What does it take to be a young leader?

Growing up, I didn't know much about disability, and how society sees disabled people. As some of you know, I got into writing and advocacy in 2017 when I built this website, but within saying that I still didn't know what I was going on about until I graduated high school two years ago. Since becoming more aware of disability and inclusion, my opportunities as a young disabled person has become endless.

Leaders are all around us, whether we see it or we don't. Last week (9th – 14th April 2021) was Youth Week and in celebration of youth week I want to tell you what the week is about! Youth week is a week to celebrate the achievements of young people. It doesn't matter if they are small achievements or big achievements. For me, as a young disabled woman I reflected on the successes I've had in just a short time.

Going through high school; I don’t want to talk on the behalf of anyone else’s experience, but I couldn’t really relate and vibe with people in my year group. I had friends throughout the journey, but I could never really say that, they were close. This is the reason behind my advocacy, and why I do a lot within the disability community because I want to make a change and to make a difference.

Image description: An image of Layne, who is a young lady with blonde hair, and she is sitting on the ground. Layne is wearing blue glasses, a red t-shirt which says, “Choose Inclusion”, and bright blue jeans. She is sitting on the right and Layne has her body turned to the camera. Behind her are some trees and the bright blue sky.

Writing was the thing that I founded in school and fell in love with. Through doing this I got a chance to escape from the world that surrounded me, and to put those feelings and experiences down on paper. Not long after I started writing on social media, people were telling me that it was amazing. Then I started writing about disability and inclusion, which is my primary focus today.

As some of you might know, I have just finished up my traineeship at the Perth Festival in March. It was sad to go, but it was a great experience. Getting the opportunity to learn some new skills and help make a massive event like the Perth Festival happen was a great opportunity, and an experience I wouldn't forget. I got exposed to so many things within the arts industry. And I learnt that arts aren't just performances on stage, but it's also books, music, films; along with many other things that we might not consider to be in this incredible industry.

If you were to ask me my advice on how to be a good leader, I’d tell you to just be yourself, and fight for what you are passionate about. There are so many leaders out there in today's world, both young and old. Please go and follow people that you like, and people who have similar interests to you.

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