Brandon Greene, alumnus of both the Junior National Young Leaders Conference and the Junior National Young Leaders Alumni Conference, was inspired to use his leadership skills and knowledge from his JrNYLC experience to make a difference in his school. He created the Anti-Bullying Committee to combat bullying, which soon grew into a community organization, and the name was changed to A Better Community (ABC).
In just a few years, Brandon’s vision grew from a small committee in his former middle school to a community-wide vision extending to his hometown’s high school. Brandon has been recognized locally and nationally for his leadership in bullying prevention. He was appointed to the Burrillville School District’s Anti-Bullying Task Force and, in 2011, Brandon was invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He was specifically recognized by the President for displaying such courage and leadership.
We caught up with Brandon to see where he is now, 10 years after attending his first Envision program. Check out his story and what he has accomplished in the past decade!
What are you currently up to since attending JrNYLC and JrNYLC Alumni as an attendee?
Since attending JrNYLC and the Alumni Conference ten years ago, I continued working with A Better Community until I graduated from High School. I was also very involved in organizations around the state and country to promote positive behavior in schools and communities. Nowadays, I have been trying to bring about change politically by volunteering in a number of roles. I have served on campaign staffs and have now risen to chair my town’s democratic party. I see this as my best opportunity to continue to bring about change in my community as an adult.
Where did you attend college and what did you major in?
After graduating High School, I attended Providence College in Rhode Island. I graduated in 2019 with honors while majoring in political science with a business minor and an economics minor.
Do you have more of an idea of what you want your career to be? What is it and your planned next steps?
Shortly after graduating college, I accepted a position as a marketing and communications manager for a non-profit healthcare organization. I accepted a new challenge by taking on the first-ever shared employee between two regional chapters within the bleeding disorders community. I work remotely between two regional chapters in New York City and New England managing both of their social media, marketing, emails, and web components.
What’s going on with A Better Community at this time?
Part of my goal as the creator of this group was to make it sustainable after I left as its leader. I stayed involved with ABC until I graduated from High School, and they have managed to continue their work with a new leadership team. They have evolved into an organization that still tries to promote service and encourage inclusive behavior.
Years after attending JrNYLC and JrNYLC Alumni, what did you learn that you still apply in your daily life now?
Whenever young leaders ask me what I learned from Envision conferences, or which is the most important life skill that I took away, I immediately say goal setting. Life is like driving a car. You can’t get far if you don’t know where you want to go. Goal setting is all about recognizing what you want to accomplish and how you can go about accomplishing it. This can be applied to every aspect of life—whether it be your work as a leader, your education, your career, or personal goals. On my phone, I keep a note page with all of my goals for the year in it. This way, I can have them with me all the time and constantly be reminded of what I want to accomplish.
What made you want to be a speaker at JrNYLC Alumni?
When I first attended JrNYLC, they had a speaker named Jake and he told us about how he was using his leadership skills to save water in his community and send it to people around the world who need it. As soon as I got home, I told my mom that someday I want to be able to share my leadership experiences like Jake did. 2020 will be my eighth year working with Envision, and I have spoken at the Alumni conference and the Middle School Presidential Inaugural Conference. I hope I can use my speeches to inspire other young people to go out and make a difference on a topic they are passionate about.
It’s been 10 years since you attended your first Envision conference. What has been the biggest take-away in that time?
Since attending my first conference with Envision, the most difficult aspect of being a leader has been having the persistence to keep moving forward. A lot of times, everyday life seems to get in the way of what we do for a number of reasons. Sometimes you may just feel that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that you hope to do. But, when this happens, you must keep your vision in mind of where you want to go, and why it was important for you personally to get involved. Whenever I took a step back and realized that this work was helping my entire community, I knew that I had to keep working, no matter how tired or overwhelmed I was.
What advice would you give to young leaders who want to make a difference in their communities?
Whenever I speak to young leaders, I try to emphasize that fact that I am just like them. I came to these conferences, and they can do anything that I have done. All it takes is determination and persistence to keep trying even when things get tough. It is also important to have a clear vision or aspiration of what you’re hoping to accomplish. My challenge to them is to start small, then work their way up. As they have small victories, their confidence will grow in their ability to bring about change, and they will go on to make a great impact, no matter what issue they are trying to address.
You can also check out our previous spotlight on Brandon here