Gen-Z Takeover: This 21-Year-Old CEO Aims to Change the Startup World

Ziad Ahmed helps brands like Jansport authentically engage with Gen-Z audiences and "tell stories that aren't being told."
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Ziad Ahmed didn’t exactly have a grand vision when he launched Redefy, a social media platform that’s grown into an organization empowering schools and communities to be more inclusive and combat discrimination. He was just a kid of 14, from an American Muslim household, feeling misunderstood.  

“It was born out of looking around my school hallways and seeing how many of us felt stereotyped or pigeonholed or misunderstood,” said Ahmed, now a 21-year-old senior at Yale. “I felt really compelled to create the space for us to talk about these things because they matter and they were impacting us every single day. So, we created a platform to defy stereotypes, to create an active community, and embrace in acceptance and tolerance.”

The platform for and by teens caught on fast, and soon Ahmed was meeting with politicians, industry leaders, journalists, and other policymakers, which led to campaigns and conferences and workshops for students to build inclusive communities and schools.

Now he’s extended his social change-making to the world of marketing, as CEO and founder of JUV Consulting, working with big-brand clients like Jansport, to authentically and powerfully engage with young, Gen-Z audiences and “tell stories that aren't being told right now,” Ahmed said. “We get to shift the way that the decision makers of our time in so many ways think about the world.”