Everyone has a responsibility to give back to the community, according to Perth researcher Colleen Hayward.
Professor Hayward is pro-vice-chancellor and head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research.
At Leadership WA’s annual awards late last month, Prof Hayward won the Honorary Fellow Award for her role in leadership and community contribution.
“For me, strong leadership is about being mindful of how you act in all regards,” she said.
“Any organisation that anybody works for will have a set of values. But how conscious of them are we in the way we act?
“Are we really good examples of those values in action?”
With a 30-year background in education, contribution to policy development and dedication to social justice, Prof Hayward said education was fundamental to everything in life.
“We hear a lot about closing the gap targets between indigenous and non-indigenous outcomes and I think all of the areas that have been identified remain a priority for all of us,” she said.
“If there can be a really collective interest and involvement in those things, we will sooner get to a place where the impact is also felt in a positive way.”
Prof Hayward said there was an expectation that Leadership WA alumni would give back to the community.
“It might be sitting on a board for a community organisation if someone has financial expertise to be the auditor of some place or it might be helping an organisation to get established,” she said.
“This award in part recognises not only what you’ve done in your professional life but also in your life as a volunteer and that is an important part of leadership.”
Her father Len Hayward was WA’s first indigenous teacher and went on to become the state’s first indigenous principal in 1979.