In January, the Board was pleased to appoint Neil David as interim CEO of our Association. Although a previously a Board Member, we asked him these 7 key questions so that you could get to know him a little better:
What is something you can’t live without?
My family. Our three daughters, and especially my wife, are my rock. Jean-Anne and I met when matchmaking family members put us side by side at a Christmas dinner back in 1987. She was raised in a Christian home in Ireland and I became a Christian thanks to her. I also enjoy my exercise. I like to run and train for the 12k winter fun runs. For a bloke who has just turned 50, that is quite long enough.
What has been your career to date in a nutshell?
My whole career has been in transport. I have held a variety of roles from Project Manager and Business Development Manager, to senior executive roles such as General Manager and most recently CEO. I completed a Marketing degree as a mature aged student. We always say the degree is 50% Jean-Anne’s as I was working full time, studying part time and as we had 2 children during those years it meant she did a lot of the heavy lifting at home. My work took us from Sydney to Kalgoorlie in 2003, which is how we came to be in WA.
What attracted you to SCEA?
Living in The Vines, Ellenbrook Christian College was an obvious choice for our girls and we have been heavily invested in the school community for years. I had been on the College Committee for three years when I was approached to join the Board. Given my passion and strength in strategy and planning, it was a natural fit.
What do you see as the role of SCEA schools in today’s society?
In an increasingly secular world, it is our role to witness to as many children as possible and show them that there is a better way. Parents are opening the doors to us to do this, as they want their children to have Christian values, so our focus must be our students.
I see the role of the SCEA office is to support, service and facilitate sharing for our schools so that they can focus on providing a distinctly Christian education and encompassing a Christian world-view in every facet of school life.
What is the most burning issue in your new role?
Being clear about who we are, what we stand for, where we are headed and the way forward. I hope I can foster unity amongst staff, members, students and parents and encourage authentic pastoral care for our staff and students. Last, but by no means least, a continued focus on Christian educational excellence. By that I mean not only academics but all possible outlets for students to express their God-given gifts through school life. If I can achieve these things, then I believe I will have served the Association well.
What is your leadership style?
I want the Association to be a success so I will always ask my team what they need to succeed and provide that as best as I can for them. I am clear with expectations and deadlines, don’t hold back on constructive feedback and am calm in a storm or when faced with hard decisions.
What can we do to help you?
Firstly prayer. Prayer for wisdom and discernment. Prayer for my own good leadership and stewardship of the Association. Prayer for resilience and renewal.
Secondly, bring forward your ideas for how we could be doing anything better in the Association. My experience tells me the best ideas come from the people who face the daily challenges – not someone in my position. So please be encouraged to bring your ideas for improving the Association to your colleagues, manager, head of department, Principal and so on. When I am walking around the campuses of our wonderful Association, I’d be delighted to hear any of those ideas you have.
Neil's door and direct line are always open.
Jean-Anne and Neil's daughters Sophie, Alissa and Lizzie.