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Academic Curriculum

Visions of Leadership

With Tanya Plibersek

From Applied Philosophy Teacher, Dominic Hearne

Since 2008, Waverley College has played host to a series of speakers in Term 3 each year, who might be considered visionary leaders in their respective fields.  These speakers are invited to work with our Philosophy students to:

  • broaden and deepen the boys’ understanding of what leadership means,
  • how leadership is demonstrated in their field of work,
  • who the speaker feels are current exemplars of visionary leadership and
  • a vision of leadership for seven years time, when our boys will have completed both their HSC and first University degree and will be emerging as our visionary leaders.

In 2018 each of our speakers spoke openly about the field of leadership to our students. This year Waverley has been honoured to host:

  • The Hon. Dr. Annabelle Bennett AO SC, President, Anti Discrimination Board of NSW
  • Mr. Howard Collins OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Trains
  • The Hon. Ms. Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Federal Opposition Leader, Australian Labor Party

Each spoke about the value of relationships with colleagues as part of a journey for leadership, remembering their past as part of the journey and valuing the people with whom they share leadership.

Dr. Bennett spoke of the need to accept any and every opportunity that came your way and that by saying no, you possibly blocked yourself from opportunities that might not otherwise present themselves.

Dr Bennett with the Philosophy students

Mr. Collins spoke of the importance he gained from working with his Sydney Trains colleagues and the importance of knowing peoples’ names, down to and including the cleaning gangs that clean the trains.

Ms. Plibersek spoke of the quiet pride of achieving simple things in leadership citing the building of housing for the less fortunate and therefore meeting families whose lives have been changed by being able to access a roof over their heads, as one example of leadership by achievement.

In all, three very different but very informative visions of leadership for our Philosophy boys.


The Visions of Leadership Program: A staff reflection

From Head of Library Services, Bill Roberts

I attended the Visions of Leadership talk given by Howard Collins OBE (CEO Sydney Trains). The event was a delight to be a part of. The students in attendance asked thoughtful and well considered questions.

Students were able to draw on their own train and public transport travel experiences, both locally and across the world, and relate and connect these to the themes presented in Howard’s talk. This, I feel, is a real strength of the Visions of Leadership program, as evident in this presentation: Students were able to connect their school experiences and learnings to the wider world and see how leadership can impact society for its betterment.

The Visions of Leadership program is focused on giving students a voice and this was great to see.  Students asked questions and were free to drive the presentation in ways that were important and meaningful to them.

Howard covered leadership qualities he has experienced over his long career and reflected on the ones that worked best.  The students, once again found this to be of great interest and were actively considering how they could then be leaders in their own classes and activities outside the College.

Providing students with meaningful and real engagement with the wider community and how school education links directly to achieving and facilitating this was a real strength I saw demonstrated today.