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Dr. Leen Kawas Highlights Young Leaders’ Positive Impacts and Discusses Leadership Diversity

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An organization’s leadership largely defines the path for the company’s growth. In any industry, forward-thinking leaders often spearhead notable innovations and drive beneficial efficiencies. They leave no stone unturned while pursuing the firm’s overarching mission.

Many companies continue to evolve their leadership teams. As senior leaders continue to retire, younger managers and executives are stepping up to take the reins. This dynamic trend is repeating itself throughout the global marketplace.

Dr. Leen Kawas’ Perspective

Leen Kawas, Ph. D. is Propel Bio Partners’ Managing General Partner. This Los Angeles-based biotechnology venture capital firm partners with start-up and early-stage biotech companies. Many biotech businesses are bringing younger leaders into the fold. This trend offers Dr. Kawas an opportunity to share her technical expertise and business acumen.

Overall, Dr. Leen Kawas takes a favorable view of this upcoming generation’s capabilities and potential impact. Dr. Kawas is also aware that female leaders (and aspiring leaders) receive fewer such opportunities compared to similarly qualified men. She offers three concrete solutions to this widespread problem.

Young Leaders Bring 3 Key Benefits to the Global Marketplace

A company’s young leaders deliver multiple benefits that can help enhance the firm’s competitive position. Dr. Leen Kawas highlights three advantages that young executives bring to the table.

Knowledge of Emerging Trends and Markets

Young leaders frequently have their finger on the pulse of next-generation workplace and cultural trends. Organizations with younger demographic target markets, and with young executives on board, can better understand the audience served by the firm’s products or services.

Innovation and Fresh Ideas

Companies with longstanding policies and practices may not be receptive to doing things differently. In contrast, firms with a younger leadership culture are not afraid to question assumptions and suggest “out of the box” solutions. The young leaders’ strong command of technology frequently enables them to lead talented teams working on next-level innovations.

Positive Force for the Future

Experienced executives who mentor young leaders, and groom them for key company positions, increase a business’s chances for continued success. When these young leaders become familiar with business operations and internalize the company culture, they are well-positioned to fulfill the business’ mission.

Young CEOs and Emerging Leaders Are Making Their Mark

Across the globe, young Chief Executive Officers (or CEOs) are proving their worth. In addition, sponsored leadership programs are preparing the next generation of leaders for the global stage. Dr. Leen Kawas shines the spotlight on young CEOs and emerging leaders.

Young CEOs

Young business leaders are increasingly stepping into Chief Executive Officer roles. In the 21st century, CEOs in their twenties are not uncommon. More recently, a few teenage CEOs have taken the spotlight.


Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble founder, stands out as the world’s first self-minted female billionaire. This popular dating and friendship app also helps members find a business mentor.


Sundar Pichai has served as Google’s CEO since 2015. In December 2019, he also became the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Pichai plans to revamp Google into an AI-first entity.


Evan Spiegel is Snap, Inc.’s co-founder and CEO. Snap, Inc. is Snapchat’s parent company. Spiegel launched the popular photo- and video-sharing platform while pursuing his studies at Stanford University.

Saudi Arabia’s Young Leaders Program

In Saudi Arabia, telecom company SALAM operates a thriving Young Leaders Program. This ongoing initiative invites talented Saudi youth to develop their capabilities and dialogue-driven skills. Through diverse guided exercises, participants learn how to become effective future leaders.

The Young Leaders Program also helps prepare Saudi youth to contribute to diverse international forums. In turn, this enables the Saudi Arabian government and private companies to be well represented on the international stage.

The Benefits of Leadership Diversity

A highly diverse leadership team offers a well-rounded knowledge base integrating varied perspectives. This enables the cultivation of trust with many company employees. Diverse organizational leadership can also drive more effective communication dynamics with external partners.

Dr. Leen Kawas states that a diverse leadership team is ideally equipped to conquer significant challenges. The team’s makeup, and its subsequent successes, can help to enhance employee retention and attract high-caliber talent to the firm. This sets the stage for increased innovation and industry prominence.

Companies with diverse leadership may also be more attractive to investors. In May 2020, a McKinsey & Company report demonstrated that companies with diverse executive teams are more likely to exhibit strong financial performance. This third McKinsey diversity-related report was based on the biggest data set to date. Over 1,000 large firms in 15 countries participated in this large-scale study.

Female Leaders Aim to Change the Playing Field

For decades, qualified women have thrived in leadership roles in diverse industries. Whether serving as a CEO or other executive, they have excelled in achieving predefined goals while pursuing the company’s vision and mission. These dynamic women are also desirable role models for younger women.

Dr. Leen Kawas emphasizes that female leaders possess four attributes integral to their success. These executives and managers are excellent communicators and display superb emotional intelligence. These highly creative, innovative women also have the resilience to adapt to change.

How Woman-Led Companies Stand Out

Dr. Leen Kawas says woman-led businesses often distinguish themselves in three significant ways. “There’s a lot of research showing when you have a woman on the helm (or part of the executive team), returns are higher, cultures are more inclusive, and innovation has a different, unique flavor,” Dr. Kawas remarks. She also says women-led companies display 60 percent better performance than similar businesses led by men.

3 Challenges in Traditionally Male Industries

Despite female leaders’ proven capabilities, they don’t receive as many executive opportunities as similarly qualified men. First, gender bias (intended or not) excludes women from relevant networking events and opportunities.

Next, men in these industries typically handle large workloads requiring significant time investments. Women with job and caregiving tasks may find it difficult to fulfill their job responsibilities.

Finally, many emerging female leaders lack a mentor or role model. The subsequent lack of support and networking connections means women will likely find it difficult to make progress in male-dominated industries.

Dr. Leen Kawas’ Guidance for Conquering Challenges

As a successful female CEO, Dr. Leen Kawas offers three strategies for navigating challenges in predominantly male industries. First, aspiring female leaders should fight against clear (or subtle) gender bias.

Concurrently, these women should prioritize their skills development, setting them up for recognition as qualified leaders. Self-advocacy is also important.

Finally, female leaders should cultivate alliances at networking events and industry conferences. A successful female mentor can provide ongoing guidance and can perhaps open doors to upcoming leadership opportunities.

Members of the editorial and news staff of the Daily Caller were not involved in the creation of this content.