BLOG IMAGE Kristal Kinsela

Female Leader, Kristal Kinsela, Director Indigenous Professional Services

Because of Her, We Can Ebook Female Leader, Kristal Kinsela said, “I have a deep understanding that there is no success without struggle. Life isn’t easy, it will knock you down, there will be failures, there will be loss, and when you accept that you are more resilient.”

You credit your upbringing as the genesis of your resilience and reinvention. How has this experience shaped your leadership journey?

The way I see the world, the way I live my life and my values have been derived because of what I experienced. Being poor, mum on a pension and living in housing commission, I could become what surrounded me. Or, it could be the motivation to do something different. To be different. It taught me the value of hard work and determination.

On reflection, I have a deep understanding that there is no success without struggle. Life isn’t easy, it will knock you down, there will be failures, there will be loss, and when you accept that, you are more resilient. Through my work, I’m able to inspire others that they too have choices about what kind of life they want. That is empowering.

Tell us about how you created a business to create a job for yourself, and the way you’ve developed your personal business brand.

In late October 2014 I reached the end of one of the biggest battles of my life. I was living out of a suitcase. I had a villa in Port Macquarie that I lived in every second week with my kids, but commuted to Sydney the other week to work. When in Sydney I slept on people’s lounges, stayed with family, in hotels and backpackers too. I spent thousands on legal fees over two years fighting a bitter custody battle in court for my two children.

When the decision was handed down that we had 50 percent shared care and the children remain in Port Macquarie, I was gutted. I quit my job within 48 hours. I looked for a few months for a job, but when December arrived, and I had no options, I created a business to create a job. I registered a sole trader ABN in January 2015.

2015 was a year of learning. After two failed business partnerships, I sub-contracted to other Indigenous businesses to make ends meet. It was through subcontracting that I met my current business partners. Months later they invited me to join Indigenous Professional Services (IPS). I took that leap of faith without really knowing them, but I trusted my gut instinct. It has paid off. This year we won the Supply Nation Certified Supplier of the Year Award.

Early on in business, one of my close friends Mitchell Ross CEO of Muru Group said that personal brand is extremely important. Companies didn’t just buy the company story, but the personal story of the owners. He told me that in business people buy relationships. They want to know who you are, where you come from and what type of person you are. I drew on this advice when I joined IPS.

IPS was unknown. However, I had a big network that could be leveraged. I wanted the people we did business with to know they were buying more than a service. As a business we’ve invested heavily in my personal brand as the face of IPS. Someone that our customers can know and trust. This has involved my engagement at all stages of the business through business development, tendering, and in delivery.

Indigenous Professional Services is on a significant growth trajectory. How have you differentiated IPS in the market and what are your key business practices?

Management consulting in general is one of the easiest markets to enter. In the Indigenous business sector, it is the same and one of the largest and almost over populated industries. We realised early on that most Indigenous consultants focus on Indigenous specific work, such as delivering cultural awareness training or developing reconciliation action plans.

We didn’t want to be pigeon holed into Indigenous specific work because we were an Indigenous business. As Directors, we had proven track records in accounting, human resources and organisational development and training. We defined our service offerings aligned to our skills around business capability, research and organisational development, change management and leadership.

Tell us about participating in the Closing the Gap Special Gathering as a NSW representative.

When I was called to attend the Special Gathering, I was quite overwhelmed. To be brought together with 80 Indigenous leaders from across the country and be one of only six from NSW, I felt the pressure, but understood I had a big responsibility to all NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

As one of ten representatives and the only representative from NSW to meet with the Prime Minister and First Ministers at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in February, I was nervous but I went in prepared. The area I was selected to speak on was economic development, and I took the time to highlight the success of the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Procurement Policy, and what it had meant to my business. I asked the States and Territories to follow suit with their own policies. I also highlighted the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in leadership and economic development.


Di Farmer MPThe National Because of Her, We Can Ebook is a tribute to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Right across Australia there are endless examples of strong and successful Indigenous women leading the way. This Ebook shines a light on 12 of our country’s Indigenous women, including four Queenslanders, who are leading and succeeding in business. These women show the strength, resilience, hard work, creativity and intelligence that are crucial elements in business success. Their stories, journeys and the lessons learned are as diverse as they are, but all offer inspirational advice.

The Honourable Di Farmer MP

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence

Queensland Government


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.