BLOG IMAGE Jane Tittums

Jane Tittums, Director Naanda

Jane Tittums is the Director Naanda Australia, a 100% Aboriginal Female owned company she founded in 2010 that specialises in Pest and Weed Control, Facility Management, and Labour Hire based in Karratha. As a business leader, Jane is a member of the Pilbara Indigenous Business Network Group and has recently registered the Pilbara Indigenous Business Chamber.

Jane is also a committed supporter of women and children in her local community, both through employment of women in her business, and her work volunteering and mentoring at the local youth centre.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE EXPERIENCING BLACK CLADDING?

My advice to people who might be experiencing this is to go to Indigenous Business Australia, IMG, or your local Chamber of Commerce for support and have a yarn with them. I am helping to set up Indigenous Business Chambers to assist with matters like these.

I would also advise to do your due diligence, build a relationship with the person you are partnering with and get some business knowledge around black cladding, what terms like Joint Venture mean and the difference between that and a partnership. Understand what the business terms mean and what those terms means for you as an individual. Know what reports to ask for – what projects are on the books, what is coming in and what is going out.

How do you support industry and community in your region?

When I had a cleaning contract, I used to pop into the local youth shed and have yarn to the kids. When the youth workers saw how the kids were responding to me, they asked me to be on the payroll.

The kids like you to be really present. Talk to them. Ask how they are going and really listen. Be involved in their activities in the youth centre like basketball, pool, hairstyling etc. If you are rostered on, be there. Those kids are relying on you. One of the kids, who isn’t my grandson calls me Nan. You also have to pull the kids up, call out their behaviour and send them away from the youth centre if you have to. The kids need to understand there are consequences to their choices.

I am also on the Pilbara Indigenous Business Network Group, which has been operating four years and have recently registered the Pilbara Indigenous Business Chamber. I have worked with the Karratha District Chamber of Commerce to show them how we can collaborate. We can work together to achieve more goals and I know other chambers aren’t doing that. I have helped to change the narrative. To get to that point is tricky because people want to compete rather than collaborate. But once we laid out how we can rise up together, they came on board.

It is not about the value of the money, it is about the value of the community. A lot of the time it doesn’t take money to make a change. We want to be the leaders in this in our region and show other chambers how to work together. We can change the narrative.

How have you supported women’s economic security through your business?

I had Aboriginal Mums and Grandmothers cleaning schools for me and I decided to put them through their security guard licences. They would have better conditions, not flogging their bodies, better hours, more flexibility and money. I guess it was a pivot.

I also thought the school employees were disrespectful to the women. I told the school they aren’t slaves, they are a team of workers and because you are being disrespectful, we won’t be cleaning anymore once the contract finishes.

To put the women through their security guard licence, they needed to do a course, but we still needed to clean the school. The course was eight hours a day and the cleaning takes many hours too. I spoke to their families and after the course was finished during the day, husbands, sisters and sons helped clean the school too, to support their Mums and Grandmothers to finish their security guard course. The family members didn’t do this with the intention to be paid, but I surprised them and paid them for helping to clean as well.

What is your advice to other women in business?

A lot of Aboriginal people use the environment to explain things, like the rivers and trees. So my advice is prune back things that are toxic and are not working for you. Ask yourself, what is in my life and what needs to go? I liken it to pruning a tree. When you cut the tree back, it flourishes. The other good thing is I have friends who hold me to account for the things I promise myself. It is a great support.

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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.