Sharing our journey with women education leaders

APRIL 12, 2016 / Articles

Auckland Campus principal Helen Prasad hosted an event last week for the Women In Educational Leadership organisation, and says guests were impressed with our innovative facilities and pedagogy.

“As education professionals, they know the destination, and they could recognise how far ahead we are on the journey,” Helen says.

Helen has been a member of WIEL since it was formed in 2013. She says it’s a great forum for sharing ideas, and developing a valuable network. The group meets once a term to learn from a guest speaker and taking the stage in April was the Director of Business and Planning at Diocesan School, Merle Boniface.

Merle has built her leadership career in roles in banking and education, with higher education through Mt Eliza Business School and Harvard. She shared some of her key leadership learnings for success in education today, including an explanation of the ‘ambition gap’: “Women tend to assume the leadership value they can offer will be interrupted at some point. They don’t put their hand up for opportunities.”

Some more of Merle’s gems:

“Great teachers are great leaders. They foster collaboration, they engage, and they achieve.”

“Maintain morale by focusing on why you are doing something. Empower them through involvement and opportunities to grow.”

“Remember your B Players – your unsung heroes – or you risk losing them.” (Watch Prof Tom De Jong)

“Your body language shapes who you are. Practise power poses.” (Watch Amy Cuddy)

“People judge you first by warmth, then by competence. A competence mistake can be overcome; a warmth mistake cannot be.”

“Authenticity is when what you are saying matches your beliefs.”

“If you are trying to excel at everything, you are going to have exhausted mediocrity.” (Prof Frances Frei)


In giving thanks:

Helen identified one of Merle’s most important messages as the need for more collaboration - within school, and through partnerships. “This is what the Westmount environment is all about,” she says.

She was also appreciative of our prefects, who enjoyed the opportunity to show guests our learning centre and learning hubs for junior students, and captured the talk on video.