Meet the Staff
Brianna Gower brings over eight years of personal and professional experience in youth leadership, advocacy, and peer support. With first-hand experience developing self-advocacy skills as a young person with a disability and experience in the mental health system, Brianna is dedicated to empowering and supporting young people across the state. She has served as a mentor for the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program, was a founding member of a student-led advocacy group on her college campus, and after graduating in 2014 from Sage College of Albany with a Bachelor of Science, she began working as a Youth Engagement Consultant. Brianna has experience leading a youth employment initiative in partnership with the NYS Department of Labor, serving as the youth coordinator NYS System of Care, organizing statewide youth empowerment events and social marketing efforts, and partnering statewide and nationally to amplify the voices of young people with disabilities. Prior to launching the Young Leaders and Advocates Network, Brianna served as the Director of YOUTH POWER!, through which she oversaw the network’s projects, initiatives, and technical assistance efforts. Throughout her career, Brianna has gained valuable expertise providing technical assistance, leading projects, and organizing youth voice in advocacy.
Statewide Youth Empowerment coordinator
Elijah Fagan-Solis has first-hand experience with living with multiple disabilities and has over eight years of experience organizing youth groups and activities within the community. Determined not to let having a disability prevent him from reaching his goals, Elijah graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Hudson Valley Community College (AAS Criminal Justice), Magna Cum Laude from the Sage College of Albany (BS Law & Society) and is a member of two national honor societies. Additionally, Elijah has become a master trainer through the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC) ‘Youth Service Professionals Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (YSP/KSA)’. Having experience managing a county level Youth Advisory Council, a career focused mentoring program for on the brink and justice involved young people with disabilities, and organizing statewide Youth Leadership Forums, Elijah is excited for this new venture of supporting all young people with disabilities realize the power that lies within when they speak up as leaders and advocates.