I had the pleasure last week of attending the Wangaratta Women in Leadership Breakfast, attended by a diverse and engaging group of women leaders from a range of industries and backgrounds. The guest speaker was Genevieve O’Reilly, Principal of Borinya and a leader who I admire and have had the pleasure of working with closely in my time as a youth worker.

Borinya is an indigenous word that means the ‘ana’ or branch of a river which has parted from its main course for a short time. This education facility works with disengaged youth, their work is critical in providing a safe learning environment during very difficult times that many of our young people face. I’d like to acknowledge all of the Borinya staff and thank them for their important work. They support not only the youth in their school but their families, they work with other specialised services and as a society we need to ensure they continue to be supported to meet an ever increasing demand.

Genevieve has reinvented herself numerous times, from member of the Federal Police, to pub owner, to teacher and now Principal. In all of these roles she’s lived life on the edge, most notably now in helping bring our young people back from their own edge and helping them find a firm place to stand, a place to belong, and the chance to reinvent themselves.