Woman of Influence: Anne Miles

Ryan Boyd
Woman of Influence: Anne Miles

Anne Miles is principal of McAuley High School in South Auckland, a Catholic Integrated school for girls with a decile 1 rating.

During Anne’s time as principal the school has experienced a dramatic rise in achievement of Maori and Pacific students, an increase in roll numbers, and now enjoys the full support of the community.

Thanks to her dedication to her students, McAuley High School is now a high performing school and recognised for its achievements, and Anne was recognised in 2014 as co-winner of the Women of Influence Social Enterprise category.


How does someone acquire influence?Anne Miles Prize1

I did not set out to acquire influence. It was not an ambition. What was important to me, and still is, to make a difference to the lives of others in a positive way by providing opportunities to people to improve their lives.

This was the reason I chose teaching as a profession. It is a most rewarding profession and the contact with hundreds of students over the years has enriched my life enormously.

I have watched my students grow in confidence, mature, gain qualifications, move into the workforce or take up opportunities for further study, attend a university, and move on to serve society and their families.

I feel such a sense of pride in their achievements.

The Westpac Woman of Influence Award was completely unexpected. I accepted it on behalf of all my students, my school community, and above all our staff.


What are the pitfalls of using influence?

I am not aware of pitfalls of using influence but am aware of the pitfalls of abuse of power. At all times I have an awareness of justice, mercy, and compassion. I have to be very careful to listen carefully, not make snap judgements and to value the dignity of every person.

SEE ALSO: Women of Influence: Meet the judges


What advice would you have for women who want to grow their sphere of influence?

It is important that your vision is shared by all. Without the support of your colleagues, a shared belief and shared vision, the chances of success are minimilised. The more people who have input into the vision make the ownership of the vision more powerful.

It is important to acknowledge the work done by others. Positive reinforcement is important. Accept failures as a learning opportunity and move forward.

Anne Miles all Winners

Anne (far right) on stage with the other 2014 WOI winners Althea Carbon, Margaret Brimble, Lesley Elliott, Dame Malvina Major, and Traci Houpapa.

How would you describe your style of influence?

Respect for others, integrity, honesty and appreciation of the goodness of each person should be a characteristic of all interactions. Cooperation, collaboration, a shared vision and goal setting, support of the community all make for a successful school.


Who has most influenced you and what did you learn from them?

I have been fortunate to learn from those I have worked with over the years. Principals I have worked with have nurtured talents, encouraged, and supported me. Staff members have been inspirational in the outstanding work they do. The students I have worked with have been my inspiration. The beauty of our young people and the potential they have are a continuous source of delight. 

The foundress of the Mercy Order, Catherine McAuley, is another source of inspiration. Her ambition to educate others to enable them to rise above the barriers of poverty is an example to us all.

SEE ALSO: Women of Influence: Meet the judges


Nominations close soon

Entries for the 2015 Women of Influence Awards close 14 August.

Head to the WOI website for all the information, including dates, award categories, entry criteria, and how to enter.

WOI 2015


, ,