An Interview with Chairman Wendell Mosby of Chicago’s Young & Powerful
It was a snowy Sunday afternoon on the south side of Chicago when Friends of Wendell Mosby and members of Chicago’s Young and Powerful gathered for brunch this time last year. Chairman Wendell Mosby organized the first Chicago Young & Powerful Action Brunch of 2014 to encourage grassroots leaders to take “ACTION NOW” in their wards and districts.
2014 marked the start of an intense two-year election cycle. Chicago Young & Powerful (CYP) Political Action Committee is ready for “what’s next” once all of the protesting and demonstrations are over. To kick-off the election season, Y&P PAC will host their annual Young & Powerful Action Brunch on Martin Luther King Day 2015 at The Game in Bronzeville on 43rd & Prairie.
Brunchers are in for a special treat. CYP will release Volume Two of the Action Now Chicago Toolkit. CYP states, via their website, that “The toolkit provides some simple steps on how to impact public policy on the local, state or national level.”#YPActionBrunch keynote speaker is business and marketing guru Cynthia Boykin, founder of WhatUNeedIs.com. Known as Chicago’s “Master Networker,” Cynthia skillfully connects businesses and entrepreneurs with over 56,000 new customers via digital media.
Considering Wendell’s acumen and Cynthia’s influence, attendees should take note at this critical juncture in local, state, and national politics. With the release of Chicago’s Young & Powerful Action Now Toolkit 2.0, Cynthia and Wendell will facilitate an action-centered dialogue on how to continue the the demonstrations using legislation and the inherent power in relationships. As we prepare to come together in celebration, we share a conversation with Chairman Mosby.
Wendell is no stranger to the inside world of politics. Among his many positions of influence, Wendell serves as the Chicago Chair of the Young & Powerful Group, Illinois State Director of the Young Elected Official Network, and one of the youngest Trustees in the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.
The Black Excellence Project caught up with millennial leader, Wendell Mosby, to gain insight on what it takes to become Chicago’s young and powerful.
BXP: When did you know you wanted to be a public servant?
WENDELL MOSBY: I wouldn’t say I knew I wanted to be a public servant. I was taught to get involved. My family and I were active in our community. My mother managed a not for profit on the east side of Chicago Heights. I did community work and activism when I was growing up. I had my first taste of leadership when I was elected to my high school Student Council.
BX: What did serving on Student Council teach you about leadership?
WM: It taught me to get involved for purpose. I never wanted to be a hypocrite—or one of those people who would talk the talk, but not walk it. Politics is people centered. Political Science may train our future politicians but it is mostly teaching students political acumen and history. Real leadership is servant leadership.
BX: What would you classify as the best form of involvement?
WM: Pursuing leadership roles are a great form of involvement. However, let’s not discount the importance of advocacy and volunteering in your community, on committees, and with organizations like Chicago’s Young & Powerful. Involvement is not about electing officials or being elected.
BX: What does it mean to be one of Chicago’s Young & Powerful?
WM: CYP is a premiere leadership organization for young black and brown professionals interested in building platforms to power. Being Young & Powerful is about making high level impact happen. Selflessly, I help build emerging leaders through concrete formal training and connecting them to the network. For example, during the 2008/2012 presidential races, we fundraised $300k in support of President Obama’s campaign. We put our influence behind a candidate we believed could respond organically to our community needs.
BX: What is your “dream” for the ACTION NOW DIY Toolkit?
WM: My dream is to inspire those who are pissed off enough to stop ranting and start acting on issues like voter suppression. My vision is to share legislation or information with ordinary citizens who apply these basic skills to lobby their representatives on issues or causes they are passionate about. In this toolkit, Volume One was designed for young people to help get them back to the basics of civics. Volume Two, which is in development now, will be designed for ex-offenders.
BX: We always hear about “paid lobbyists.” How can volunteer lobbyists get paid?
WM: It’s a cut and dry process. The lobbying profession requires a professional license which could run upwards $300. Although no formal education or professional experience is required, an ethics exam must be taken before you are licensed. Those interested in career lobbying should definitely seek exposure and more information.
BX: Thank you so much Wendell for your service to our global community and sharing your expertise. Do you have any words of advice or morsels of wisdom for Black Excellence Stars on the rise?
WM: Thank you! I am always available and receptive to up and coming leaders who wish to get involved. We put a lot of thought into the ACTION NOW DIY Toolkit and welcome any feedback and recommendations. For the most part, my words of wisdom are GET INVOLVED! Stand for something and then advocate for your beliefs. Finally, encourage others to chase after issues that impact their lives.