Reflection on the 2023 Instep Young Leaders’ Forum.

In a celebration of commitment and dedication, 27 students from nine local secondary schools were lauded at this year’s Instep Young Leaders’ Forum graduation and final breakfast. The year-long program, facilitated by Priority One and supported by partners, wove a tapestry of enriching experiences, fostering collaboration and leadership among the students. One standout element was the series of business breakfast events where students engaged with industry leaders from diverse sectors, setting the stage for a year of connections, growth, and development. 

The year began with a two-day Noho, immersing students in a cultural exchange that deepened their understanding of themselves and their peers. From there, the students embarked on a series of impactful experiences, including the BOP Young Growers Gala Dinner, the Festival for the Future in Wellington, co-hosting the Canvas Careers Expo evening event, guest speakers at the Businesswomen’s Network series, and more recently, guest speakers at Priority One’s AGM, highlighting what they’d like to see in our future city.

While bringing the year to a close at a final breakfast held at Priority One, students were privileged to share the morning with guest speaker, Lily Pearce ex Tauranga Girls College student who later addressed the group about her time as a Young Leader in 2022 and what the title has meant for her as she transitioned into life outside of secondary school. Lily shared insights that certainly left an indelible mark on those young leaders eager to absorb wisdom and practical advice, personal anecdotes, and Lily’s unique perspective that will undoubtedly inform their future endeavours. 

The young leaders also heard from Anaru Palmer, ex Tauranga Boys’ College student who was a young leader in 2018. Anaru is currently the Translator through the Māori Language Commission and Cultural Specialist at both Te Kura / The Correspondence School and Ministry of Education. Anaru added additional gems of wisdom, ensuring that the students were exposed to a diverse range of insight and perspective. There was a palpable sense of appreciation, excitement, and curiosity about what he shared and how being a part of the Young Leaders’ Forum is an experience they will draw from throughout their lives going forward. 

The Instep Young Leaders’ Forum is made possible with the generous support of our Funders, TECT, BayTrust, The Lion Foundation, and Bay of Plenty Education Trust and our Partners, TCC, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Te Pukenga/Toi Ohomai and The University of Waikato. Their commitment nurturing the leaders of tomorrow is commendable, and their contributions have played a pivotal role in making the program a resounding success. This year’s forum also received invaluable support from the Coachio Group team, who played a crucial role in enhancing its overall value. 

As our 2023 young leaders’ step into a future filled with accomplishment and armed with the words from Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, a parting gift from Instep Manager Vee De Koster, the echoes of collaboration, mentorship, and Insteps commitment to leadership excellence, will ensure they are poised to shape the Future of Work and beyond.  

‘’I have appreciated every aspect of this year’s program. It has been a gratifying experience getting to know all the students and observing their growth in various areas. What fascinated me the most was the diverse perspectives on leadership; it is perfectly fine because let’s admit, leadership encompasses a mass of key factors. To all those embarking on new journeys, I extend my best wishes and hope to welcome some back in 2024’’. Say’s Vee de Koster 

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