Industry Profile – Guardian’s General Manager of new centres Megan Black

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  Published on Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Industry Profile – Guardian’s General Manager of new centres Megan Black

Library Home  >  Profiles & Interviews
  Published on Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Please tell us about your professional background and career experience, how did you make it to the early childhood sector?

I’m a lawyer by training, but don’t hold that against me! I went to Uni, unsure of what I should do. I had the idea of law in the back of my head, more because I had been told that I would make a good lawyer because I love to argue (thanks mum). I didn’t get the marks to get into law so I started a Bachelor of Arts, then transferred into Law in my second year. Every year of my 5 year degree I toyed with the idea of transferring into teaching but never made the leap. 

I started my career as a baby lawyer at Clayton Utz, moving onto Gadens to practice in their cross border disputes team. I worked at Gadens for about 5 years and then moved to the NSW Bar Association as their Senior Policy Lawyer. I really loved working at the Association, and about 3 years in decided to help them set up a childcare support program for their members. I emailed and the next day Nicki Garrett reached out to me.

Fast forward a couple of years and Nicki encouraged me to make a career segue into her team, managing corporate accounts. I’ve been here for 4.5 years and absolutely love working in the sector. My favourite part of the job is visiting our centres and spending time with our Educators.

My daughter went to our Castlereagh Street centre, with the wonderful Giselle Morris and Rebecca Mouat. Seeing their commitment and dedication to early childhood education first hand – how could you not be passionate about working in the sector?!

You recently started a new role with Guardian, please tell us about it.

Guardian has undergone some substantial changes to the structure of its operations team. As part of those changes, we created a dedicated New Centres team to oversee centre acquisitions and new centre builds. The role of GM was advertised, but it didn’t even cross my mind to apply for the role until our CEO, Warren Bright emailed me about it. Speaking with him about his vision for the work that this team will do, I felt confident that I could do the role of GM and do it well. Particularly with our new centres - you have the chance to start with a blank slate. With strong planning and hard work, you can really set the centres up for success.

I’m lucky to have a wonderful team on board to support me, and I can’t wait to get our first pipeline centres up and running.

How do you imagine this role will better support Guardian services and how will it benefit Guardian families?

In the past we’ve asked our Operations Managers (now called Portfolio Managers) to look after our new centres, as part of a larger cluster of centres. Subject to the dynamics within that cluster, this can be a real challenge. The new centres need some extra attention in the first months of operation, during a period that is referred to as ‘hypercare’. We spend that time really working to settle children and families into the service, to build relationships within the team and to embed quality practice.

How has the early childhood sector changed since you have been working with Guardian?

I think we have to work harder to meet the Regulatory Authority’s expectations as to what constitutes ‘Exceeding’ practice. Similarly, parents have higher expectations as to what constitutes quality care. What hasn’t really changed is the dedication of our Educators – I saw that at the beginning, and I still see it today.

Can you describe some of the challenges and opportunities for early childhood that you see ahead?

Covid has been an enormous challenge for the sector, but has also provided new opportunities that we may not have otherwise had. Our wonderful Q&C team pivoted really quickly to the delivery of professional development sessions online, not to mention the creation of really outstanding home learning packs for our Victorian families.

Moving forward I think the greatest challenge is what early childhood education looks like in a post-Covid world. How many parents will continue working from home, and how will they work from home? Will rotating in-office work rosters mean that standardised bookings become a thing of the past? It is hard to be patient and allow the situation to unfold, but in the face of some pretty uncertain times, the sector has done that amazingly well.

How is the Guardian group adjusting to cope with these challenges and make the most of these opportunities?

In addition to the work done around remote professional development and in-home learning support, our workplace collaboration tool (Workplace) has really come into its own. We have groups where anyone can ask the CEO a question, where we can celebrate success and share our learnings across our ‘Big 5’ areas.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2020