Community focused student, Brylee Comer, attends Aspiring Leaders Forum at Parliament buildings

Brylee Comer

Community focused student, Brylee Comer, attends Aspiring Leaders Forum at Parliament buildings

When looking for a young wahine with a bold vision who displays all the promise of becoming one of tomorrow’s game-changing leaders, look no further than Graeme Dingle Foundation ex Project K student, Brylee Comer.

An agent of social change, youth group facilitator, Victoria University student and recent attendee at the prestigious Aspiring Leaders Forum at Parliament – you’d be forgiven for being humbled by this young woman’s achievements – but nothing comes easy, and the 14-year-old version of Brylee was much different.

“Throughout High School I was described as shy, introverted, and quiet. I was never outgoing, and I didn’t apply myself in any extracurricular activities. In year 10 I [took part in] Project K run by the Graeme Dingle Foundation, since then I have become more involved with my community and the people around me. The people I met throughout these experiences really helped, the mentors and friends I gained who I still keep in contact with to this day,

She credits her success to date, not only to project K, but to her Mentor Dan Allen-Gordon, Graeme Dingle Foundation Western Bay of Plenty Manager, who has been a significant role model in her life since her time in the Foundations Project K Programme.

“He was the one that really pushed me to achieve more and inspired me to get more involved within the Graeme Dingle Foundation, leading to more and more doors opening for me that I could never have imagined before. Dan puts so much effort into everything he does. I met Dan in year 10 through Project K and I am still in contact with him now. He is so passionate and wants to see students grow and I think that is truly inspiring”

It was this support alongside Comers hard work, that saw her take a spot at the recent Aspiring Leaders Forum hosted at New Zealand’s parliament buildings. In anticipation of the forum, Brylee stated that she “simply want[ed] to jump headfirst into everything that the Forum has on offer and get as much out of it as I possibly can” and that, she did.

Spanning four days the Aspiring Leaders Forum brings together a diverse, gifted and courageous group of young people and parliament leaders to discuss leadership from a narrative point of view. All young adults that attend the Forum have been nominated by someone who believes in them and are aged between 18 – 26 years old.  The Forum is all about encouraging young people to become better leaders in their sphere of influence – be it community, arts, business, politics, or sport.

We asked Brylee to share her experiences from the Aspiring Leaders Forum with us.

“My biggest takeaway from the Forum was having an open mind – I met so many people that had different ways of thinking to me and it was such an incredible experience getting to know them and their experiences and what lead them to where they are today and seeing how that influences the way they think and the things they do now.

Everyone was interesting! Everyone had a completely different background, especially the guest speakers, their stories were incredible, I learnt so many different things from each of them that I couldn’t put them into a box. But like I said before, the biggest thing I learnt from them was being open to new experiences, new ways of thinking, new ways of approaching things.

My goals following this event are just to keep pushing myself to be the best version of myself, and being extremely open minded, because as soon as you close your mind off to new ideas you close yourself off to so much, so it’s so important to be open to anything.

The Forum is such an awesome experience and my whole group agreed that there’s no real way to explain it, it’s the type of thing you have to really attend and experience it for yourself to fully understand.”

When asked what message she would tell young people unsure of the future and wanting to achieve great things, Brylee said;

“Take every single opportunity that comes your way, you have no idea where it could lead to, something that seems so small in the beginning could end up changing your life for the better! The Aspiring Leaders Forum was certainly an opportunity worth taking.”

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