Gabrielle North

Co-opted Board Member

Gabrielle (Gabe) North is a business graduate from RMIT who completed post graduate studies at Melbourne University. She has spent 28 years in asset management, presently occupying the seat of Centre Manager at Bayside Shopping Centre in Frankston. Her professional role is to achieve the best possible return on investment through fiscal planning and control. She is also responsible for setting a vision and objectives through strategic asset planning. She forges meaningful and fruitful relationships with key stakeholders and she considers herself a synergist who maximises returns through mutually productive relationships. Gabe is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is licenced with the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and Worksafe Victoria.

Gabe’s family were members of the St Mary’s Star of the Sea Parish in Sorrento, with her 2 children educated at St Josephs, before joining the Padua community for secondary school. With one child graduating from VCE in 2014, and the other completing VET VCAL in 2016, Gabe is passionate about both educational pathways being equally valued. She is a strong advocate of empowering board members through ongoing education and heads up a board that champions diversity, both of gender and thought.

For the last two years it’s been my pleasure to occupy the seat of Board Chair, which I vacate at the end of 2016. Before handing over the reins to another colleague, there are some moments as Board Members, which upon reflection, ought to make us particularly proud.

Firstly, and for the first time in College history, we have a balanced Board with males and females equally represented. This is hardly ground breaking. Indeed, it should be a given. But gender diversity remains today a big deal in Australia, and it’s great to see that Padua takes its place amongst other, equally evolved Boards around the Country who strive for an inclusive and well-rounded collective voice.

The second achievement is the successful on-boarding of Principal Anthony Banks. Allow me to take the opportunity to thank Fr Laurie Pearson and fellow Board Member Peter Leamon who assisted in the recruitment for this pivotal role last year. It is gratifying to see that our candidate of choice is a hardworking and caring leader.

The third is the endorsement of a new campus structure – one which facilitates an environment conducive to productive and enjoyable learning, backed by an Educational Strategic Plan that unashamedly strives for excellence.

And while we reflect on the role of learning, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t give particular thanks to our teaching community at Padua. As a parent of two Padua children, the last of whom completes Year 12 this year, I am reminded of the phrase “A teacher affects eternity; you can never tell where their influence stops”. In a way, my two children are a microcosm of what Padua offers in terms of educational pathways. Along their respective VCE and VCAL journeys, they have met teachers who have touched their lives and helped shaped them. With one now at university and the other entering a trade, they are products of a solid Padua education that encourages perseverance and, more importantly, breeds a well-entrenched social conscience.

I would like also to pay tribute to the pastoral care team who supported them during a difficult period when they lost their father to brain cancer, and say how lucky we were to have the support of a fraternity of helpers who cooked meals and delivered hampers to my grieving family. Padua families who experience loss like ours will know they are in good care, and the prayers, of this compassionate Padua community. May God continue to bless them all.

Finally, I am grateful to the Board for allowing me to engage in further study in the field of Board training and I hope to continue to add value through knowledge-sharing and governance insights. On the back of a newly formed, robust Board structure, and through the delivery of an ambitious Educational Strategic Plan and Building Masterplan, Padua College has set in place a platform for better service delivery to its families for many years to come.

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