Your job title
Diversion Officer, Aboriginal Legal Service of WA
Jaru (WA Fitzroy Region) & Jawoyn (NT Katherine Region)
Outline your background and role in the field you work in
I have worked with the Aboriginal Legal Service in various locations around Australia. After graduating from year 12 I started my working life as a receptionist, and after many years of climbing the ‘ranks’ I began my career in the legal industry as a Senior Paralegal in the Criminal Section. Today I remain in the same industry working for a Youth Engagement program, as a Diversion Officer with Aboriginal Legal Services Western Australia (ALSWA).
I also work on a casual basis with We-Ali as a cultural support facilitator conducting culturally integrated trauma and healing approach workshops around the nation to non-government organisations and government organisation. I have also just finished my second year of study at Curtin University studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Indigenous Professional) majoring in community management and development.
Why do you do the work that you do?
I have a passion for changing the lives of Aboriginal Peoples especially young people and I strive to further my skills and knowledge to make a change in the incarceration rates of Indigenous peoples.
What do you most enjoy about your field?
Working tirelessly and passionately for Aboriginal young people who are involved in the justice system by providing culturally competent and holistic support by mentoring, case management, referring them to other services providers for education, training, medical, accommodation, counselling and other practical assistance.
Every day I go to work I never know what I am going to be faced with, but I do know that whatever I am going to do it is going to care about the lives of young people and to make today a better day than yesterday and support their pathway into the future. I enjoy being involved with young people and for those in the justice system I work tirelessly and passionately for then by providing holistic support in all areas of life.
Who or what inspired you to do the work that you do?
My mother has been my biggest inspiration in my life. My mother was a part of the stolen generation and hearing the stories of her journey as a young person I have always strived to make a change as she didn’t have the opportunity’s I had growing up. My elders past and present are also inspirations in my life as they have paved the way for me like my mother to have the opportunity’s I have in my life.
What challenges have you overcome to be successful in your chosen area?
Throughout my career I have been faced with a lot of challenges such as fear, doubt and mind set, I passed through those challenges by believing myself, up skilling my knowledge and having various mentors to guide me in the right direction.
What does good leadership look like?
Leadership is not about being the best. Leadership is about making everyone else better. Leadership is about listening to the voices of the community, building relationships, empowering your clients and believing in them.
What do you feel are your strengths as a leader?
Listening to the voice of the community and providing holistic support to address their issues and concerns in a culturally appropriate manner. Also giving them hope and showing the young people the positive sides to life.
Share a story that you think demonstrates or defined your leadership/leadership journey
Throughout my career I have been an observer listening to other leaders, gaining knowledge from them and using that to model my own leadership skills. Attending conferences, workshops and attending university has been the stepping stone for me to gain the skills and knowledge to become a leader.
Your advice to young people
Do not be a follower and always stay true to yourself. Education is the key and do not be ashamed to seek support if things are not going well in any areas of your life. I say this as when in high school i would follow other people’s actions which led me being behind in my work. I then felt ashamed to ask for help, but it wasn’t until I finally reached out for help and got back on track.
What would your words of encouragement be to another young person interested in your area of work?
Find your passion. If this is your passion; to support youth, then you can do it. If I can you can too.
Is there any other advice you would like to share with young people about leadership?
It’s always important to have positive role models in your life whether that be your parents, aunt, uncle, older cousins, coach or teacher. Good role models give your knowledge, guidance and hope in achieving your goals.