Saturday, 27 July 2019

"Thinking about your life journey, who are the people who have inspired you?"

This week, I was personally asked this question. As I’ve recently had a professional change, I’ve been reflecting on this a great deal. I am very hesitant to name those people for numerous reasons. On Twitter, often people recommend others to follow eg #FollowFriday, and while this makes some people feel ‘special’, others may feel overlooked. Depending on the topic, time of day, or tweeters involved in the conversation, Twitter can be collegial or cliquey. 

Recently, a question arose at university regarding why the researchers quoted were all male. This is not the first time this topic has been discussed. Back in 2015, I messaged Alma Harris and asked if she had noticed that the keynote speakers at education conferences were predominately male. Being proactive, we created a Twitter chat to share questions, articles, research topics, and provided an opportunity for women in education to connect globally. I created a google document where anyone could enter their details and research. Four years later, this Twitter chat empowered me to be able to name many women researchers who focus on educational leadership (not all, but many). After finding this Smore with all the leaders, questions and details, I posted on Twitter. After a few Twitter comments, I worried about those who hadn’t been included. Today, many more researchers would be included, but the purpose was to connect women in education, not to identify and recognise women in educational leadership.

So, when asked this question about 'who are the people who have inspired you?', I decided not to list those people (or name drop) but to describe the characteristics of those who inspire me and who I aspire to be.

  • Successful without sacrificing integrity
  • Place people before profit
  • Generous with their time
  • Build relationships & connections (established & new)
  • Listen to understand, not to respond.
  • It’s not always about what you can do for them.
  • Genuine & Authentic. How they act in public is who they are.

Reflecting on these characteristics, I question my own actions...or lack thereof. Maybe it is time for me to find something new (or old) to support others and their professional growth. 

Pay it forward...



  1. Andrea, I LOVE these qualities. Thank you for sharing people who inspire you in THIS fashion. It's so important to surround yourself with those people - like YOU! I'm glad I follow your blog - please keep sharing!

  2. This is such a nice reflection. It has me wondering what characteristics would make up my list and how I myself might stack up against all of this.

  3. Thanks for this. A better way to answer the question... this means future people can be added to your list of influencers