- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Dianne Collins – Canberra, ACT
Dianne is originally from Condobolin, NSW, Wiradjuri country and lives in the Canberra/Queanbeyan community. Dianne works for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs as a Senior Project Officer and her particular focus is on strengthening partnerships within the community. She has extensive experience working within her community on various committees including Indigenous Education Consultative Board, NAIDOC, Reconciliation, the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elected body and organising many various activities and community events. Dianne has four children who keep her very busy. Di has presented at the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference in Edmonton, Canada in 2006 as an advanced leadership opportunity with the National Indigenous Leadership program and gained valuable experience from this. Di continues to challenge herself working within Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and within her community.
Lexine Solomon – Canberra, ACT
At the centre of Lexine's life is a love for music. She is a singer/songwriter and for her, music is more than her life can contain. Lexine is the eldest of seven children. Her mother is a South Sea Islander - her father is a Torres Strait Islander. Lexine's parents died over twenty years ago and their legacy lives on through her. Lexine was raised in a sugar cane town in North Queensland. Lexine has more than twenty years music experience as a professional soloist, backing vocalist, choir conductor, recording artist and music producer in Australia, the USA and in Europe. Lexine has recorded a debut music CD and has been recorded on compilations and guest music recordings. Lexine has performed at scores of festivals and other celebratory events since the 1980s. Lexine believes that for those with a dream to grow in their music, it is the greatest pleasure to be able to bring out the best in them and to see their dreams being fulfilled. The journey for her has been a rewarding and uplifting experience.
[ top ]
Gwenda Caldwell – Casino, NSW
Gwenda is from Bundjalung country, Casino, NSW. In 2001, Gwenda received a Diploma in Aboriginal Health and Community Development at the University of Sydney NSW. Since 2001 Gwenda has been employed by "Dharah Gibinj" (which means Healing Place) Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) at Casino. Gwenda received a Certificate IV in Audiometry through Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) and is now acting OTITIS Media Health Worker for twelve months at the AMS. Gwenda is currently involved in a women's forum in Lismore that aims to start a Bundjalung Regional Women's Group, out of this Gwenda feels that "We as women could try and deal with some issues involving our youth in the area."
Cathy Hillard – Lismore, NSW
Cathy is a Bundjalung woman from Lismore, NSW. Cathy’s background is in social science and social work and she has worked within a number of different community and government based service providers. Cathy is currently undertaking a Masters Arts. The topic she is studying is 'Identity and internalised racism within the education system. Cathy has also voluntarily been involved in a number of community projects such as 'Pay the Rent in the Bundjalung region' and 'Pay the Rent dates back to 1837.' Cathy is passionate about social justice and equal opportunity for all people. Cathy dreams of developing healthy ecological and economical sustainable communities.
Elli Callaghan – Taree, NSW
Elli Callaghan is from Taree, NSW. In 2002, Elli and her husband, with the support of the local Elders and the Indigenous community, formed a youth service called "Ghinni Ghinni" Youth and Culture Aboriginal Corporation. The corporation was set up to cater to the needs of the youth in Elli's area. The organisation is growing so fast that Elli and her husband are negotiating with the Indigenous Land Corporation and the Indigenous Communication Centre for a larger venue. Elli has a certificate IV in Governance and a certificate IV in youth work. Aboriginal Student Support Parent Awareness (ASSPA) is a main focus for Elli, where she works to assist students in educational workshops, excursions and school clothing. She is currently the treasurer for Biripi Aboriginal Medical Service, where she enjoys working with the community. Elli also teaches over forty-five Indigenous people basic computer skills so they can use these skills to gain employment.
Desley Mason – Dubbo, NSW
Desley is from a small community in far west NSW, Goodooga. Her people are the Yuwaalaraay people. In 2001 Desley graduated with a Diploma in Indigenous Primary Health and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science in Community and Public Health at Charles Sturt University in Dubbo. She is employed at the Goodooga Health Service as an Aboriginal Health Education Officer and has worked there for the past twelve years. Desley describes herself as honest and proud of her family, especially her dad. Desley's vision for her community is to have a healthier culture for women, men and children.
[ top ]
Kim Curtis-Newton – Tamworth, NSW
Kim grew up in Awabakal country in Newcastle but has lived for the past fifteen years amongst the Kamilaroi people of Tamworth. Kim felt that she may have been disadvantaged at school due to her hearing impairment; however, Kim overcame any disadvantages and successfully completed her first degree at Newcastle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, with a major in welfare. Kim's second degree, Diploma of Education, came in 1992, employment as a Teacher for the deaf and hearing impaired came soon afterwards. Much of Kim's work takes her to Aboriginal communities where long term hearing loss amongst community members is quite high. Kim is a member of the newly formed NSW Aboriginal Disability Network (NSWADN) and is the only rural member on the network. Kim has had many opportunities to speak at forums in which she represents Indigenous women with a disability. Kim believes that her role is to assist her community to work towards achieving their basic rights in relation to housing, health and income as this would lead to self-determination.
Jenny Hayes – Wyong, NSW
Jenny is an Aboriginal descendant of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales. She has a strong love for her culture which she interprets through her art. Jenny paints the stories that have been handed to her through her mother and grandmother. Jenny is currently employed by the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council and as an active and vocal member of the Darkinjung Land Council Jenny has been elected to sit on the Housing committee. Jenny also sits on the Board of the Yerin Aboriginal Health Centre (also known as the Eleanor Duncan Health Centre) as the Treasurer. In Jenny's life she has been faced with many issues, but people who really know her say she's a person you can rely on in the hard times, a person who is honest and caring.
Donna Ingram – Matraville, NSW
Donna Ingram is a Wiradjuri woman and she resides in the Sydney suburb of Matraville. Donna is the proud mother of four children (three boys and one girl). Donna holds a Diploma in Community Management from Tranby Aboriginal College in Glebe and is keen to undertake further study to gain her degree. Donna firmly believes that education is vital for the further development of Aboriginal people and their communities. Donna is extremely excited about being selected to participate in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program, Donna believes the Program has already enhanced her existing skills, and will continue to do so, and it has provided her with a wonderful network of deadly Aboriginal women to share ideas and support. Donna is busy planning her community gathering and looks forward to completing the program.
Lois Towney - Bonnells Bay, NSW
Lois is a mother of two, Grandmother of eight, and is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri people of NSW. Lois has had and continues to have extensive employment and involvement with the Aboriginal community in NSW, in Aboriginal organisations, the private sector as well as in government. Through her work and networks, she has been responsible for $3 million of funding for the Gilgandra Community. Lois completed the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Community Planning Training Program and received an Achievement Award from TAFE and NSWALC. After five years in this position and the loss of her husband (1997) and only grandson (1998) Lois had to re-evaluate her life. Lois now works as Coordinator of the Koompahtoo Local Aboriginal Land Council in Toronto (Newcastle, Lake Macquarie region). Lois enjoys the challenges of each day and is rewarded with warmth and eagerness each time a barrier is crossed. Lois loves helping her people. She is a born-again Christian and believes God plays a very important role in her life. The Indigenous Women's Leadership Program has been a very soul searching course for Lois; it assists her to look at herself as a community person and helps her to re-evaluate herself and her thinking. Lois believes networking with other deadly leaders right across Australia is tremendous and rewarding.
[ top ]
Samantha Daniels – Docker River, NT
Samantha is from Docker River, Northern Territory and her traditional country is Pitjatjarra or Pitjatja-Jarra community. Samantha is honest with her community and works hard in her to show leadership and commitment. Samantha joined the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program as she aspires to be a strong leader.
Tania Luckey – Imanpa, NT
Tanya Luckey comes from a small community in the Central Australian region called Imanpa and is a Yankunytjatjara and Parteme woman who really values her family and her community. Within Tanya's community Tanya is the voice for all the young people. Tanya would like to see more young people in her community gain a better education so that they will be the future leaders who will be able to help run their own communities.
Tania Blackmore – Howard Springs, NT
Tania is an Arrernte woman living in Darwin and she is currently working at Palmerston Connect Program. Connect is a program for twelve - eighteen year olds who are at risk of homelessness. The program engages and supports young people with school, sexual health, healthy relationships, family medication, income support, family conflict and access the wider community. While living in Alice Springs, Tania worked at Ampe Akweke Place, a home for first time mothers. She also worked in the Commonwealth Government for ten years. Tania is a Mum of a very lively five year old girl. Tania has almost completed Certificate IV in Alcohol and other Drugs Counseling and Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training. She was involved with National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations and is a Registered Trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Tania has experienced a rollercoaster journey and is believes that the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program is a new opening for her in her area and her life.
Esther Croydon – Tennant Creek, NT
Esther Croydon is a descendant from north Queensland. She is employed as a Housing Officer with Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation in Tennant Creek. Esther has worked as a Trainer and in developing programs and policies in Domestic Violence. Esther was the Northern Territory representative on Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATISIC) Women's Advisory Committee. She is also the Northern Territory representative with the Commonwealth Development of the Financial and Management programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Home And Community Care (HACC) Services. In the future, Esther hopes to establish the Homemakers Program which gives women in her community skills, in areas such as; house maintenance, budgeting, health, dressmaking, arts and crafts and environmental health.
[ top ]
Frances Ivinson – Jabiru, NT
Frances is a Torres Strait Islander woman, born and raised in Darwin, NT. Frances has worked as a Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker in central Australian communities, and in Aboriginal community controlled health organisations. Frances is currently completing her Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Islander Primary Health Care and has a Certificate III in Primary Health Care, and Certificate IV in Primary Health Care. Frances' interests lie in the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health field and supporting community members and leaders to assist their communities with positive change. Her goal is to improve her community through reducing child sexual assault, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), Mental Health and increasing the equality of Aboriginal Health Workers work and living conditions, promotions and training.
Stephanie Anderson – Borroloola, NT
Stephanie is a Garrawa woman from Borroloola, her hobbies are fishing, hunting, jewelry making, horse riding and listening to music. Stephanie is currently working as an Administration Assistant / Librarian and is active in a number of committees. Stephanie was elected on the local shire council this year. At twenty-two years of age she was the youngest councilor elected on the council at Borroloola with the highest votes on record. Stephanie's goals are to further her knowledge, leadership skills and public speaking skills so that she can speak out confidently to develop her community through better communication.
Gloria Friday – Borroloola, NT
Gloria lives in Borroloola, Northern Territory; she originally comes from Doomadgee, Queensland and was born in Burke Town in 1959. Gloria is married with one daughter and three grandsons. Gloria is a teacher's aid at the Borroloola School where she has worked for the past eight years. Gloria is a councilor for the community government. Gloria enjoys sport and is a keen softball player and she uses this where she works to address problems faced in her community. Gloria also cares for her family and enjoys working with kids. Gloria enjoyed the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program, especially meeting and learning from other women. In her community, Gloria hopes she can be strong for her people and encourage young ones.
Nancy Sweeney – Ludmilla, NT
Nancy comes from a family of twelve children and her mother was a proud Larrakian woman from Darwin. Nancy believes her father was a major influence in her life. Nancy has two beautiful daughters and has been a single mum for the past thirteen years. Nancy works with an organisation called "Save the Children" as a family support worker. By participating in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program, Nancy is now able to take the skills she has learnt back to the communities that she works with to develop their leadership and living skills.
Edna Nelson – Ngukarr, NT
Edna is a Rittangua woman and is now living in Ngukurr community. She likes going out camping, fishing and making new friends. Edna would like to improve her leadership qualities and to build on her confidence to speak out and become a leader in her own community, as well as to attend women's meetings throughout the region.
Wendy Puautjimi – Bathurst Island, NT
Wendy was born and educated in Perth, WA and is married with five children and has five grandchildren. Wendy has worked on several Management committees in various roles. She has been employed by Centrelink, the WA Health Department, Federal Court of Australia – Native Title division and several Aboriginal organisations. Wendy is currently employed by Tiwi Islands Local Government as Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. Wendy has also worked with Wanigatunga Strong Women's Group. Wendy's interests are family, friends and helping others.
Rachel McDinny – Darwin, NT
Rachel is from Borroloola, Northern Territory, where she has lived her whole life. She is a single mother and has spent all her life with family and friends and enjoys hunting, fishing and gathering bush tucker with them. Rachel has been involved with two documentary films. The films were called "Journey East" (buwarrala karriya) and "Aeroplane Dance." As an Indigenous Women's Leadership Program participant, Rachel is finding the program very interesting, she feels that what she has learnt from the program is the capacity to build on her abilities to speak clearly in a strong voice and have respect for others. Rachel would like to share her knowledge and skills with her community.
Leanne Marawili – Nhulunbuy, NT
Leanne lives in Nhulunbuy, her traditional country is Gurkawuy in north-east Arnhem Land and her family is at Yirrkala. She is employed as an Aboriginal Health Worker at Gove District Hospital. Leanne is a hard worker in her community and is a deadly artist who has taught her brother and sister to paint. She loves hunting, fishing, getting bush foods, painting and carving and is a big support to her people. Leanne would like to one day set up an outstation where young children who are in trouble can stay and receive help from their Elders. Leanne feels that by participating in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program she will learn leadership skills and be in a better position to not only improve the health of the Yolgnu people, but to motivate them to achieve self determination and self management.
Gracie White – Lajamanu, NT
Gracie is a Warlpiri woman from Lajamanu, Northern Territory. Gracie works at the Lajamanu Community Education Centre (CEC) as a Teacher. She would like to meet other women from all over Australia and to share ideas and stories. Gracie likes reading magazines and going hunting. Gracie would like to be a leader in her community and hopes to develop her leadership qualities in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program.
[ top ]
Yvette Holt – Inala, QLD
Yvette Holt is a descendant of the Bidjara and Wakaman nations of central QLD and the Atherton Tablelands of far north QLD. She was born in Brisbane and her family has lived in the Inala area for over forty years. Yvette is a graduate of the Faculty of Business University of Technology, Sydney where she commenced a Masters in Management in 2006. She is an award winning poet who recently won the David Unaipon Queensland Premier Literary Award for her unpublished manuscript "Anonymous Premonition. Yvette speaks nationally and internationally on Family and Domestic Violence in Indigenous Australian communities. She is Vice President of the Inala Community Justice Group, Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Women's Alliance in south-east QLD, and is an active committee member of the Brisbane Tidda's reference Group against Sexual, Family and Domestic Violence. In 2003, Yvette was awarded the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Human Rights Award for her "outstanding contribution to Reconciliation and to the advancement of Social Justice and Human Rights for Indigenous Australians."
Ethel Munn – Roma, QLD
Ethel is from the Gunggari people in south-west QLD. She has been involved in Aboriginal issues all her adult life, particularly in the field of education, women and girls. Ethel is on various committees advising Ministers on issues on local and state levels. In 2001 Ethel was awarded the Centenary Medal and in 1999 the Australian Achievers Award. Ethel's current focus is on the Tumba Deri Program in Mitchell, where she is pleased to be sharing and teaching Illarmargam youth about land, language and culture.
Lesley Williams – Clayfield, QLD
Lesley grew up in the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community. Lesley is now working in the South Queensland Regional Office of DATSIP specifically in the area of Reparation. In 2003, Lesley was awarded the Centenary Medal and the South East Queensland National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Award for her excellent contribution for distinguished service to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community. Apart from her job and work in the community, Lesley is also writing a book with her daughter Tammy which she hopes to have published in the near future.
Peggy Tidyman – Brisbane, QLD
Peggy is a Gungarri woman from Mitchell in south-west QLD. Peggy is very knowledgeable about Aboriginal community issues, local issues and consults with Elders; she also advocates on behalf of others and is sensitive to other people's issues. Peggy would like for her community to be empowered, become stronger and build a better community for the children and grand-children. Peggy would like to see the levels of domestic and family violence reduced and to provide sports and cultural programs for youth affected by drugs and alcohol. Peggy is interested in standing as a candidate for the local government and believes that the Leadership Program will help her to gain the confidence to make big decisions.
[ top ]
Joanne Solomon – Townsville, QLD
Joanne is from the Birri-gubba-Mian-Wimanyl tribe and is a southern Murray born in Brisbane and raised west of Mt Isa. Joanne is involved in the women's (Julubu) group at Happy Valley and assists Indigenous elders and women to take up various interests. Joanne is a dedicated Indigenous woman with a great passion for the enhancement of Indigenous women in leadership positions. Joanne has completed a traineeship for Certificate III in Business Administration. Joanne believes her participation in the Indigenous women's Leadership has given her the skills to assist in developing a vision and a plan for future generations.
Barbara (Barbie) Lekau – Kirwan, QLD
Barbara's journey commenced nearly fifty-five years ago in Mt Isa, Queensland and she is a proud spiritual grass roots Kalkadoon/ Waanyi woman. Barbara is the mother of eight grown up children and has seventeen grandchildren. Barbara has a deep love and respect for her people and has worked for thirty-five years in all 'holistic' Indigenous affairs at local, state, regional and national levels. She is not working at the moment, however, she belongs to a couple of Disability Groups Advocacy of the Tropics and North Queensland Disability Council in Townsville areas. Barbara has always known she has leadership qualities, but has never had the opportunity like the Leadership Program to have it recognised. The Indigenous Women's Leadership Program has given Barbara the opportunity and she is grabbing it with everything she has got to see it through now and for her future. To Barbara her people, country, spirituality, family history, heritage and community are her unity and life.
Shenane Law – Murgon, QLD
Shenane is a single mother with three children. Shenane works at an alternative school in Murgon and her main role is looking at long term disengaged Indigenous students who are not coping in the current education system. She is a volunteer to a local young women's support group, "The Sista Girl Project" and has been involved with this group for two years as a mentor to young mothers and girls. Shenane enjoys this work and feels she has learnt a lot about young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's problems, concerns and their stories. Shenane and the other mentors organise meetings, youth forums, workshops for the sister girls to learn about health and their bodies, education, self-esteem, cultural identity, chroming (chemical inhalants) and other information required. Shenane's vision is to live in a happier community that is safe for everyone, utilises the resources properly, sustains economic development and be free from violence.
Juanita Johnson – Stafford Heights, QLD
Juanita is a Wiri woman and her language group is Birri Gubba. Juanita has had the opportunity to live and travel to Indigenous communities in the USA and Canada. Her vision for the community is to increase the health and culture of the Indigenous women and children in Brisbane's Northside community. Juanita would like to one day have the opportunity to travel to Cuba to experience the political atmosphere of that country. Juanita is recognised as a leader through her involvement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and community organisations.
Elizabeth Clay (Snr) – Townsville, QLD
Elizabeth was born and raised on Palm Island. She is a descendant of the Kalkadoon people of Mt Isa on her father's side and the KoKolmudji and Angumathimiri people of Hopevale and Old Mapoon. Elizabeth became involved in drugs and alcohol and as a result of her rehabilitation Elizabeth is dedicated and passionate about her work to rehabilitate alcoholics and drug addicts in a culturally appropriate environment. Recently Elizabeth started working towards the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and establishes Special Units in community schools. Elizabeth is a facilitator in the Cultural Awareness Program for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a mentor for the Sister Support Program with Soroptimist at Palm Island and sat on the National Indigenous Women's Roundtable for Family and Domestic Violence. Elizabeth currently sits on the Board of Ferdy's Haven Rehabilitation Centre and does volunteer community work.
Tammie Harrison – Townsville, QLD
Tammie is a single mother of three beautiful children. She grew up in Cherbourg, Queensland and is a descendant of the traditional owners of Townsville, the Bindal people. Tammie works as a Youth Support Coordinator where she provides support information and referrals to young people at risk of engaging from the school system. Over the past three years she has worked extensively with women and children escaping domestic violence, young homeless girls and youth. One of Tammie's visions is to see communities taking a zero tolerance level in regards to domestic family violence in their homes and in the communities. Tammie believes this would enable women and children to live safely in their homes free from abuse.
[ top ]
Tania Ault – Charters Towers, QLD
Tania is from Charters Towers in North West Queensland, 135km inland from Townsville. Tania has two sons and they are descendants of the Mgulakai clan group which is part of the larger Kudjala nation. In 2002 and 2003 Tania served as Vice President of the local housing cooperative, she is currently the President of the Kutjala Playgroup and Kindergarten Inc. which has been in operation for the past twenty-five years. In her community. Tania was nominated to officially welcome visitors and delegates to country. Tania is very proud and honoured when her community ask her to speak publicly on their behalf as this gives her the opportunity to share culture with others. To Tania's knowledge there has never been a person in her community given this honour.
Tima Ah Wang – Sarina, QLD
Tima is of Torres Strait Island descent born in Mackay and lives in Sarina which is thirty kilometers south of Mackay. Tima has seven children. She is training and working to be a teacher's aide at Sarina pre-School and does Level I Coaching with Sarina Athletics Club. She loves children and encourages and supports them because they are the future leaders. Tima is also doing a Diploma in Community Development at Shalom in Townsville. She is involved with the women's group which concentrates on training, supporting and living healthier lifestyles to make us stronger women and leaders within our community. Tima would like to take back what she has learnt to the women in her community, to help and support them so they can be strong and effective leaders within our community.
Josephine Sailor – Townsville, QLD
Josephine currently resides in Townsville, north Queensland. She is from the Olkola and Kalkadunga tribes of North West Queensland. Josephine holds a Bachelor of Arts and is the Director of the Tugulawa Aboriginal Women's Corporation which is a refuge that meets the needs of Aboriginal women and children escaping domestic violence. Josephine also sits on the Reference Group for the James Cook University and she is a member of the Julba Jalabu Women's Group. Josephine is keen to incorporate her visions for her community into her learning experience while participating in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program. Josephine is looking forward to meeting all leadership challenges that lie ahead.
Ella Bowie – Thursday Island, QLD
Ella was born and raised on Thursday Island. Ella's mother is a direct descendant of Gemai and Ella's father is from St Paul's community on Moa Island. Ella works as a Human Resources Manager at Torres Strait & Bamagou Health Services District (QLD Health). Ella has written ten children’s books and her goal is to get them published. Ella would like to see her community to become self-reliant, develop local businesses for local people, especially women in business and establish powerful women. Ella has established policies and procedures for the community council, established a community 'mini-market', as well as establishing a hardship allowance for members of the community council. Ella would like to establish a women's training group where women can be more proactive and be able to stand up for their rights and never to accept second best. Ella is recognised as a leader in her community because she has the respect of the Elders within her community and people believe that Ella can make a change.
Barbara Bally – Lockhart River, QLD
Barbara is from the Lockhart River community via Iron Range in Queensland. She is a strong lady who is trying to help her community in any way she can. Barbara's major achievement has been developing a plan to incorporate healthy food into the Lockhart River canteen as a business opportunity. Barbara's community is a good place to live because she can go fishing anywhere and she would like to see her community grow more and would like all the young women to join in with the women Elders and to gain employment. Barbara is not yet recognised as a leader however it will happen one day in her community.
Vanessa Deakin – Pormpuraaw, QLD
Vanessa is from Pormpuraaw in Queensland. Her traditional country is Wathoman Outstation and Pormpuraaw, she is a descendant of the Thaayorne people and her language is Kuuk Yak. Vanessa is searching for something and yet something makes her eager to keep looking, she feels she is bound for greatness and is very proud of having an Aboriginal name. Vanessa is good at motivating people, seeing problems from a different angle and explaining the issues at hand, fishing, hunting, no fear attitude, trying, assisting others and learning. She would one day like to go skydiving, bungy jumping or take up an influential position for her region in politics and would like to learn how to fly a plane.
Grace Fischer – Moa Island, QLD
Grace is from St Pauls Village, Moa Island in the Torres Strait. Her traditional language is Kala Lagau Ya from her grandmothers' side of the family and Meriam Mer from her mother. Grace describes herself as visionary, a pioneer who likes to break new ground: inspirational; and a caring person. Grace would like to help facilitate and organise development in Indigenous Australian communities by providing innovative, culturally appropriate and practical solutions to achieve their dreams and aspirations – whatever they may be. Grace is recognised as a respected elder. Her style of leadership is to lead by example, preferring to take the initiative to do things along with the community. Grace is looking forward to applying what she has learnt through the leadership program in her local community and to influence others to take on the passion she has.
Esther Illin – Gulliver, QLD
Esther was born in a sugar cane town in Queensland but was raised in Townsville. Esther has worked in the public service for over twenty-five years in the Health and Welfare areas and has worked for both State and Commonwealth Departments. Esther’s passion is working in the Aged and Disabled areas. Esther worked as the first Aboriginal Rehabilitation Officer in Australia and the first Aboriginal Liaison Officer in Queensland Health for the Aged Care Assessment Team, where she is currently employed. Esther received a certificate in 1979 in community welfare, a special course for Aboriginal people, and in 1987 she completed one year full time at the Cumberland College of Health Services passing all her exams with distinctions and high distinctions. Esther has also been Justice of the Peace and has been Commissioner for Declarations since 1986.
[ top ]
Colleen Sam - Mt Gravatt, QLD
Colleen is from the Kalkadoon Tribe in the Mount Isa region. Colleen works in the Indigenous Families' Support Unit as the Administration and Community Outreach Worker. In this position Colleen has found her voice in assisting Indigenous people who are disadvantaged by many factors such as social, economic and geographic. Realising that helping her people is definitely one of her greatest passions, Colleen applied for the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program and aims to develop her leadership skills to foster the advancement and empowerment of her people and encourage other young Indigenous women to do the same.
Susan Sewter – Gununa, QLD
Susan Sewter comes from Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland. Susan is Lardil with other traditional ties to Waayni and Gangalidda on the mainland coast. Susan's profession is teaching, however in 2004 she stepped down from teaching to take on the position of Mayor of the Mornington Shire Council. Susan is a strong advocate of maintaining her peoples' culture and values that have been passed down through the generations. Susan's community is strong in its culture and along with other leaders from her community is fighting to ensure that the community maintains what it has as well as resurrect what has been lost. Susan's vision for her community is to provide a place where everyone feels safe, where the community has confidence, and where it has access to an effective workforce to pursue an economic base that ensures a sustainable future for its children and children's children, whilst maintaining the values and culture passed down by the elders.
Isobel Stephen – Moa Island, QLD
Isobel is from St Pauls Village, Moa Island in the Torres Strait. Isobel is a strong, honest, respectable and an understanding person. Isobel's would like for her community to help improve the well-being of the people, so they can have a better quality of life, especially the children and their families. She is a good advocate for children, cooking, gardening, sewing and bead making. Isobel is recognised as a leader due to her commitment, cultural authority, respect and support to Council families on all outer islands plus network of contacts on individual islands.
Sylvia Tabua – Thursday Island, QLD
Sylvia is from Thursday Island - Queensland. She is of Papua New Guinea and Torres Strait Island descent with family ties to Yorke Island. Sylvia is friendly, outgoing, humorous, caring, passionate, loving, loyal, respectful, and a good communicator. She has been a radio broadcaster for ten years, but is currently involved in the Torres Strait Regional Health Pilot Project. Sylvia has also been involved in community events and is currently the Chairperson for the Torres Strait Cultural Festival due to her role as a Councillor for the Torres Shire Council. Sylvia's would like her community to develop and provide a harmonious community for people of all ages from children to elders. She has a vision that she can look at the community's needs and services and bring unity to her community by holding community events. Sylvia would like to start her own production company called "Matha Paipa" Productions. The company will produce Torres Strait music, documentaries, radio, television and newsletters.
Charlotte Tamwoy – Badu Island, QLD
Charlotte grew up and currently lives on Badu Island, located in the Torres Strait, and is a councillor in her community. Charlotte is responsible for a number of portfolios including health. In addition to performing her responsibilities as an elected council member, Charlotte for the past ten years has been a Director of Long Day Care Centre. Charlotte would like to expand her knowledge through the leadership program and to use the skills she gains to assist other leaders in her community to plan for the future. She would like to be a strong leader in her community.
Majorie (Mona) Townson – Seisia, QLD
Mona is currently employed by Queensland Education as a Teacher's Aide. She has been involved in a number of community events as volunteer including the Bamaga Show, Basketball Committee, Seisia's Women's Group and the Seisia's Justice Group. Mona's community of Seisa is a small community; she would like to use the opportunity of the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program to create an event that will bring the women of the community together. Mona would like to see more women in her community take on leadership positions in the future.
Enid Surha – Townsville, QLD
Enid was raised in the township of Macknade in the district of Ingham, north of Townsville, she now resides in Townsville. Enid is currently employed as a Community Liaison Officer in the Integrated Indigenous Strategy Unit, Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ). Her role is to promote the services of LAQ to Indigenous people living in Townsville, north to Tully, west to Charters Towers and south to Mackay and Palm Island. As a community advocate Enid assists Indigenous clients to use mainstream legal services to get fair and equal justice in their legal matters, she enjoys her role of assisting Indigenous people to bridge the gap between lawyers and courts. Enid's vision is to ensure her community receives legal information on all legal matters such as family, civil, criminal, consumer, anti-discrimination and many other areas of law. Prior to commencing employment with LAQ, Enid assisted in establishing Heartland Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) Co-Operative Ltd in Mackay, Queensland. Along with a successful establishment of the organisation in Mackay, eight other satellites were opened in Sarina, Mackay, Ayr, Charters Towers, Hughenden and Richmond. The successful implementation of CDEP programs across the region has encouraged Enid's interest in community development. Enid aims to use the skills and knowledge gained on the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program to assist her to speak with greater confidence in the community.
[ top ]
Lorraine Kartinyeri – Murray Bridge, SA
Lorraine was born in Tailem Bend, South Australia and was raised in a neighbouring town called Murray Bridge, along the Murray River. Lorraine believes that she inherited her values from her parents and this has led her to the supportive community role she currently holds. Lorraine works in Children's services, youth programs and education. Her current position supports reunification of the family unit. Lorraine's deep passion is to support the health and well-being of children and their families. Lorraine believes that being apart of the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program and working for Children Youth and Family Services she is working to provide Indigenous people in her community the tools needed to rebuild and take charge of their families and lives.
Vicki Newchurch – Kooniba, SA
Vicky grew up and lives in Kooniba community, South Australia, where she works with the Women's Group. In 2004 Vicki served as a Councillor on the Community governing Council for one year. Vicki would like to increase her skills and knowledge as the Coordinator of the Kooniba Women's Group through the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program. Vicki wishes to learn more about Indigenous issues on a wider scale and be able to use this knowledge to plan and determine the future of the women's groups for the benefit of all women in her community. She believes as her skills and knowledge increases, she will gain more confidence and hopes to become a good role model for other women in the community and be an effective leader.
Emma Richards – Port Lincoln, SA
Emma was born and raised in Port Lincoln and has been heavily involved in many governance and social roles within the Indigenous community. Emma is the Secretary of both the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Community Council and the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service; she is also the Vice-Chairperson of the Port Lincoln Children's Centre and the Wambiri Association Inc which is a family incorporation. Emma is a board member of the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Women's group and is also a member of the Aboriginal Health Advisory Committee; she is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in Aboriginal Policy and Management. Emma would like to be able to empower all the women in her community and enhance her own personal development, and would like to create a powerful network for Indigenous women to support each other within local, state and national community levels.
Ina Scales – Pipalyatjara, SA
Ina is from the Pipalyatjara community, north west of SA and her language is Pitjantjatjara. Ina was born in Alice Springs, raised in Kalka homeland and is the eldest of four children. Ina has completed her Aboriginal Health Workers Certificate and has worked at the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council as a Child Nutrition Project Officer. In August 2005, Ina moved back to Pipalyatjara to look after her grandmother and was voted by her community members as their Anangu Liaison Officer. Ina is looking forward to assisting her people in the running of their community.
Kerry White – Peterborough, SA
Kerry is a Nurrunga woman from Point Pearce, South Australia. She is currently working at the Port Pirie Community Centre, where there are eight hundred and forty Aboriginal people in her community made up from seven different groups. Kerry began her working career as a nurse and continued working in hospitals and aged care facilities until she married and had children. As a wife and mother Kerry ran a successful business for thirteen years, during which time she was captain and coach of the netball team, which took the championship four years in a row, un-defeated. Kerry is the Aboriginal representative on the mid-North Regional Health Planning Committee, she is also a volunteer with the Victim Support Service, and she is also the coordinator of the Port Pirie Aboriginal Community Centre and member on the Central Council Committee. Kerry's next goal is to develop a Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) with her local Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC).
Eunice Aston – Murray Bridge, SA
Eunice is an Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia and a mother of nine and a grandmother of thirteen. Eunice is passionate about Aboriginal women's issues such as; family, culture, spirituality, womanhood, leadership and community. She has been involved in working with women's issues for the past twenty years and is a member of Aboriginal Women's State wide Advisory Council (AWSAC). Eunice is employed as an Aboriginal Health Worker with Meningie Community Health, and would like to increase her knowledge or processes, leadership skills, self esteem, personal development and network with other women around Australia. Eunice specialises in Aboriginal women's health, workplace training and assessments, family wellbeing counselling and also delivers workshops for the Well Women's Program, Grief and Loss and Self-Esteem for Women and assists with other programs. Eunice would also like to share these skills gained with women (young and old) in her community.
Kym Chamberlain – Port Lincoln, SA
Kym is a descendant of the Arabuna and Pitjantjajtara people. She grew up in Ceduna and Port Augusta and currently resides in Point Pearce, Port Lincoln. Kym is the Coordinator of the Port Augusta Youth Centre and was previously the Aboriginal Justice Officer with the Courts Administration. Kym has been involved with the Aboriginal Family Resource Unit, a board member for the Bungala Community Development Employment Program for the Port Augusta Youth Centre Executive and Management Committee and a board member with the Aboriginal Justice Advocacy Committee. Kym was involved in the Aboriginal Sports Carnival in Port Augusta where two teams of netballers were formed; she was also involved in the committee to run the first ever regional forum for young people from the Flinders Ranges and Outback. The forum was established to assist youth in addressing issues that they may face. Kym was employed by the courts and undertook a Justice Administration Certificate. Kym believes the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program will assist giving her a better understanding of leadership and providing the necessary skills to become a leader.
[ top ]
Averil Dean – Albany, WA
Averil grew up in the Gnowangerup and Tambellup districts and lives in Albany. Averil is committed to the local Aboriginal community as demonstrated through her membership on the Board of Management of the Albany Aboriginal Corporation for the past twelve years. Averil is also committed to the pursuit of better educational outcomes for Aboriginal Youth and has been a member of the Catholic Education Committee (South West) for the past six years and is a member for the University of Western Australia's Sustainability Trust Fund. Averil dedicates her time to volunteer work within her community. She would like to broaden her network in order to improve the delivery of services to the Aboriginal people in the Great Southern region of WA.
Maureen Dodd – Mungullah, WA
Maureen was born and raised on a pastoral station. Maureen currently lives in the Mungullah Aboriginal Community with her family. Maureen is a member of the governing committee of the Mungullah Community Aboriginal Corporation; she is also the Chairperson of her family company the Mundatharrda Aboriginal Corporation and Kennedy Range Indigenous Tours. Maureen is an association member of the Carnarvon Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (CMSAC) and has been on the Association Committee of the CMSAC. Maureen graduated from TAFE with a Certificate IV in Governance training and also assisted coordinate Cultural Awareness Training within the community. Maureen believes the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program will allow her the opportunity to meet women who have similar goals and that the program will benefit her community.
Josey Hansen – Perth, WA
Josey is a Nyoongah woman who has grown up with the Wilman, Balardong mob. She is the great-granddaughter of Doorum, a Nyoongah who has inspired his descendants to know and appreciate who we are, what we are and where we come from. Josey has a strong sense of her cultural and spiritual heritage and finds strength in both. Josey's main focus is the positive development of leadership in the Aboriginal community, contributing towards the advancement of Aboriginal people through Reconciliation. Josey believes that 'yarning about things', sharing our stories and effective use of networks has reached the broader community to work towards an inclusive society and serves to challenge stereotypical beliefs that are problematic in preventing people from living in harmony. Josey works from a values centered professional and ethical framework in all her dealings and will continue to do so.
Angela Krone – Merriwa, WA
Angela grew up in a strong family and all her life has strived to learn ways that would assist her to support and empower herself and her community by participating in various committees. Angela would like to develop her leadership skills so she could be more pro-active within her community. Angela has assisted in developing and facilitating a grief and loss workshop in her community and this shows she has a great deal of dedication to her family and her community. Angela has worked in the areas of domestic violence, drug and substance abuse, mental health and loves opportunities that enhance her existing skills and develop further ones.
[ top ]
Brenda Papertalk – Pia Wadjarri, WA
Brenda lives and works in Pia Wadjarri community in Western Australia, she is currently employed by the Department of Education and Training as a Language Other Than English (LOTE) Teacher in Wadjarri language at Pia Wadjarri-Remote Community School (RCS). Brenda has experience working in child care, she believes as a participant in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program she will learn and develop her skills in community decision making processes as well as improve conditions within her community. Brenda feels that by participating in the program she will become more confident and become a role model for younger girls. Brenda believes that we need to find a way to improve the outcomes for our children, ourselves and our elders.
Gladys Walker – Roebourne, WA
Gladys was born in and continues to live and work in Roebourne, which is in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. She is currently employed as a Bus Driver for the Roebourne Women's Group and is actively involved in social issues, including women's issues, education, youth, health and housing. Gladys was an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Regional Councillor for twelve years and is involved in Native Title at a local and national level. Gladys believes she has something to share with her experience and skills gained in life and would like to establish a network and develop her leadership skills to assist her community.
Jasmine Lawson – Warburton, WA
Jasmine is from Warburton community and her language group is Ngaanyatjarra. Jasmine is beautiful, deadly and strong and she smiles a lot. The Elders in her community describe her as strong and brave to represent her community on their behalf and on behalf of the Ngaanyatjarra land. Jasmine is a media worker who likes making videos in her community with all the kids and families involvement. Jasmine enjoys using a video camera, she would like to be able to look after the elderly ladies and young girls and assist them to work together and build relationships as one big group from the community. Jasmine would like to be a leader for them.
Marcia Mitchell – WA
Marcia is from Blackstone and her language group is Ngaanyatjarra. Marcia describes herself as strong and deadly for her family. Marcia makes her parents proud and strong for the future. There is also a centre for the community to learn their own language, Marcia would like to assist and encourage her community to stay healthy and safe, she enjoys and is good at going out on bush trips, making video's and also internet banking. Marcia would like to learn more and go to university.
Rose Kelly – Broome, WA
Rose was born and raised in Broome, the pearling capital of the Western Australian Kimberley region and is now living out at Beagle Bay Community one hundred twenty kilometres northeast of the town Broome on the Dampier Peninsula. Rose worked at the local shop in the community for two years and the school from 1992-2005. During the time Rose worked in the school she completed a Diploma in Education, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Australian Studies and will continue her Education degree in Darwin in 2006. Rose also has a minor in counseling and hopes to continue her degree in this field. As a leader, Rose would like to provide her community with all the support she can and encourage the community to stand proud and strong. After the completion of her studies Rose's desire is to empower the women of her community.
June Councillor – Maida Vale, WA
June Councillor was born in Port Hedland and was raised in a small remote community called Marble Bar, which is situated in the Pilbara region, Northwest of Western Australia. She is married with four grown children. June has worked in a variety of areas including social justice, welfare, victim support, court support, advocacy, tenancy, general health, women's health and education. June currently lives in Perth and works in the WA Government's Early Years Strategy where her role is to assist communities to build their capacity around early year’s education. June is involved with various programs and activities such as the Teen Parent Festival in Perth, the Parents and Babies Expo, the Early Years Seminar which is held twice per year for communities selected by the WA government as Early Years sites, and the WA Best Start programs to name a few. June is also involved with the Breast Cancer Foundation of WA and the Protective Behaviors WA in a voluntary capacity.
Deanne Lewis – Perth, WA
Deanne was born in Perth and is a single parent of two daughters. She is currently employed as the Manager Contracts and Programs with the Perth Aboriginal Alcohol Drug Service. Deanne's career began after training in Aboriginal Health Work at the Marr Mooditj Foundation then advanced to working in the field and most recently qualifying with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Indigenous Community Health. Deanne has a strong passion for working in the health field and has assisted numerous individuals and communities through her involvement in training Aboriginal Health Workers. Deanne is passionate about Aboriginal Health Worker curriculum and career paths. She is keen to advance Indigenous women's rights and to empower them either in their workplace or in their personal lives. Deanne participated in the Indigenous Women's Leadership Program due to her interest in taking on new challenges. Deanne believes that the program would be a great opportunity to network with Indigenous women in their leadership roles, whether it is in a professional or personal capacity.
[ top ]
Jennifer Dunne – Mill Park, VIC
Jenny is a Kirrae Wurrung woman of Gunditjmara. She is a mother of three sons, an active and vocal member of her community of Mill Park, Victoria. Jenny is a Koorie broadcaster on 3 KND, a student of Swinburne, University of Technology, as well as being the Chairperson of the Northern Suburbs Aboriginal Association. She has established a Koorie Homework Centre at her son's primary school and is creating a sense of community for the one thousand Koories who live in the Whittlesea area.
Rebecca (Bec) Sam – Ballarat, VIC
Bec has only recently moved to the city of Ballarat, Victoria from Townsville, Queensland. She is a highly motivated woman who leads by example. She is a diabetes nurse/health worker and has worked in the field in the Torres Straits, Townsville Aboriginal & Islander Health Service, and Wu Chopperen Medical Service in Cairns. Bec has raised five children, has a commitment to health and fitness and as a personal trainer and fitness instructor develops fitness programs wherever she has worked. Bec is currently working as a medical receptionist in her new home town of Ballarat. Women as role models is an issue that Bec is especially passionate about. Bec wishes to share her ideas, experiences and plans with women, particularly with young women.
Jody Saxton – Shepparton, VIC
Jody Saxton is a descendant of the Barney people from South West Queensland; Jody has a hearing impairment and lives in Shepparton Victoria. She works with the Yorta Yorta and Bangarang communities as an Indigenous Project Officer in a non-government agency. Jody's background is in welfare, education and hospitality; she works with young women on cultural awareness and identity across all cultures and backgrounds in the areas of participation and group work activities, such as social justice forums, art, and drama and music workshop. Jody also works as a Youth Counsellor on issues such as attractions to the same-sex, drugs and alcohol and deafness. By using encouragement, empowerment, and engagement she supports the next generation to unlock their full potential. Jody loves her children, partner and family and cherishes every new person she meets.
Dianne Ainslie – Smithton, TAS
Dianne was born in Launceston in the northern part of Tasmania. She now resides in the community of Smithton on the Far North West Coast of Tasmania. Dianne is working actively in the community as an Aboriginal Family Support and Youth Worker. She has completed a Certificate IV in Community Services and is looking forward to studying for a Diploma in Youth Work in 2006. Dianne is currently studying a Certificate IV in counselling. Dianne delivers an extensive range of empowering programs for women in her community. She also assists with facilitating youth survival camps in the community. Dianne is passionate about helping and assisting people in her community to make positive changes in their lives. She knows her commitment and dedication is making a difference to the people in her community.
Tereetee Lore / Kaye McPherson – Risdon Vale, TAS
Kaye is a descendant from the Teen Toomele Mennenye (Big River People) in Tasmania. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours and an Masters of Science from the University of Tasmania and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW. Kaye is a cultural Storyteller for the Lia Pootah Community and as a historical geographer speaks at local historical societies about Tasmania's dual cultural heritage. Kaye plays an active role as spokesperson for the Lia Pootah Community and is one of a team lobbying the Australian Government to take issues of concern to the United Nations. Kaye believes the strength of the future comes from the wisdom of the ancestors and their stories being told with cultural truth.
Karen Brown – TAS
Karen is from the Indulkana community, North-West of South Australia, her language is Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara. Karen works at Indulkana Community school. Karen says she is happy and doing something for herself. Karen's vision for her community is for people to try to start helping and listening to each other and also to have some programs to get young men and women to work, stay healthy and keep safe. Karen enjoys life when she gets the chance to paint, particularly dot painting, sometimes helping out family with things. Karen would like to go to university, to work on computers, and maybe work with youth. Especially teenage kids about drugs and getting them to do further school education. Karen is recognised as a leader because young teenage kids look up to her.