St Andrew's Cathedral School

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Exploring issues for women in leadership


When our Head of School, Dr Julie McGonigle, was invited to speak on a panel discussion at the Association of Independent Schools of NSW (AIS NSW) Women in Leadership conference 2023, it was as affirmation of the experience and insight she brings to her role, especially as St Andrew’s Cathedral School’s first-ever female Head of School.

Dr McGonigle said the aim of the panel was to get behind the curtain on the issues that exist for women in leadership. The panel deliberately featured two female leaders in boys schools, one in a girls school and Dr McGonigle from a coeducational school.

“We dived into issues of legacy, time management, vulnerability, language use around gender issues, families and faith,” she said.

The conference was an opportunity for women in education to ask questions, explore the issues and discover pragmatic steps towards growing their own leadership practice.

The other panellists were Ms Becky Lovelock (Deputy Headmaster, Academic, Sydney Grammar School), Dr Vittoria Lavorato (Principal, St Patrick’s College) and Dr Kate Hadwen (Principal, Pymble Ladies’ College).

“As panellists, we were all very different and have had radically different journeys into leadership”, Dr McGonigle. ”However, we are all very unified in our passion for the next generation who will impact the world – and have a deep commitment to the communities in which we serve.”

Dr McGonigle said the statement ‘you’re better than you think you are’ that impacted her from an early age, is very relevant to women in leadership.’

“So, I was delighted to have such a safe space for women to ask the questions they really want to know the answers to and to encourage them,” she said.