EREA Pathways to Leadership Program

While 2020 saw the first year of the pandemic, it also saw the piloting of a new program to grow aspiring women leaders and the capacity of senior leaders to enable talent and become a gender equality leader.  

Yolanda Beattie has developed this program in partnership with EREA and delivers it using a combination of face to face and online workshops and individual coaching. 

“Ascending the path to senior leadership depends on so much more than raw talent. Your networks, personality type, confidence and life capacity are all major contributors to your ability to navigate organisational systems, capture opportunities and manage the intensity that leadership aspirations bring.  

This reality means some people face more potholes, dead-ends and detours than others. How much you fit in with the dominant archetype is a major indicator of the ease of your path.  

Because top leadership ranks at EREA are more likely to be extroverted A-types (think loudest voice in the school yard), with certain interests (ie sport) and without primary caring responsibilities (more likely to be men), the strength of this archetype will create bypasses for like talent to thrive.  

In an institution like EREA, enabling more women to thrive into top leadership roles is key. The Pathways to Leadership program works on three levels to achieve that endgame.  

1. We develop the ability of senior leaders to enable talent and become a gender equality leader in the school community.

2. We build the confidence and capability of up and coming female leaders to take on new career opportunities that support their leadership potential

3. We encourage both cohorts to be change agents across the school

 I’m thrilled to be running this program for the second time across NSW and QLD EREA schools, and I’m looking forward to seeing the number of women thriving in top jobs continue to rise.” 

Yolanda Beattie, Pathways to Leadership Program 

Gabrielle Smith and Mark Bonnici were both participants in the pilot program in 2020. 

“I was fortunate enough to participate in the Pathways to Leadership program throughout 2020. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with incredible women across the EREA network, to share insights, knowledge and best practice. I valued the opportunity to engage in open, honest conversations around our individual leadership journeys. I am so grateful to now have a support network of energetic, intelligent women who I know I can call on for advice or support whenever I need it! 

The biggest insight I gained from the program was the concept of ‘above the line, below the line’ leadership. When a leader is above the line, they are open to new ideas, curious and committed to growing, however, when a leader falls below the line, they are closed, defensive, and unable to lead as effectively as they normally would. Through the program, I was encouraged to articulate the exact situations that cause me to fall below the line, and to then develop and implement effective strategies to ensure I stay above the line when leading. 

The program has supported my growth as leader by reaffirming my ability to lead. Through personalised coaching sessions, my strengths were acknowledged and applied as a tool to further enhance my leadership. By recognising and addressing my weaknesses, I can now  use my time and energy to excel in this space as I reach for my next challenge with confidence.” 

Gabrielle Smith, Director of Junior School, Waverley College  

“I was fortunate to have been invited to participate in the EREA Pathways to Leadership Program. The program provided a wonderful opportunity to support two leaders from St Edward’s College in exploring and building their own leadership capacity as well as reaffirming my own thoughts about the important role that the Principal plays in fostering the leadership potential of aspiring leaders. Yolanda has a wonderful way of challenging our insights into leadership, guiding our reflection on areas such as, the emotional intelligence required to thrive as a leader, how to bring out the best in other leaders, managing difficult conversations, understanding the personality of the people you work with in order to promote positive behaviours and supporting teachers with their career planning. 

Although the Pathways to Leadership Program specifically focused on supporting women in their leadership aspirations, the program has far greater benefits for Principals, and has become one of a suite of initiatives that St Edward’s will continue to implement to foster leadership potential.” 

Mark Bonnici, Principal, St Edward’s College