This summer, we welcomed 3 new board members: Olatunde Gbolahan, Scott Phillips, and Bryan Daigle. We’re excited to add these interesting and dynamic professionals to the Explore Austin team. Get to know Bryan below and keep an eye on our social media for more!
What do you do for work?
I am an executive coach that helps leaders live with more courage, connection, and meaning in their lives. My business is called Next Level Coaching.
Why did you get involved with Explore Austin?
I chose to get involved with Explore Austin because it combines three things that have been meaningful in my life: love for the outdoors, personal development, and mentorship. I was fortunate to have Jamie Matthews as a professor at Acton and heard stories about the impact Explore Austin had on the lives of local kids. When I started looking around last year to choose a non-profit to invest more of my time, talent, and treasures in, I wanted to choose an organization that used a mentorship model and involved the outdoors. Explore Austin was at the top of that list! After I attended a few Saturdays, talked to Mentors, and heard impactful stories from Explorer alumni, I knew I wanted to be more involved.
How would you define good leadership?
Good leadership means having the courage to make decisions and take action with integrity, kindness, and discipline, even when it’s not the easy or most popular choice.
What have you learned while working with mentors in our program?
I have been blown away by how dedicated the Mentors are to their Explorers, not only in making the incredible time commitment, but also the care and respect with which they treat their Explorers. Mentors have to deal with incredibly difficult situations, whether it’s an Explorer who is having issues at home or an Explorer who won’t budge 10 miles into a 60 mile hike! To handle those situations with grace and care requires considerable wisdom, tact, and bravery. Thank you Mentors for all that you do for Explorers!
What’s something that has surprised you while working with Explore Austin?
I have been surprised how much Explorers get to practice courageous acts, and then take that courage into other areas of their lives. On my first Saturday I joined Explorers and Mentors on the ropes course at McKinney Roughs Nature Preserve. In one instance I witnessed one Explorer too scared to climb. Then after a minute of verbal support from Mentors and peers (maybe some cajoling too), they slowly start climbing. By the time they were 20ft off the ground they were actually enjoying themselves! To be able to experience someone overcoming their fears and choosing courage in the moment was a profound experience that I’ll never forget.
Anything else you want to share about your experience with Explore Austin?
I love hearing stories from Explorer Alumni about how their experience has positively impacted their families, their communities, their professional lives, and their leadership opportunities. These first-hand accounts and retrospectives have brought tears to my eyes on multiple occasions. I am incredibly proud to support EA and its mission!
What’s a fun fact about you?
I started and ran a 4-hour workweek business for twelve years that gave me time (and $$) to do solo section hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Since having a kid two years ago, most of my walks are now around Lady Bird Lake.