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Shelley Cable

Kaya! My name is Shelley Cable and I am a senior consultant who works with lots of different organisations to achieve better outcomes for our mob, like employment, engagement and business success. I’m 23, Noongar, grew up in Perth and live in Canberra now.

I’m passionate about promoting Indigenous people in business and finance, because I think it’s really important for Indigenous people to understand and be in control of money.

In my opinion, money is power, so I want Indigenous people to be in control of it so we can influence decisions and create better lives for our mob (imagine what we could do if our Indigenous organisations and families had more money to spend on the things that matter to us!)

I studied business at Curtin University after high school, and worked a few different jobs in the areas of finance and Indigenous community engagement. In 2016 I was named Miss NAIDOC Perth, and last year I was invited to attend the United Nations in Switzerland, where I presented on the importance of finance and how it can help us express our human rights as Indigenous people.

One of the scariest decisions I ever made was in 2016, when I was 21. I’d just won Miss NAIDOC Perth, and loved all the public speaking and community engagement I got to do. But, I also had a full-time job in finance, and I wasn’t impressing my boss with all the hours I spent away from the office, even though I worked really hard and made up the missing hours. I knew I had to make a decision between Miss NAIDOC and my job, so I started getting advice from friends and family about what to do.

At some point, I eventually realised: I have a dream job. But it’s someone else’s dream job, not mine.

I decided to do what my heart told me to and follow my passions. I took six months leave from my job but I still worked really hard, reading research papers on Indigenous business, talking to people in industry, and doing serious community engagement, and I absolutely loved it. My network allowed me to travel Australia, speaking at various conferences, I stayed with my friends in different cities to save money, and eventually bumped into someone from a company that worked in my area of passion.

A few months later, they offered me a full-time position; just two weeks before I was due to go back to my old job! Now, I work for PwC’s Indigenous Consulting.

Since then, I haven’t looked back! I’ve moved to Canberra, I’m working in MY dream job, I’ve presented at the UN, and achieved heaps of things I never would have done if I hadn’t had the courage to prove everyone wrong, leave the safety net of my old job, and get busy changing the world.

In my opinion, being a good leader is about two things: caring about others, and fiercely chasing your own dreams. Caring about others is important because you aren’t a leader if no one wants to follow you. Chasing your dreams is about being authentic, because people get inspired when they see you being passionate and fierce about chasing down your goals.

If you’re in high school right now, take some time out on your weekend, and step back from your assignments/tests/exams. Don’t forget your grades, of course, because studying and learning new things is an important skill (not just in school, but during your whole life) – just remember there are some seriously important issues in our communities and in the world that need your attention too.

Imagine yourself when you’re 20, or 40, and think about what in the world you want to have changed. What problem do you see, that you want to solve? It might be gender equality, the justice system, disease, climate change… Spend some time (it might take a few months of reflecting… it took me six!) to figure out what ignites your fire. What makes you angry? Passionate? Then, learn as much as you can about it and go fix it.