I have always been determined. I remember as a teenager, I would take on some big jobs, like painting the old metal outdoor setting that had rusted and the paint had become all crusty. That job took weeks across a school holiday. Another; while a single mum raising two boys, was painting my entire house inside. That job took years. There have been many others. Each one I took step by step, piece by piece, with a consistent effort until its done. You would think raising two boys on my own would also be a big challenge. Yes, that was tough. They are now young adults making their own way in the world. What I am doing now, I think, is actually my biggest challenge.
At the end of 2014, I decided to step away from a secure, well-paying job as a Deputy Principal of a private girls’ school in Melbourne to start my own business. I wanted to give my attention to supporting the leaders of our schools to do their job well. I didn’t have a plan or a starting contract. I was beginning from an idea and with a dream. Many would say I was crazy, even stupid.
I took some time off in 2015, as I hadn’t ever taken long service leave in my career in school leadership, travelled, got married after 20 years of being on my own, and put some plans together. In 2016, the business was born. Now in 2020, I am embarking on year 5 in business. I work at the business every day, some days all day, others just some reading, emails and planning and each day and each year the business grows.
I mentioned earlier that I have a dream. My dream is for school leaders to be great, so great that they can be role models for the people around them, particularly students, but also staff and the parents in our communities who so need people to look to and guide them. I believe that ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ and that if we do not have great leaders in our schools to show us how to lead well, how to behave and how to build healthy relationships, we will take much longer to work it out and make many mistakes along the way. I have seen too many of those mistakes, resulting in poor decisions, lack of collaboration, aggression, silos, wide voids between the school leadership and staff, and the worst being toxic cultures. A great leader, one that is a role model to others, I have found has four traits and they have worked hard to master them. They are being clear, confident, consistent and considered. I have developed leadership programs, conferences and workshops that provide the training and support for leaders to develop these traits.
I now work with schools right across Australia and New Zealand supporting leaders to do their job well as role model leaders. My dream is becoming a reality and last calendar year the business grew by 57%. I am looking forward to my 5th year in business. I will continue to work at my current challenge every day, tackling each aspect piece by piece, step by step, consistently, and I look forward to one day working with you and your school too.
Happy 2020! Keep moving forward – one step at a time.