Laura Goulden is studying towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and has volunteered extensively both in the department and for the Victoria Students’ Psychology Society. She is working towards the Award level of the Victoria Plus Programme and was selected to attend this year’s Aspiring Leaders’ Forum. As part of Leadership Week 2019 we’re sharing Laura’s reflection on the Forum.

I was nominated for the Aspiring Leaders’ Forum (ALF) in 2019 by Victoria University of Wellington’s Vice-Provost (Academic) Professor Stuart Brock. I had never heard of the Forum before or met anyone who would be there, and so I had no idea of what to expect. In the first moments of the Forum, we sat in our small groups. Our facilitators asked us the two things we would grab if our houses were on fire – and it was that moment I knew that we were going to be doing some deep reflection and questioning of our own values.

In the following days, ALF also completely changed the way I think about the leaders who serve us. We learnt from a wide range of speakers, all of whom served their communities in an inspiring way. They spoke of their own motivations and how what they value drives their leadership style and the way they pursue their goals. I especially enjoyed hearing from Puna Wano-Bryant and Joshua Peauafi – their perspectives on how we engage with culture are going to stick with me for a long time, and I know I can borrow from the knowledge and strength of these amazing people.

To sit in a room surrounded by people with the same ambition to serve and carry the light of the future is, in a word, epic. Everyone is open to sharing their own struggles and reflecting upon their values, learning not just from the speakers but also from each other. To meet so many people who have a tremendous amount of love in their hearts is an experience I will never forget.

I want to say a huge thank you to Professor Brock for sponsoring me – the opportunity to engage with so many people and in challenging discussions has had a huge impact on my worldview already and I will continue to develop the way I lead in the Vic community. Also thank you to the Victoria Plus Programme for thinking of me when the opportunity came up. I really enjoyed my time at the Forum.

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Leadership, Motivation, Personal development, Reflection, Volunteer experience