Changemakers - Julia Davison
9 July 2012 at 10:46 am
Julia Davison, Chief Executive Officer, Goodstart Early Learning, is profiled in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
Goodstart Early Learning purchased the former ABC Learning in December 2011 after it went into voluntary liquidation. Coming from The Benevolent Society, Mission Australia, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Social Ventures Australia, the new owners and new chief executive Julia Davidson have build and grown the brand as they deliver on their plans to have a measurable positive effect on the lives of Australia’s children. As a Not for Profit organisation, the key point of difference with is that any surplus they produce is reinvested in early learning initiatives.
What are you currently working on in the organisation?
When Goodstart Early Learning took over the former ABC Learning Centres, we had a long journey to take. We are now focusing on translating our strategic plan into action, doing something different that puts children at the centre of everything we do.
I’ve just returned from our State Conferences sharing what we believe quality early learning looks like and listening to Centre stories about small changes they’ve made resulting in wonderful experiences for children. We’ve been celebrating our progress to date and acknowledging what’s required to continually improve the quality of early learning for all of Australia’s children in the first five years.
What is the best thing about working in the NFP sector?
The opportunity! We know the first five years make a lifetime of difference for the future generations of Australians. Working in NFP also ensures we are open and transparent about the way we operate with strong business discipline. With any surplus generated reinvested in programs that benefit our staff and children we will be able to keep children at the centre of everything we do.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
I work with amazing, inspiring and incredibly dedicated people. Our staff continually inspire me with their unwavering commitment to improving the quality of learning in our Centres and supporting families through the transition of home care to structured learning. The Board of Directors bring so much experience and opportunity to Goodstart and I am constantly reminded of the wealth of knowledge we have sitting around the table helping drive us for better outcomes for all Australian children. And I can’t forget the children…every time I visit a centre, it reminds me of the impact we can have on children’s lives and how in turn they can influence their own learning journey.
I consider my greatest achievement to be…
Developing a strategic plan for Goodstart. When Goodstart started, it was clear staff were dedicated and enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead and we needed to harness this for the benefit of our families and children.
I collaborated with a range of staff, Board of Directors, stakeholders and our founding partners to develop a new strategic direction to set us on the path to doing something different from the former ABC centres; to partner with families and; to offer Australia’s children the best possible start in life. We are 12 months into this strategic plan and already we are achieving significant milestones that we all are very proud of.
If you could have dinner with two people from history, who would they be?
I’ve recently had dinner with an inspiring individual. I met Carla Rinaldi, a Professor and President of Reggio Children in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She has spent much of her career closely involved with the Reggio Emilia approach to education, which centres on respect for children as capable and able individuals. It supports learning for children as about engagement for both child and teacher. She is an international leader in this space and it’s inspiring to be with someone so knowledgeable and passionate about something I’m very focussed on.