We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. And in this Ebook we pay our respects to 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female leaders from across Australia who are making a difference to businesses, communities, our schools and families.
12 Female Leaders
The names below will lead you to each person’s interview. Or, you can read the Ebook from cover to cover.
Leah said, “This year the firm celebrates its fifth birthday. It currently employs 80% Indigenous staff and 80% women. I am particularly passionate about giving opportunities to women in the legal sector. Unfortunately in the practice of law, work experience remains very much dependent upon ‘who you know’. We are working to change this by offering work experience and mentoring through our firm so our mob can make contacts within the legal profession early on.”
Sandra said, “Through my parades, programs, speeches and events, I aim to inform, inspire and empower.When it comes to diversity, Australian industries tend to venture forward at a snail’s pace. I feel that I along with others who coordinate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion parades throughout Australia have contributed to making positive changes. As an Aboriginal woman, I am proud that 2018 marks a 30 year history of directing and choreographing fashion parades and training models in runway and photographic work. My community parades are designed as Leadership Programs that build the confidence of our young ones in preparing for life challenges.”
Julie-ann Lambourne, Chief Executive Officer, enVizion Group, Queensland (featured on the ebook cover)
Julie-ann said, “enVizion utilises traditional practices to complement western techniques because it gives people context and the opportunity to become part of something greater than their current situation. There is a great deal of healing that occurs when people connect to their environment. Cultural and non-cultural connections provide contextualised information that accelerate learning.”
Nola said, “Our aim was to establish a ground-breaking Indigenous education site that supports all educators to become accomplished teachers of Ancient Australia. We have a huge team of educators, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, bushtucker chefs, Elders and writers across Australia. Our two ways of knowing framework includes over 56 Teachings with Aunty lesson plans including hundreds of activity ideas and printouts, along with accredited online professional development to meet the needs of the Teaching Standards of Australia.”
Cherissma Blackman, Tourism Manager, Ngardu Cultural Heritage Tours and Port Curtis Cania Callide, Queensland
Cherissma said, “I would like to see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people out on the Great Barrier Reef, showcasing this magnificent creation to the domestic and global communities. After all, we have been its caretaker for over 65,000 years. The ambition and vision of my cultural reef tours has prompted support from Tourism Vendors such as Curtis Ferries Gladstone, Sealink Townsville and Quicksilver Cairns.”
Donna said, “In 2000, Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia was a dream and a vision for the future to be a vehicle of change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve their lives through forms of media. In my past 30 years of being involved in Indigenous affairs, I realised that we had serious communication problems that were contributing to the disadvantage of our people. The dissemination of information about health, housing and education services, the telling of our stories by our people and especially the ‘good news’ stories were virtually without a presence or stereotyped in mainstream media. We needed media that was owned and controlled by Indigenous people and gave a voice and vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.”
Kristal said, “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.”
Rebecca said, “After 12 years in business, five of which has been full-time, I have great plans for the future of Ochre Dawn, but also am excited for the unplanned adventures that lie ahead. My vision for Ochre Dawn is global. I don’t dream small. Having worked in the refugee sector previously and knowing that for centuries Aboriginal people have traded internationally, I’m keen to explore further opportunities to export and import in ethical and meaningful ways.”
Nathalie said, “I feel like we are at a turning point. It’s been an awfully long time coming and with the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors and families behind us, especially our mothers, I can see that Australia is just starting to wake up. We still have a long way to go, but our country is beginning to see how much they have been deprived of a real connection with First Nations peoples. Embracing the original inhabitants of our home is the only way to move forward together and begin to heal the people and the land.”
Kylee said, “When I launched TEAM Women Australia, it was no accident I called it TEAM – it’s the acronym for Together Everyone Achieves More. I believe that leadership arises when we work together and the only way to impact change in our lifetime – and I’m talking about people living a more egalitarian life, women having equal pay, a balance of women in leadership, and flexible work – is for each and every one of us to stand up and express our own leadership. I believe leadership is about unleashing the natural strengths within each and every one of us to be a player – to be someone who is in action and responsible for their life and everything in their life turning out. It’s about getting out of the grandstands and being an observer who judges the actions of others to be someone who says, “it’s up to me”.”
Christine said, “We have so many amazing Aboriginal owned businesses across Australia. I love that some of our remote Aboriginal communities have set up enterprises and are self-funding and self-sustaining. We can all make a change and difference in our lives across the board from schooling, jobs, home ownership to Aboriginal owned businesses if we are given good opportunities. It’s not always a level playing field for Aboriginal people. We often have to work twice as hard to achieve what we do because we are forever having to prove ourselves.”
Kylie-Lee said, “Kakadu Tiny Tots was built on one Indigenous Founder’s drive and belief to succeed. I believed in my product and mission. Growing up in a small Aboriginal community I wanted to prove to Indigenous women all over Australia that if you have a dream and believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
On behalf of Femeconomy and our project partner Sharon Kinchela and Chris Figg from Ngiyani, we want to thank everyone featured in the ebook for trusting us with your story. We would also like to sincerely thank Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, the Honourable Di Farmer and the team at the Office for Women for making this national ebook possible. We would also like to thank Karen Seage and the team at Snap Underwood, Artist, Casey Coolwell and Graphic Designer, Maryanne O’Grady, for their incredible dedication, thought and care they have taken with this special project.
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