your Gen Z audiences today!

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