Anna Stewart Program helps women members achieve their goals

The two-week Anna Stewart Program surpassed my expectations.

My goals from participating in this program were to develop knowledge and leadership skills to encourage more women to become involved with Federation. Now I am more knowledgeable about the union and able to clearly articulate the purpose and goals of the organisation to my colleagues.

I am more confident to build the capacity of my Federation Workplace Committee and Association by encouraging more women to participate in training, programs, webinars and conferences so that together we can use our expertise to achieve goals and support each other. I look forward to developing a network of women in my Association.

I was welcomed at our union’s head office by Officers and staff, who are a very cohesive team. Their work behind the scenes, for us, is incredible.

I interviewed Executive members and Officers and gained an understanding of their roles and how they transitioned from their teaching positions to their current positions. I attended various meetings to upskill on how everyone prepares for Council.

The Anna Stewart program assisted me to develop my network of contacts for Federation issues and support in my school and Association. I now understand the union’s structure and operation and look forward to sharing this information with my colleagues.

As an observer, I was able to attend a school meeting organised by the Women’s Contact. This gave me a good insight in dealing with issues in a calm, constructive manner and guide staff in the right direction for closure on an issue. Attending two inner city schools with a City Organiser gave me the chance to observe this role in the field. I also attended a western Sydney Association meeting. This allowed me to observe a meeting that was different to my Association.

Women’s Contact Association training enabled me to meet other women who were all keen to have a deeper understanding of their role in their Association. We worked on an action plan for our specific associations to increase the engagement and capacity of local women in our union. We will meet again later in the year to share our experiences of implementing our plan and to discuss and share ideas to build our collective voice.

I highly recommend this program to women who are interested in helping the perpetual growth of our union. You will become more knowledgeable about Federation processes, procedures and policies. Your network of colleagues will increase dramatically. You will see that there is an abundance of opportunities for members, including programs, training and relief positions.

Visit to discover opportunities to participate in the program.

Rikki Toohey teaches at Kiama Public School