Published on July 31, 2020

The first of a new series of workshops designed for women in leadership launched this week, inspiring HVGS women to explore the central theme of ‘Equal and Different’.

Speaker speaking

The current restrictions of large gatherings, conferences and workshops – which offer valuable professional development and networking for staff – required an innovative new approach. Bringing the conference to School and making great use of technology and guest speakers via zoom enabled our women leaders to collaborate and enjoy professional learning together.

The series of workshops initiated by Deputy Principal Fiona Devlin will focus on contextual leadership – building capacity in our environment, drawing out ideas from fantastic guest speakers and then putting these ideas into practice in our context.

“I’m interested in building our own strong network here at HVGS to encourage connections and collaboration and provide our women with the opportunity to form strong, trust-based relationships in a culture of support,” said Fiona.

An experienced and passionate leader of women, Fiona has been in educational leadership roles from a young age. She understands too well the challenges women face in the workplace and the benefit of sharing her experience and journey with others.

“The theme ‘Equal and Different’ was intentionally selected for our first symposium,” said Fiona. “We are fortunate to have an equitable (equal) contemporary workplace for women at HVGS, but it’s the ‘difference’ (different) that we need to collaborate and support each other on.”

women sitting on seats

Fiona called upon the group to consider the different; learning to appreciate the diverse backgrounds, traits, personalities and experiences of women in the workplace; differences between men and women and how this may influence how we make decisions and how we react to certain situations; how we can build resilience and how to manage and balance life as working mothers.

The feedback from the first series has been compelling. Human Resources Manager Pauline Luks was inspired and excited about future opportunities for connection.

“It was amazing to connect with the brilliant and passionate women in our organisation and recognise how leadership comes in so many forms.

“I am reminded that a leader is not just someone who has followers, but someone who inspires others by the way they carry themselves and how they treat others.”

Junior School teacher Justine Wilson also found deep personal value in the session.

“If there was ever a time to remind ourselves that we are surrounded by an impressive group of supportive women, it is right now!

“The session offered a timely reminder that persistence, resilience and working toward one’s aspirations is complemented by a supportive team. This is my current experience.

“Of particular personal benefit is the knowledge that my purpose is clear and my passion for learning continues.”

Justine Wilson – Junior School Teacher

Championing this initiative is Principal Paul Teys. As a leader dedicated to the development of HVGS women in leadership roles, Paul has lent his full support to Fiona’s advocacy for the development of women in leadership, and this new program of events.

“I am confident that the series of events developed by Fiona will offer enriching, rewarding, and valuable learning and growth – for those in leadership roles and for those who aspire to leadership.”