Summer Howarth - Influencing at Scale


Summer has a drive for and proven success in unleashing and spreading teacher led innovations, and has been an instrumental leader in Australia’s contribution to the OECD work on Student Engagement and Australia’s Teach Meet movement.

In her role as National Director of Learning for Education Change makers, Summer works with teachers, students and community leaders to solve our toughest education challenges, turning good schools into great ones.

Summer shared some thoughtful and inspiring moments in this podcast, and we are very grateful to have such a passionate, engaged and motivated guest.

Pivotal Moment One: The Path into Teaching.

       How did Summer choose what to study?

       What is Summer’s thinking style?

       What type of study was she naturally drawn to?

       What question did she always come back to, and when did that first start?

Pivotal Moment Two: Delivering as a teacher.

       The challenges of teaching?

       What is the role of community?

       What were the systemic challenges facing all teachers?

       How did Summer measure her success as she advanced her skills?

       What kept Summer motivated to keep driving her performance?

Pivotal Moment Three: The decision to stop being a classroom teacher.

       Working out if teaching was her future.

       The opportunity to start Teach Meet.

       Helping teachers find community, and what that meant to Summer.

       The learning’s from building a community solo.

o   Aaron Tait quote – The only thing more powerful than ownership is authorship.

       Hearing the feedback from letting people in, and the impact this had.

Pivotal Moment Four: Influencing at scale.

       The trip that changed everything.

       The fallout from everything changing.

       Embracing change and movement.

       The new possibilities that it all brought.

Pivotal Moment Five: Leveling up on bureaucracy

       The new role, new city, new possibilities.

       New stakeholders and communication requirements.

       Being rewarded for asking why, and how it helped in the new role.

       Gaining the new prospective of seeing the other side of teaching.

       Staying focused on the education and children as policies are written.

Pivotal Moment Six: From policy maker to business director.

       What is a certified B-Corp?

       When did she meet the co-founders, and how long did it take to get the opportunity?

       Why did Summer take the role?

       The big challenges of being a director vs. being a policy maker/teacher.

       Influencing at scale and the opportunities and challenges this brings.

Pivotal Moment Seven: Becoming an appointed leader

       The role of mentors in becoming an effective leader.

       The attraction of leadership, and why Summer took on the title and the role.

       Burden vs. opportunity, how to view both in the right light.

       The role of legacy in decision making in the current position.


What is the best advice Summer can offer anyone looking to take a similar path?

       Stop focusing on what you think you should do, focus in on what you want to do.

       If you are living by a ‘should’, that’s where you will have regret. Follow the ‘must’.

Summer’s 10 Minute Action:

       Remove the noise – meditate, or be mindful, or quiet for 5 minutes

       Then, call the first person that comes to mind in the next 5 minutes.