thank you, Suzi Ross

My best teacher was – luckily for me still is – Suzanne (Suzi) Ross.  I first met Suzi back in 1996 when she was headhunted to work at St James Ethics Centre as the Director of Counselling and Community Services.  The Chairman of the Board had been seeking a suitably qualified person to head up, design, and train counsellors for St James Ethics Centre’ Ethics Counselling Service.  After a long search, the person they had finally chosen was unable to take up the role, however he advised the Board to seek out the woman who taught him … that woman was Suzi Ross.  Suzi had an impressive list of formal qualifications from Teaching through to Psychology then Socio-Analysis through to Core Shamanism.  Her career had involved university lecturing and managing her own business.

During her years at St James Ethics Centre, Suzi held a number of roles: Director of Counselling and Community Services; Director of Consulting, Training and Counselling; Director of Education and Accreditation and Consulting Fellow.  She hadn’t been at the Centre long when I realised that this woman was pretty special … I was at that time the Assistant to the Director of Leadership Development Kerrie Henderson.  Kerrie was on leave and I was responsible for setting up the next session with the program participants and was in a panic that something would go wrong.  Suzi gave me the first of what would be many Zen moments over the years, “So?” said she, “I thought they were on an ethics in leadership program!  Do you think that nothing will ever go wrong for these people?” and the clincher for me, “Are you trying to create dependent leaders?”

Suzi is one of those uniquely gifted people who can take in a huge amount of data, hold it, and create something elegant and useful with it, not just for her own sake but to make the world a better place- she is the epitome of a life-long learner.  Besides setting up the Ethics Counselling Service, Suzi also designed the Centre’s Holistic Model of Ethics, their Ethical Decision-Making Model and the Requisites for a Sound Ethical Culture framework.  In addition, Suzi designed the Centre’s core education programs, Ethical Intelligence and Good Decision Making Program and Ethics for Leaders and Managers program and trained and accredited educators to run these programs.  I was fortunate to be one of those educators.  It was during this period that I learned how to address the gaps in my own teacher training, which had taken place in the late 1970s.

As I sit writing this page on April 26, 2010 I am reminded that it was another of those Zen moments from Suzi that led me to enrol in the MEdTL program at CSU.  After I left St James Ethics Centre in 2009, I had applied for a couple of TL roles and had not been successful.  I was engaging in a bit of a whinge that all the knowledge and experience I had gained in my fourteen years at the Centre should be enough when she simply asked if I had thought I had finished learning.  And as I reflect on the readings about Resource Based Learning and the writings of Kuhlthau (in particular the 2004 ‘Learning as a process’ article) – I catch myself thinking, “I am in  familiar territory!” – just one example … Suzi had designed an exercise for a couple of groups of the Fellowship which was derived from Kelly’s Constructs and I took part – so I actually understand this stuff!  There were so many other such occasions …

As I now sit updating this page on October 20, 2013 as I have completed the last assessment task of my Masters programme it occurs to me that the Zen moments were really just very very good questions, asked of me at the right time.  Suzi was never one to do your thinking for you and by doing this she enabled me to take up the responsibility for thinking for myself …

Thank you Suzi Ross

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