Five Ways of Being
with Gavin Grift, Jane Danvers and Heather DeBlasio


Friday 20 August 2021
Ruyton Girls’ School,
12 Selbourne Road, Kew VIC 3101
9am – 3.30pm Melbourne time

Workshop Cost

Non Member - $535
ACEL Member - $495

Combine and Save*

*Receive a discount when you combine your registration with a new ACEL membership

Group Rates (5+)

Non Member - $495
ACEL Member - $450

Learning is our core business and needs to sit at the heart of all we think, say and do as educational leaders. Based on the book, Five Ways of Being, this workshop will help you gain an understanding, agreement and clear articulation of what being a learning leader in an organisation looks, sounds and feels like.

The Five Ways of Being Leadership Workshop supports learning leaders to take charge of their own leadership story, as we help you undertake career-changing self-discovery and give you the practical tools you need.

You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside the authors of Five Ways of Being, who are also world-class leadership experts. You will access the theory, thinking, and help others do the same.

Who Should Attend:
System Leaders; Principals; Deputy Principals; Senior Leaders; Middle Leaders; Emerging Leaders; and Anyone who is responsible for others’ learning.


Do you love what you do but often find yourself wondering whether you’re really having the impact you desire?

For school leaders there are many challenges to overcome including:

  • Being too busy to take the time to consider learning at the centre of all we do
  • Spending too much time ticking off tasks that take us away from learning
  • Working out who we are as leaders of learning in schools and teams
  • Struggling to lead people to learn more about themselves and their work
  • Not being able to trust everyone we work with or lead
  • Being courageous in the decisions that must be made
  • Engaging others in a process of change that compels them to invest themselves
  • Competing agendas, lack of time and self-belief
  • Leading people who see the world differently to us.


  • Learn more about your current leadership identity and its implications
  • Increase your capacity to be trustworthy, brave, compelling, purposeful and growth-focused in your leadership
  • Discover what’s required to consciously commit to both your own development and others’, in the ongoing pursuit of learning for all
  • Transform your school culture through what you think, do and say every day
  • Uncover up to 32 practical strategies you can use in your leadership approach today
  • Take home your own copy of Five Ways of Being: What Leaders of Learning Think, Do and Say Everyday as part of your registration.


Full Agenda

Session 1:
Five Ways of Being: The key to your own leadership story…

8:00 - 8:55am: Registration
9:00am – 10:00am: Five Ways of Being: The key to your own leadership story…

Being trusting, brave, compelling, purposeful and growth focused are key levers to genuinely move the emphasis from what we do as leaders, to who we need to – and can - become. These ‘five ways of being’ help inspire leaders to ask themselves: who have I been, who am I now, and who must I become to enable the learning and growth of others? Jane, Heather and Gavin, the authors of Five Ways of Being, explain that the way Learning Leaders see themselves plays out in what they think, do and say every day. They will outline the key assumptions and characteristics for you to consider in the ongoing authoring of your unique leadership story, which is so critical to the learning needs of your students, colleagues, school and self.

The authors will also outline how empathy plays the most critical role in being successful learning leaders.

Session 2:
Being Trusting and Brave

10:00 – 11:00am: Being Trusting and Brave
11:00 – 11:30am: Morning Tea

It is increasingly evident that it’s the strength of our relationships - the ties that bind us - that make all the difference in school communities. High quality relationships, in any context, are based on trust. But trust can only be built by getting to know each other as total human beings above and beyond our formal roles. Consequently, a core purpose for Learning Leaders is to cultivate trusting relationships with all members of their staff in what they say and do every day. By applying strategies such as Learning Conversations, Three Rules for Feedback, Talking Partners, Collaborative Learning Teams, I Do-You do- We do, Mindful Meditation and STOP, Learning Leaders inspire trust in those they lead. Jane, Heather and Gavin will take participants through a process for being a trusting leader of learning.

The inherent nature of learning requires us to feel uncomfortable, to confront the unknown, to feel vulnerable and to make peace with the ambiguity that learning brings. Learning Leaders understand the importance of this to their role in schools, where the core business is learning. To choose bravery requires Learning Leaders to commit to becoming braver. Through the application of strategies such as Lights-Camera-Action, Six Wedges, Crafting Your Self-Story, the Six A’s of Deliberate Action and DEA (delegate, expect, assume), building bravery can truly become a way of being for a Learning Leader. Participants will engage in a strategy designed to illuminate and address the areas of their leadership that calls for them to be brave.

Session 3:
Being a Storyteller and Purposeful

11:30 – 12:45pm: Being a Storyteller and Purposeful
12:45 – 1:30pm: Lunch

Edgar Schein, in his book Organizational Culture and Leadership (2010), wrote that the essence of leadership is the creation and management of the dynamic processes of culture. We believe that culture is shaped, nurtured and manifested through what Learning Leaders think, say and do every day. Culture is a dance between the values and beliefs of the community, the daily activities and drivers that play out in classrooms and the relationships that underpin them. It is found in the tales the students tell when they go home, the conversations in the carpark and the social interactions of teachers. The challenge and the opportunity for leaders of learning is to bring them together in one central narrative. Strategies like the Story of Why, Back to the Future, Synectics, Snapshot Observations, Chalk Talk, Gallery Walks and Fireside Chats enable Learning Leaders to tell the story of their school. Participant will learn different ways of being a compelling storyteller for their staff.

A Learning Leader’s integrity relies in no small part on a direct link, or harmony, between intentions and actions. So being purposeful is integral both to getting the work done and bringing our people with us on the journey. It is as necessary in the big things as the little things, for both the incidental conversations and the regular meetings we conduct and attend. Being purposeful becomes a way of being through using strategies such as Begin with the End in Mind, Conscious Choices, Planning Purposeful Agendas, Working Agreements and Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. This session will have participants discover practical ways of being a purposeful learning leader.

Session 4:
Being Growth Focused

1:30 – 2:45pm: Being Growth Focused

A leader’s ongoing development can flourish or be hindered by the avenues available to them. If we have an explicit focus on making growth our primary purpose, not only for our students but our leaders and teachers, we can create a rising tide of growth that lifts all boats to greater heights of fulfilment and achievement. By using strategies such as Check-Ins (Not Check-Ups), Mirror-Mirror, Challenge Corner, Putting the ‘d’ in Development, Leadership Sprints, Leadership Moves, Annual Reflective/Planning Conversations and Tenure Review Revisited, we can transform our schools into incubators of human growth and potential. In this session participants will discover key insights into how we can all be growth focused leaders of learning.

Session 5:
Plenary: Mirror, Mirror: Articulate your leadership story

3:00 – 3:45pm: Plenary: Mirror, Mirror: Articulate your leadership story

A prerequisite for either being or becoming growth-focused is having a shared language and story about what leadership means in someone’s specific context. These elements provide a personal leadership roadmap to guide the way we knowingly shape the ongoing development of all our leaders and all our people. Through this plenary, Jane, Heather and Gavin lead participants through a process of targeted reflection - ensuring the day leaves an indelible imprint on your ongoing development, as your leadership story continues to unfold.

Testimonials from "5 Ways of Being Leadership Symposium"
Adelaide March 19th 2021

“I loved the creative energy the day generated”

"After reading the book, it was great to have a face to the content I read and activities that enabled me to interact with the literature".

""Enabled our leadership team to look at new ways to do things and how to be much more purposeful in the way we do it."

“I think it was fantastic the way we rotated through the talks but the time went far too quickly!”

“All the presenters were so passionate about their message, it was hard not to be motivated by their energy. Motivating a room of upper echelon leaders in our schools was an intimidating feat, but the energy in the room at the end was palpable.”

“It was a well-presented, well-organised professional development day. Having the opportunity to share our thoughts with others was beneficial. Thank you”

“Thank you to all, it was a fabulous day, well executed and I left feeling more empowered.”

“The principles and premise about being leaders of learning. Authentic, experienced presenters, great processes, the balance of input and participation. Heaps of reflective thinking, chances to practise and fabulous strategies to take and use in the every day of school life. I have lots to build on and to share with my teams.”

“The presenters were all so clearly passionate about learning, relationships and growth- and it was contagious. A lovely balance of concepts with their practical applications, plus I picked up so much helpful vocabulary for articulating concepts that have challenged me in the past”

“Thank you for delivering an interactive, inviting and inspiring workshop with loads of practical takeaways”

“One of the most powerful professional development days I have been on!”