“Leaders are not born; they are made. Everyone has the potential to become a leader in whatever endeavor they are pursuing.”
Serena Bains is a fifth-year Health Sciences student at Simon Fraser University, who is passionate about disability justice. She currently holds the position of Youth Leadership Initiative Coordinator at the Disability Foundation, where she is responsible for outreach for the YLI project.
As a natural introvert, before beginning her work at the Disability Foundation and joining the leadership development training, she was more reserved, shy and hesitant to speak up.
“My biggest challenge was having the confidence to speak up and voice my opinion when appropriate,” says Serena.
However, throughout the training, Serena has learned that she has the potential to act on her strengths to become a better leader because of the values she holds.
“I realized that I can still be an effective leader despite being naturally introverted. It takes effort to become a better leader, and learning to speak up and be confident in my ideas has helped me take steps towards that goal.”
Serena’s favourite moment within the training was hearing from the mentees and mentors about their perspectives on a particular topic.
“I learned so much from other folks during the training because we had a different viewpoint or way of approaching a problem,” Serena explains.
Bringing on the skills she learned from this training and gaining self-confidence throughout her internship, Serena was able to contribute more to her team. When being asked about the contribution she is most proud of, she replies, “Being in charge of outreach as someone who is less social is a challenge, but challenges result in growth. I’m really happy with how thorough our outreach efforts have been so far and I’m looking forward to ‘expanding them further.”
The YLI interns 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 Serena reach the young people living with disabilities or anyone who could benefit from this project, please share the project with them: disabilityfoundation.org/yli.