The Pathway to Success
Story House Early Learning’s Service Manager of the Year - Meena Pandey.
BY BONNIE LAXTON-BLINKHORN, KINDICARE
The Australian early education and care sector is full of bright lights; tireless and passionate individuals who bring their best to the workplace every day to ensure children receive high quality learning opportunities in a nurturing environment.
Story House Early Learning’s Service Manager of the Year Meena Pandey is one of these people, and her 14-year career speaks volumes about the importance of finding a vocation which fills your heart and your head.
Meena heads up the team at Telford Park in Victoria and says she has been sustained in her career through the strong bonds and connections she has formed with families and colleagues as well as the opportunities for ongoing learning and professional development.
Telford Park provides a homely environment for up to 96 children per day who are cared for by 30 educators, which includes the relief team.
“The care we provide is personal and we share a great bond with our families and children.”
Meena’s recent recognition as Service Manager of the Year for Story House Early Learning is testament to her commitment.
Winning the Service Manager of the Year Award is no mean feat, employees nationwide are encouraged to make nominations and these submissions are reviewed and shortlisted to six. Following a vote by the company’s leadership team, the six finalists are invited to the Story House Early Learning Awards night where the winner is announced.
Meena was selected as this year’s recipient for ‘her commitment to Story House Early Learning and for exemplifying the values of the company’.
The pathway to success
Meena’s first exposure to early learning happened when she was looking for care for her son and she says the service resonated with her straight away.
“The more I looked into how the centre worked the more it caught my attention.”
She started as a student, completed her placement, worked as a member of the relief staff, changed over to permanent, was promoted to team leader, then made second in charge and then bumped up to manager.
The best parts of the job for Meena are the strong bonds forged with families and team members and the opportunities to train and mentor staff.
“The connections I build with families, new and existing, and sharing moments with educators, families and children make every day worthwhile.
“Seeing so many people creating and achieving personal growth and being able to share my knowledge with new members coming on board is very rewarding.”
For educators in the early stages of their career, contemplating what next, Meena emphasises the importance of continuing education, “To be relevant in this profession, it is very important to keep up with education and to have access to professional development,” she says.
And she says it also helps to be great team player, “Working as a team is very important. We must be willing to give our profession our time, and we should absolutely love what we do in our work. Be happy, be positive and be ready for challenges.”
Meena says she is pleased with her career to date and wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m so happy with where I am currently, I thrive on it and look forward to what the next five years will bring. This career has given me so much to be thankful for.”