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Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

My name is Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker and I am a Research Fellow at Curtin University and the Project Director/coach Kaat Koort n Hoops (after hours) at Koya Aboriginal Corporation. I am also the Founding Director of Pindi Ltd, Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Wellbeing. I am a Wadjuk Noongar Traditional Owner, social psychological research scientist, children’s fiction writer and community development practitioner.

My work life is uplifting and purposeful because I am focused on using my passion and ability to help those who are less fortunate and whom are vulnerable. I believe that our vulnerable families have a right to live a life and to live it safely and in thriving conditions. Our community is a living legacy that determines our purpose in life.

Members of our community remind us that although they are vulnerable and in need of help, they too have strengths, talents, knowledge, experience and skills as well.

It is my purpose to reveal these assets to the people themselves so that they can view themselves and their talents with a positive lens. By doing this, our people are then of the journey to self-capacity building where they can take the reins of their lives and steer in the direction that they want to do. They are in control of their lives and no matter how many departments or services come and go in their community over time, they are skilled and confident to continue their life’s journey to wellbeing, prosperity and fulfillment.

The most rewarding part of my work is ensuring the research I conduct is translated to the grass roots people. At my basketball wellbeing program called Kaat Koort n Hoops, the most pleasure I get is seeing the happy faces of children who are part of our Kaat Koort n Hoops family, not just their team. I am proud of the collective of individuals who participate, support and help and who are from over 15 different nationalities, abilities and experiences. It’s wonderful and humbling to see children and young people make friends, play together and learn from each other.

I love my work and my words of encouragement are...

Be happy about yourself first and foremost. Be happy about your work. Choose a career not just a job. Follow your passion. Look for a career that showcases your strengths, your talent and your passion. Then you will have a purpose which will see you truly experience fulfillment and happiness.

I’m inspired by my parents who both are respective leaders and despite the struggles they endured…they persisted. I’m also inspired by my own children. Life is difficult for many people who are poor, unsupported and who feel unvalued in this world. These people also inspire me to do my best to rattle and change the system that jails their lives.

To become successful in my field, the biggest challenge is being an Aboriginal woman in a non-Aboriginal male world. I haven’t overcome this challenge as I am still navigating the space. Some days it’s really hard to keep up the fight and be heard, be taken seriously with my ideas being recognised and put in action. Some days it’s easier especially when I can share my feelings with others in the same situation. Together, we support each other and build up our ammunition ready for the next fight.

My strengths as a leader include that I value people. I believe in other’s strengths. I am honest and transparent. I have time to listen, to support, to motivate, to inspire. I truly care about others. I hope I am a beacon for others in their journey of life. I have an open mind and crave to keep on learning from others. I believe and ensure the rights of Aboriginal people and especially children from all identities is acknowledged, heard and respected.

Be bold. Be bright. Be you!

To me, a good leader is a role model who does what they say and says what they do. Integrity is an important element of good leadership. Other aspects are knowing the strengths and assets of co-workers and providing spaces for co-workers to use their strengths and assets. As leaders, it is our role to know our co-workers, to provide that safe space, to deeply listen, thus providing an open platform for personal dialogue. Once we know our co-workers, then the vision we are striving for in the workplace is truly shared and reachable.

My advice to my high school self is that it’s ok if you don’t assume the person that society wants you or expects you to be. Being unique is a wonderful attribute and you must continue your path whilst acknowledging the characteristics of your uniqueness. Use your characteristics to learn from others and to learn about yourself. Do not to be frightened to be who you truly are, to show your talents and don’t listen to the noise from others in your journey.