Ita Buttrose on leadership

When Angela Lyris launched her school leaders' induction ceremony she told the audience a personal story to reflect what she believed to be strong leadership qualities.

"My mother was a woman who had very strong views about what leadership meant to her and in her mind it was very simple - leadership meant an education," Ms Lyris, principal of Strathfield Girls High, said.

"Mum's leadership journey was about buying a magazine that allowed her to develop her cultural knowledge of her adopted country, her language skills of which she had none when she arrived in Australia, and more importantly understanding how she could be a successful citizen in her new country."

The magazine her mother bought was the Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) and the story Ms Lyris told would have resonated in particular with one of the guests in the 1,200-strong audience; former AWW editor Ita Buttrose.

Tour of honour

Ms Buttrose was at the school as part of the Australian of the Year recipients NSW Tour of Honour and was accompanied by NSW Young Australian of the Year Corey Payne, NSW Senior Australian of the Year Ron Allum and Sergeant Luke Freudenfeld who represented Australia's Local Hero of the Year Shane Phillips.

The Tour of Honour also saw the award recipients visit Concord High and Punchbowl Boys High.

Overcoming obstacles

During the ceremony, Ms Buttrose, a former student of Dover Heights Home Science High School, talked about her career and leadership.

"It's very important to believe in yourself and you will always meet obstacles in life - it's the way life is and life will be full of detours," Ms Butttose, who was also the founding editor of Cleo magazine, said.

"I was considered a pioneer because I did a lot of things women had not done before. I was the first women to ever edit a major metro newspaper in Australia ... and that was a big obstacle I had to overcome because it was considered a man's job. There was resentment among the staff because they'd never had a woman boss before and they'd never had a woman at my level at News Limited," she said.

Ms Lyris said having role models from society the girls could relate to made the leadership induction a great success.

"The girls were asking a lot of questions because in their world women are equal and that's how they see it - they just can't conceptualise what it was like [back then] that's why it's just been an amazing event," Ms Lyris said.

Photo: Ita Buttrose at Strathfield Girls High as part of the Australian of the Year recipients NSW Tour of Honour. Photo by David Lefcovitch.


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