Women in Leadership

A key strategic focus for EREA has been the promotion of career pathways for women who aspire to leadership in Catholic education, particularly in Catholic schools in the Edmund Rice tradition. 

Since 2009, various initiatives, including conferences in Melbourne and regional gatherings across Australia, have been designed to affirm and challenge women who aspire to leadership in Catholic Education. The aim has always been to provide opportunities for women to access and engage with presenters who are highly regarded in leadership development. Topics have ranged from succession planning, mentoring and career planning, to the promotion of professional learning opportunities aimed at leadership development, and the organisational imperative to promote and achieve greater Gender Equality.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to engage many highly regarded speakers for these events:

  • Dr Leoni Degenhardt (Dean of the NSW AIS Leadership Centre)
  • Dr Barbara Watterston (Director, Centre for Strategic Education)
  • Keren Caple (General Manager of AITSL)
  • Prof Kathryn Brennan (ACU National Centre for Teacher Quality and Leadership)
  • Christine O’Neill (Principal, St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christchurch NZ)
  • Marianne Roux (Professor of Practice, Leadership and Executive Education Monash University at Monash Business School and founder of the Coalition of Female Social Entrepreneurs in Australia)
  • Audrey Brown (Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Ballarat)
  • Yolanda Beattie (Principal and Practice Leader - Diversity and Inclusion for the Pacific Market with Mercer)
  • Heather McIlwain (CEO of Chief Executive Women Limited)

Participants can access these presentations in the Resources below.

During this time, the Women in Leadership initiative has partnered successfully with the EREA Emerging Leaders programs, which have had a pleasing representation of male and female participants.

In 2017, the conversation was broadened to engage EREA National and Regional Directors, Principals and members of College Leadership Teams in looking at the advantages of having more women in senior positions in the organisation and in schools. Supported particularly by the Executive Director, the aim was to engage the people who have very specific responsibilities for building leadership capacity in EREA and its schools.

The Forum, held in Melbourne at the Catholic Leadership Centre, focused on ‘accelerating and unlocking talent through diversity in leadership’. It generated significant interest in the development of an EREA Gender Equality Strategy 2019.

The EREA Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan has been developed following extensive data gathering and reflection during 2018 and facilitated by Yolanda Beattie, key note speaker at the 2017 Forum in Melbourne. A working party continues to provide support as we make progress towards projects and initiatives identified in the action plan. Regular updates will be shared here.


EREA National Women in Leadership Forum

Stepping Up – Opening Doors

3-4 June 2019

Melbourne Catholic Leadership Centre

Keynotes and workshops encouraging women beginning their leadership journey to work towards being heard, being recognised and making a difference in their schools.

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Further Information

To learn more about the Women in Leadership program speak to your Principal or contact Catherine Greenley at EREA Richmond.
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