UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division invited the Chief Executive Officer of the Education Works consulting firm based in Los Angeles in the United States, Dr Anissa McNeil, to discuss how issues of leadership, organisational change and development can help improve education systems.
In her address, McNeil detailed how she had 12 years’ experience of working with numerous organisations helping them realise their vision and mission and listed three key points to assist making that work: leadership, organisational change and development.
With her firm currently based in six countries – the United States, Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, McNeil highlighted the importance of hiring the best qualified candidates, being research-based, knowing the country you are working in, investing the right amount of time and resources, and being grounded in your mission.
She encouraged leaders to like people in order to be able to manage them; to be purpose driven; to be able to take action and be productive; to create sustainability within their organisations, and not to become stagnant through adapting to change easily. Looking at collective leadership, McNeil said: ‘The African proverb: “You are who you are because of others”, applies to leadership because together we can do anything.’
Using examples of learners with disabilities and teenage pregnancy, McNeil assessed how organisational change and development within the education system required adapting to the changing social times and matters as well as developing to meet the needs of learners.
In closing, she called for individuals to work together within the policies and procedures of the country to bring about change.
Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela
Photograph: Albert Hirasen