Peggy Grande at Pymble Ladies College


On Thursday 9th August, I had the pleasure to introduce Peggy Grande to all the Year 11 students at Pymble Ladies College in Sydney.


Peggy was the executive assistant to US President Ronald Reagan after he left office. She has had an amazing experience regularly engaging with world leaders and these days she spends much of her time speaking at conferences and seminars to a wide range of audiences.


I had the great fortune to meet Peggy on a recent flight from the US to Melbourne and was delighted to hear her story. She very generously offered some of her valuable time to engage with some of the teachers and students I work with in Victoria & NSW.

The Principal of Pymble, Mrs Vicky Waters, and members of her executive staff put on a lovely lunch for Peggy and myself before we met with the Year 11s.


Kim Maksimovic, the IT Integrator at Pymble was my main contact at the school. I was so pleased when she was able to organise our visit at such short notice.


Kim took the opportunity to record a podcast interview with Peggy as part of series she is doing on women in leadership.

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Some of the key messages shared by Peggy to the Year 11s included the following …

  • There is no limit to what can you can achieve as long as you don’t mind who gets the credit
  • Don’t give into the drama of challenging situations
  • Prioritise people – people are the most important things
  • Leadership is a mindset, not a title
  • A good leader is always looking forward with optimism & inspiration
  • We always have a choice to either be toxic to our environment or optimistically contagious
  • You can be strong a successful and also be a good person at the same time

Click here to see my article on a dinner I organised in Victoria with Peggy and some key educators.

Click here to see a video interview I recorded with Peggy when she was in Melbourne.


Game Changer Challenge – NSW Edu Week


Planning the school of the future

Adobe was thrilled to be asked to be involved in The Game Changer Challenge, an initiative from the NSW Department of Education for the 2018 Education Week.

Inspired by the need to take learning from the classroom into the real world, the Game Changer Challenge involved connecting primary & secondary schools from across NSW with leading education technology and design thinking professionals to solve the big question – how can tomorrow’s schools help create the future?


100 schools entered the challenge and the 16 finalist were selected to take part in three days of activities and creativity at the brand-new NSW DoE Headquarters in Parramatta.

Check out the recruitment video …

Day 1

For the first day of the Challenge, teachers went through a bootcamp where they learned about, and gain confidence in using the Design Thinking process as a teaching methodology. This was run by Tricky Jigsaw an Innovation Design Consultancy.

The students had a separate program where they listened to panels of industry experts (which were broadcast live on the NSW DoE Facebook site) and enjoyed a set of workshop activities aimed at equipped them with the skills required carry out the Challenge the following day.

I had the pleasure of being on the second panel along with Janne Ryan founder of TEDx Sydney, Rebecca Smallchua from Thankyou & Ben Cooper Managing Director of Tricky Jigsaw.


The workshop sessions I ran along with Jane Chen & Jerry Wong from Adobe were based on Adobe Spark Video. Brett Kent (Adobe Education Leader) is now working full time with the NSW DoE STEMshare program was also a great help.

Day 2

The second day was focused on applying the Design Thinking process to a real world problem and help the students to answer the main Challenge question – How can tomorrow’s school help create the future?


The students also has the wonderful opportunity to do a physical workout on the rooftop  with Ninja Warrior Jack Wilson.

Most of the afternoon, and even up to 8PM, was spent working in teams to plan a pitch about the school of the future to a panel of education and industry experts. Representatives from the NSW DoE STEM team, Microsoft, Amazon, Lego and of course Adobe were all on hand to help the teams build their pitch ideas.

Day 3

The third day was pitch day. The teams added their final touches to their presentation before presenting them to a panel of education and industry experts who were judging them including the department’s Secretary Mr Mark Scott.

It was great to see a number of Adobe applications being used to help the teams pitch their ideas such as Spark Video, Spark Post, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Character Animator.


The winners

Every team was a winner just by being involved in the event, but the primary school who was judged with the best pitch idea was …

Cudgegong Valley Public School


The winning high school was …

Carenne School (Bathurst)


This image is thanks to the NSW DoE Website

Click here to find out more


A special congratulations to the the NSW Department of Education, Tricky Jigsaw, Microsoft, TEDx, Amazon, Lego, Adobe and the following schools for such an amazing three days of learning, creativity and fun …

Lidcombe Public School
Ingleburn Public School
Oakhill Drive Public School
Cherrybrook Public School
Cudgegong Valley Public School Menindee Central School
Alstonville Public School
Thirroul Public School

Chatswood High School
Lurnea High School
Beverly Hills Girls High School
Armidale High School
Campbelltown Performing Arts High School Gloucester High School
Carenne School
Hurlstone Agricultural High School


Adobe & Victorian Catholic Schools

Adobe’s Creative Cloud and associated software is now available for many Catholics school teachers and students throughout Victoria. Marymede Catholic College in South Morang, Melbourne and St John’s Regional College in Dandenong hosted the first of several planned professional learning events for catholic school teachers.


 The aim of these events is to help Victorian Catholic School teachers understand how and why Adobe tools enhance digital literacy and creativity in the teaching & learning process.


Click here if you are interested in finding out more and possibly taking part in future similar events for Victorian catholic school teachers.


Special thank you to Tanya Moran from Winthrop for helping to put these events together.

Meeting Peggy Grande – Personal Assistant to President Ronald Reagan


On my recent flight from LA to Melbourne I had the pleasure of sitting next to the amazing Peggy Grande who was traveling to Australia to keynote a series of conference events for Executive Assistance. I naturally asked her about her experience as an EA and she started to tell me about her life as the personal assistant to USA President Ronald Reagan during his time as past President from 1989 to 1999.


Peggy has written a book about her time with President Reagan titled The President Will See You Now and she is regularly asked to speak at conferences, seminars and a range of media networks across the globe about her experiences and reflections of the Reagan years.

She was delighted to hear about the Adobe Education Leaders network and was keen to meet some of the members so I organised a very last minute event with the support of YGAP at the Fest of Merit restaurant in Richmond.


This was a wonderful opportunity for these educators and leaders to meet with Peggy and discuss US politics, world politics and the education system in the US and Australia and how we are preparing young people for the future.

Peggy was gracious enough to do a video interview with me prior to the dinner about the importance of encouraging creativity.

Creativity @ Marymede


I enjoyed working with a group of talented educators at Marymede Catholic College this week, sharing with them some of the recent developments in the world of Adobe in Education.

Most of these teachers were experienced Adobe users so we were able to achieve a lot in a short space of time. I was impressed with their Photoshop & Spark skills and was delighted to introduce them to Character Animator.

This was the first of a series of events I am running this year for Victorian Catholic school with the help of Winthrop Australia.

AEL Nth American Summit 2018 – Part 3


Day 2 of the 2018 Nth American AEL Summit began with a number of participants successfully completing ACA (Adobe Certified Associate) exam qualifications that were offered by Certiport.

Then, after a welcome from Clara Galan, Tricia Lawrence (Adobe’s Senior Community Manager, Customer Care) shared information about the ACP (Adobe Community Professionals) Program and the Tech Wednesday sessions that she manages.

More info about what Trish manages can be found via


We then heard from PR firm Edelman as well as the team from Adobe Social Media. Edelman help manage Adobe’s annual creativity research projects. The Social Media team encouraged us to keep sharing the value of Adobe to our wider social networks.


Ben Slutter shared the strategy around the Adobe Creative Jams program and how it is being implemented in a number of universities.


We then had the opportunity for a sneak peak into some new initiatives that may end up as Adobe apps in the future. Some we can’t communicate yet but one that we can is Project Lincoln which featured at Adobe Max 2017. It is a cool way of making info-graphics and visualising data.


The wonderful Kelly Komode from Michigan finished off the Creative Catalyst Talks with her presentation titled Less Can Be More: Student-Driven Creative Problem Solving.


TeachMeet – Creative Catalyst Ignite Talks

A series of short Creative Catalyst Ignite Talks was a clear highlight of this year’s summit. These were led in a TeachMeet style event by Clara Galan and Greg Hodgson.


Chana Messer from the University Of Southern California was first up with a great presentation titled Telling Your Story with Adobe Spark.


Phil Badham presented some very interesting insights from the UK with the topic Building Creative Problem Solving in an Educational Age of Assessment and Anxiety.


Rebecca Hare, Art/Design teacher from Missouri is a new AEL this year and she presented a very engaging Creative Catalyst Ignite Talk titled Re-Thinking Student Work: Creation and Presentation.


Meredith Blanche, Multimedia & Technology teacher from Seattle, Washington presented the topic Letting Students Learn from Exploration.


Dan Armstrong, teacher at Ridgevue High School, Nampa, Idaho presented the topic Shaping CTE Pathway with Creative Cloud.


The amazing Joseph Labrecque from the University Of Denver presented the topic Rethinking Creative Collaborations


Andrew McAllister from Ocad University in Toronto, Canada presented the topic Revelations Big and Small: Astro and Macro Photography.


The rest of the day involved a range of focus group, allowing AELs to chat in more depth with Adobe about a range of topics. Then we all split into groups to visit the following neighbouring companies …

  • Pinterest
  • Uber
  • Pereira O’Dell
  • SocioFabrica
  • Google San Francisco
  • Airbnb
  • Remind
  • Clever, &
  • XYZ

The Goldern Gate Tap Room near downtown San Francisco was the venue for our closing dinner.


Special thank you to Clara Galan (right) and Tacy Trowbridge (left) for leading this amazing international education community and putting together a great AEL Summit.


I’m already looking forward to next year.


AEL Nth American Summit 2018 – Part 2


Tuesday, July 24th 2018 was the first full day of the Nth American Adobe Education Leaders Summit in San Francisco.

It began with an official welcome from Clara Galan, Adobe’s Global Community Lead, K-12 and Higher Education.


Then Tacy Trowbridge, Adobe’s Global Education Programs Lead  presented the topic Education Programs: 2018 and beyond. She gave us a greater insight into what has been happening and what is planned globally for Adobe in Education. Tacy also shared some of Adobe’s recent research into how Creative Problem solving is being taught in schools.


Aubrey Cattell, Adobe’s Vice President and General Manager of Adobe Spark shared about his passion for the way Adobe Spark is making a positive difference for teachers and students across the globe. He also provided an opportunity for the AELs to ask questions about current and future directions for Adobe products in Education.


Moses Kelany is a multidisciplinary Design and Art Director at Pereira & O’Dell. He spoke to the AELs about some of his projects, including his recent campaign with Coco-Cola and gave us all a perspective on how Adobe tools are being used in the design industry.


Rosy Capron (Adobe’s Project Manager for the Adobe Certified Associate program) and Ty Kenworthy (from Certiport) shard about the ACA program and its impact.


Adobe’s Head of Institutional Business World Wide Education, Johann Zimmerman informed us all about the current and future Adobe software licensing arrangements for schools and universities.


AEL, Nancy Dick, Dean of Instruction at Lake Washington Institute Of Technology in Kirkland, Washington was the first of a series of 30 min Creative Catalyst Talks for the Summit. Hers was titled Equity in Education: Your Work Matters.


Mark Shufflebottom, Professor of Interaction Design at Sheridan College, Ontario, Canada presented his Creative Catalyst talk titled The Continual Process of UX: Developing UI with Adobe XD.


Matt Dombrowski, Assistant Professor UCF & Limbitless Solutions in Orlando, Florida gave an inspirational Creative Catalyst Talk about his work with Limbitless who make affordable prosthetic limbs for young people titled Creative Empowerment: Using Creativity to Empower Children.

We then broke into a series of AEL workshop/presentation breakout sessions including:
  • Art Boards to Animatic by Matthijs Clasener from Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Creativity is The Path: Developing Lessons by Rob Schwartz from West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
  • 3D Animation Set in Outer Space by Emmalee Pearson from Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  • Web and Mobile Design: Adobe XD by Tom Green from Ontario, Canada
  • Creating Animated GIFs by Cindy Schultz from Missoula, Montana, USA
  • Using Creativity to Spark Student Journalism Susan Mango-Curtis from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA
  • Creative Cloud: A Tool for Public Outreach and Education by Seth Chambers from the Center For Advanced Research & Technology, California, USA
  • Global Leadership and Citizenship in the 21st Century by Claudir Segura from Pontificia Universidade Católica De São Paulo, Brazil
  • Refreshing Integrated Projects with Design Thinking by Matt Cauthron from Digital Arts Technology Academy, Cathedral City, California, USA
  • 3D Modeling in Photoshop by Stephen Burns from Otis College Of Art & Design, San Diego, California, USA
  • Best Practices in Online Learning by Greg Hodgson from Edge Gain Ltd, Wilstone, England


After lunch, the AELs had an opportunity to do some round table discussion sessions with a range of Adobe product managers for existing and future offering from Adobe. Each AEL signs a non-disclosure agreement to keep Adobe secrets safe.


Then we all took a bus trip to visit the Minnesota Street Project Gallery and artist work-spaces, a unique part of San Francisco that aims to encourage & rejuvenate local artists.


Day 1 of the Summit concluded at the Mission Rock Resort near the San Francisco harbour.


Stay tuned for videos from the Summit on CreateEdu TV