So as general manager of the Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association (WAPPA), McNeil has overseen a day dedicated to inspiring female educators to flourish in school leadership roles.
In October, around 100 WAPPA members flocked to the inaugural Women in Education Leadership Forum, keen to refresh and reframe their aspirations.
McNeil says the event delivered on multiple fronts.
“The presentations were a blend of inspirational stories, leadership experience, and then practical strategies to support our members in their leadership journey… and provided them with takeaways that they could try to implement into their work life immediately.”
With a delegate cohort made up of very experienced principals and deputy principals, some educators new to the top job and aspirant leaders, McNeil reports that the chance to learn alongside other career-orientated women was an invaluable experience.
“… you are around like-minded people that can have empathy and understand the situation you are in, especially when you are talking about work/life balance … so how to deal with that when you have small children and you want to continue your career in school leadership.
“And not being paralysed by that guilt we all seem to feel when you are a career woman with children,” McNeil notes.
A moving address by Professor Colleen Hayward AM from Edith Cowan University gave the group an “open and authentic look into her leadership journey,” while Narelle Goodfield, a career branding specialist, gave an interesting take on the topic of personal style and reputation.
“We actually did a survey and it was basically like ‘this was the best PD I’ve done’,” McNeil says.