Empowering tomorrow’s leaders: ACAP Associate Dean, Gina Saliba shares insights

By Barry de Silva
As a former Western Sydney high school teacher for almost two decades, Gina Saliba’s career is one of transformation, where she’s now the Associate Dean at ACAP. Gina gave an insight into her career and the challenges faced by leaders in the education sector today, the opportunities available to Australian workers in the evolving economy, and the legacy she wants to leave as a leader.

After 17 years as a high school teacher and 12 years at Western Sydney University in a range of roles from Manager of Curriculum Implementation to Academic Lead for Professional Learning and Digital Learning Support, Gina joined ACAP in 2023 where she is now the Associate Dean, Scholarship and Capability.

“I really enjoy the collegiality of ACAP and its national status. Everyone is very open to sharing information and collaborating, and your expertise is welcomed. It is certainly very diverse and there is a real sense of belonging here,” Gina enthused.
With the ways in which the education sector has evolved over the past few years, Gina revealed the leadership challenges she’s had to navigate during this time.

“Whenever there are changes, it’s important to be inclusive and bring people along on the journey. Sometimes it can be about communicating why changes are taking place, why we’re going in a certain direction, and the benefits of that.”

"My leadership style is very much about being open, transparent and collaborative."

The World Economic Forum has reported that human-centric skills will grow in demand over the next five years. Gina said that being able to hone in on those will be key in applying for new roles in the future.

“Being able to identify and articulate our soft skills is as important as our tangible professional skillset. For example, an accountant doesn’t need to stay in that role for the life of their career, so many of those human skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and data analysis can be applied to so many industries.”

ACAP, with Women & Leadership Australia (WLA), is supporting the development and advancement of female leaders in Australia with WLA’s upcoming Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium series across Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne in 2024. With female MBA graduates seeing a pay gain of 55-65 per cent of their pre-MBA salary within five years, all attendees of the WLA symposium series will enjoy a $8,000 reduction off their MBA studies at ACAP. Gina commented on how important it is that initiatives like this take place in advancing female leadership.

“By providing support and opportunities for women to develop their skills and advance in their careers, we are not only closing the gender gap but also fostering a more inclusive and diverse leadership landscape.”

"It's inspiring to see ACAP and Women & Leadership Australia looking to empower women and drive positive change through ACAP’s MBA program.”

For leaders who are looking to progress in their careers, Gina gave some guidance on how to go about this, and how she likes to address her own personal development.

“I would firstly find out what your ambitions are, and what you want to do in the next 12 months, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years. It’s important you share your plans with a supervisor or mentor, because you’ll need support in activating that plan and putting mechanisms in place, like further education and training, to achieve your goals,” Gina said.

“If you’re looking to apply for an award or some form of recognition, you could look at collecting evidence, such as testimonials from colleagues and data that illustrates your credentials as a professional, which could then form part of a portfolio. From my perspective, I am a leader who likes to put together ‘To Do’ lists. Saying that, it is all well and good having lists, you have to put time aside in your calendar to complete them.”

Driven by boundless energy and a commitment to education, Gina envisions leaving a legacy at the end of her career which invigorates her colleagues.

“I am a really high-energy enthusiastic person, and my leadership style reflects that. I want to be a guide for colleagues and help them grow, while supporting their learning, teaching and curriculum development. I’d love to leave a legacy of passion and energy for lifelong learning.”

ACAP is proud to sponsor this year’s Australian Women’s Leadership Symposiums – the must-attend event for leaders of all genders dedicated to driving equity and inclusion in workplaces and beyond.

To avoid disappointment, secure your tickets now at:

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