Making Leadership Possible,
by Maree McPherson
Maree McPherson GCLP'01,
Lead Conversationalist 2016
Recently I had the privilege of inducting the 2016 cohort of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and acting as host at the launch event.
One highlight of the event for me was listening to Peggy O’Neal give the launch address. Peggy has achieved much in her life, including becoming the first woman to be President of an Australian Football League club – the Richmond Tigers. She is a lawyer, a consultant at Lander & Rogers, former partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, and amongst her many achievements she was a consultant to the federal government’s “Cooper Review” of the Superannuation system and was appointed as a member of the Peak Consultation Group to advise government on implementation of the Stronger Super reform package.
Peggy grew up in rural America, in a small coal mining town. In her mother’s generation, girls left school and married very early. It is perhaps not the environment we imagine will produce an eminent citizen who lives on the other side of the world; yet that is exactly who Peggy became.
In her address, Peggy described her early motivations to succeed. She attributed much of her success to her mother’s determination that she should have access to a good education – one her mother had not. Her parents encouraged Peggy to take opportunities when they presented themselves. Peggy’s story reminded me of the many wonderful people of Gippsland who have gone on to do great things (perhaps somewhat unexpectedly) and the possibilities that exist for each of us.
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