I was most fortunate to study the ‘Emerging Leaders’ program at the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education in Boston, November this year (2019). It was an intensive week of leadership learning, amidst the splendour of the oldest university in the USA, learning from extraordinary experts and with learners from all parts of the world. Thank you to the Teachers Mutual Bank and the Public Education Foundation for enabling this most powerful learning at exactly the right moment in my career.

In one week, the red, leather-bound journal I was issued on day one contained my detailed notes, reflections, ideas and observations as a result of the expertise of lecturers and exchanges with leaders from around the world. The course provoked new thinking and the conditions we create as leaders to enable the best thinking in our teams. I have applied this new learning in my current role as Director of the NSW Department of Education’s School Leadership Institute and shared it with colleagues.

Every session was valuable. ‘Decision Science’ with Dr Jennifer Lerner, an advisor to the Pentagon on decision making, who reminded us of the importance of being a ‘decision making architect’; Prof. Rob Wilkinson who shared wisdom regarding ‘Strategic Negotiation Fundamentals’ and how we can ‘get to yes’ through expert communication and strong relationships; Prof. Chris Robichaud explaining ‘Adaptive Leadership’ and ‘Moral Leadership’, aspects of leadership that are so important in our society; and Prof. David Eaves on the driving skills for technology.  Finally, the last day was spent with Ambassador Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator for the USA to achieve the Iran Nuclear Deal.

As a lover of History, the opportunity to walk the Freedom Trail and imagine the experiences of those Americans seeking independence from the British was an added bonus. I commend this opportunity to anyone who loves to indulge in deep thinking and learning from others. A truly magnificent experience.

Joanne Jarvis

Director, NSW School Leadership Institute