Willow Grove native is already a proven young leader

Posted in: In the News

According to Tara Brinston, there are many up and coming leaders in the so-called ‘millennial’ generation. Willow Grove native is already a proven young leader

JON MACNEILL

Those who think millennials are a generation of uninspired slackers would do well to learn what’s happening in Digby, N.S., next week. “There was a big research study that just came out about how many articles were written against Generation Y,” said Tara Brinston, one of the delegates attending 21 Inc.’s Emerging Leaders Summit at the Digby Pines Resort later this month. “How we’re the ‘me’ generation, we don’t have jobs, have all this debt, yada yada.”

“But I’m surrounded by a lot of positive change-makers who happen to be in Generation Y, and this emerging leaders summit is another example of 50 young people who are working very hard to make positive change in Atlantic Canada.”

She added that the portrayed image can differ from reality.

“I think there is something to be said for the media’s perception of our generation, or what’s being portrayed, and the actual work that’s happening on the ground.”

Some of the hardest working young Maritimers are en route to a special three-day leadership conference hosted through 21 Inc. from Oct. 20-23.

Launched out of New Brunswick in 2007, 21 Inc. is a now a regional non-profit dedicated to empowering the movers and shakers of the 20-35 demographic in the Atlantic provinces.

The summit brings together 50 delegates for a series of intense networking and workshop sessions with some of the region’s most successful and noted young professionals.

Brinston was invited to attend largely due to her work with the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, where she started seven years ago on the front lines and now sits in senior management as director of programs.

The Fredericton-based non-profit develops policy and programs to help people with intellectual disabilities become more engaged and included in their community.

The 29-year-old recently oversaw the piloting of a new social inclusion and housing program that’s now being rolled out provincewide in partnership with the Department of Social Development.

“It’s a neat, new option for people, where the answer has typically been placing them in special care homes and group living situations, this is really helping people get out into the community and become our neighbours.”

It’s fitting that Brinston was selected to attend a conference geared toward fostering civic engagement, as that’s pretty much the name of her game.

Aside from the professional development and personal ties she’s sure to take away from the summit, the Willow Grove native said she’s mostly excited to learn new ways of lifting others up.

“Really, I have a great team here (at NBACL),” Brinston said. “I myself am young, but my managers and the staff I manage are young, too. We don’t necessarily do it on purpose, but we tend to hire bright, young, engaged people. I’m looking forward to learning to some tools to make sure that I’m empowering them to become leaders, as well so I’m not just leading them, but giving them the tools they need to grow and expand their leadership potential, too.”

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