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Mission and Values


To inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.

Since 1958, HOBY has inspired young people to make a difference and become catalysts for positive change in their home, school, workplace, and community. As America’s foremost youth leadership organization, HOBY has a long history of successfully motivating young people to develop into outstanding leaders.


Much of the work at HOBY involves young people exploring and identifying their unique leadership skills. Every student is different, and there is no attempt to impart a predefined set of attributes onto HOBY participants. We stress self-knowledge, uniqueness, and authenticity, not conformity. Students learn to mobilize their own unique traits and are exposed to particular leadership principles that they can explore and incorporate in a fashion that is true to their own personality.

Some of these include:

  • Consciousness of self: values, emotions, and beliefs that motivate you to take action

  • Behaving with consistency, genuineness, and honesty toward others

  • Personal commitment as energy that drives the collective effort

  • Collaboration: empowering others and self through trust

  • Common purpose—working with shared aims and values

  • Collective analysis of issues at hand and tasks to be undertaken

  • Maintaining civility in light of differences in viewpoint

  • Conflict resolution: creating group consensus

  • Conscientious citizenship: thinking critically about societal issues

  • Service as a way to become an effective, active citizen in the community

HOBY History


HOBY was founded by Hugh O’Brian in 1958 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. From 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars only took place in Los Angeles for High School sophomores from California. The success of the program over the first 10 years resulted in the expansion of the scope of the HOBY program. In 1968, seminars included international as well as national participants, and the leadership seminars moved to major cities across the United States on an annual basis.

In 1972, in keeping with the changing times of the growing women’s movement, young women were invited to attend HOBY seminars. In 1977 Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island are the first to hold State Leadership seminars. In 1986 the HOBY Alumni Association initiated Community Leadership Workshops, one-day local leadership training workshops. By 1988 10,676 high school sophomores, representing 51 percent of U.S. high schools, participated in State Leadership Seminars; HOBY volunteers numbered 2,500.

In 1990, the International Leadership Seminar was renamed the World Leadership Congress, and 28 countries sent students representatives for an eight-day global leadership summit. By 1998, HOBY celebrated its 40th Anniversary and launched a new initiative, Leadership for Service, challenging all HOBY ambassadors to commit to 100 hours of community service. Twenty pilot sites were given the community service challenge resulting in 345 ambassadors accomplishing more than 24,000 volunteer hours in 850 community service projects. Hugh’s belief in the potential of every human being and his commitment to helping the youth of the world become major contributors to society is his legacy. Today more than 500,000 HOBY alumni around the world are making a difference in the lives of others, thanks to the vision and passion of Hugh O’Brian.

HOBY Arkansas Through The Years

HOBY History
Our Team

Our Team

HOBY Arkansas is an all-volunteer nonprofit. Are you interested in joining the team? Click here to learn how!

Our team grows and changes each year. This list is updated with our current planning team and board of directors point of contacts and our most recent year's seminar staff. Please reach out with any questions!

Leadership Seminar Chairperson


Justin Buck

Leadership Seminar Vice Char


Mary Staton

2024 Seminar Planning Committee

Leadership Seminar Chair

Justin Buck

Leadership Seminar Vice Chair

Mary Staton

Director of Volunteer Relations

Jennifer Cunningham

Director of Program

Kate Slenzak

Director of Ambassador Relations

Matthew Keenan

Corporate Board President

Sedley Tomlinson

Board of Directors President

Sedley Tomlinson

2024 Seminar Volunteers


Omar Gallardo

Ana Jusino

Isha Horton

America Pulido-Rojas

Katie Heese

Will Poff

Kelsi Stimack

A Team

Julia Hayes - Captain


Jennifer Ben

Kaushal Dhumal

Maggie Simpson

Sanviti Kumar

Zoe Hu

Annie Ratton

Ava Wilson

Bannon Jones

Brock Taylor

Brookelyn Standridge

A'Nissa Christian

Ester Carranza

Lycci Pan

Madie Ross

Logan McKelvey

Omarai Williams

Prerana Kodakandla

Clancey Wood

Noah Green

Troy Mulder

Special thanks to all of the staff, students, and administrators who always welcome us to the place that #FeelsLikeHome

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