“Other than being rejuvenated with knowledge, I have the opportunity to have a conversation with my colleagues, which can also bring greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s beliefs, values, and life experiences.”
Alice Pan joined the Disability Foundation in October 2020 as a Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator and is responsible for marketing and communications. She graduated from UBC, majoring in Marketing while volunteering with various non-profit organizations that support children and youth. She notes that these experiences deepened her passion for contributing to the youth community. Meanwhile, she noticed a gradual vision loss before graduating from university. Without knowing much about workplace accommodation, Alice chose to be self-employed, which allowed her a more flexible working environment.
However, as her vision loss deteriorated, Alice felt she could no longer handle her job and decided to change her career. Before working at the Disability Foundation, she attended assistive technology training in hopes of brushing up her computer skills through the use of assistive software. Even after she gained the skills needed to use a computer, she doubted her self-worth due to her disability. “I know my life won’t be the same, but I couldn’t help to compare the past and present me.” Although Alice strongly desired to work in the non-profit sector, “I was worried I would not be competent or effective enough to hold a job. ”
However, her work with the Disability Foundation and the leadership development training with Royal Roads University has helped her self-assess her value and build more confidence in being a leader.
She learned that active listening, which comes naturally to her, is one of the most crucial elements that makes a good leader. Her kind facilitator, Mark, peer mentors, and teammates constantly encouraged her throughout the sessions, which has also significantly contributed to her increase in confidence.
When Alice was asked what she enjoyed the most about the training, she shared that it was the small group discussions where she had an in-depth conversation with her co-workers. “Other than being rejuvenated with knowledge, I have the opportunity to have a conversation with my colleagues, which can also bring greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s beliefs, values, and life experiences,” says Alice.
From the training and the countless conversations with her colleagues, Alice learned that “everybody has the potential to become a better leader. Integrity, empathy, and vision are what make up a good leader. It is not just about being expressive but listening to peers and weighing ideas carefully. A leader does not solely concentrate on personal performance but focuses on team development by respecting and empowering team members to succeed.” By learning all these leadership traits, Alice was able to re-evaluate her value at work as a team lead. “I am grateful for everyone’s engagement as I see our team’s progress every day and hope to continue helping raise awareness on youth employment across Canada,” Alice concludes.
The YLI staff members have been gaining tremendous self-confidence throughout the internship and the value-based leadership development training with Royal Roads University. If you want to help Alice reach the young people living with disabilities or anyone who could benefit from this project, please share the project with them: disabilityfoundation.org/yli.