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Critical Thinking.

Interpersonal Communication. 


Relationship Development.

What a Leader (W.A.L.) is an exciting new training curriculum and youth competition offered by Jacksonville Arts & Music School (JAMS). W.A.L. officially launched in 2021 to promote early professional development. The program allows students to learn and participate in real-world activities enriched with challenges that cultivate essential leadership skills.

Research by The Center for American Progress reveals that 77% of corporations experienced leadership voids in 2019 alone. Gallup estimated that the lack of leadership capability costs U.S. corporations up to $550 billion annually. W.A.L. aims to address this significant opportunity gap by facilitating youth and young adult centered introductions to effective stewardship.

" I have been more social with others and interested in others' personal stories. I have learned and used the confident 5."


- Journey 7th grade participant


of businesses had difficulty finding

qualified applicants who had strong leadership skills


of businesses had difficulty finding qualified applicants who had strong communication skills


of businesses had difficulty finding qualified applicants who had strong critical thinking & problem solving skills


What A Leader shares in educating students by providing intentional strategies through co-curricular involvement. Emphasis on public policy, urban development, entrepreneurship, media, arts, and technology allows for intersecting discussions of creative and critical thought. Each training module assesses individuals' understanding of core leadership skills while encouraging them to challenge traditional norms.


What A Leader offers support in five core areas: confidence, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, professionalism, and relationship development. We believe any student can maximize their talent, skill, and leadership potential with cultivation, collective accountability, and encouragement. A strategic focus on collaborating with the community, organizations, and businesses helps to develop sustainable relationships between youth and prominent leaders from both public and private sectors to establish this ecosystem.



Linda Watkins

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Ready to join in with developing young leaders?

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