Leadership conversation with Aboriginal women

A Leadership Conversation with Aboriginal Women Leaders from the Illawarra was recently held at the City Beach Function Centre in Wollongong.

The ‘Conversation’ focused on national and local issues involving the Stolen Generations, disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, racism, evaluation of strategies by the government including the NTER response, income management and Native Title, as well as the objectives for constitutional recognition.

In discussion with the Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW), Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, were: Veronica Bird, Executive Member NSW Local Government Aboriginal Network; Janelle Brown, Aboriginal Community Engagement, Communities for Children Barnardos; Sylvia Campbell, Drug and Alcohol Worker SESIAHS; Jodi Edwards, Aboriginal Cultural Education and Language Consultant. 

Dr Rodgers-Healey is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Business Well-Being at UOW.

Ivan Morris played the Didgeridoo to open the event and Taliah King, a Year 8 student performed ‘Rolling in the Deep’ in front of an audience including Aboriginal Elders, community representatives, UOW’s Director of Employment, Equity and Diversity Ms Lynne Wright along with other UOW staff and students.

Dr Rodgers-Healey said through the extraordinary panellists’ insight of the strength of Aboriginal identity and their self-determination to move forward, participants' feedback resounded with an appreciation of the depth of issues Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to face.
A program of ‘Leadership Conversations’ has been organised by Dr Rodgers-Healey to enhance the discourse of leadership and profile well-known and not so well-known Illawarra leaders.

The three separate events with political, Aboriginal women and community leaders involve an hour-long conversation with Dr Rodgers-Healey and is followed by a Q&A from the audience. 

Conversations aim to explore leadership in action through a range of perspectives including leadership skills, leadership models, gender, vision, the constraints leaders faced in their role and sector and strategies employed to overcome them.

Senior students from high schools in Wollongong have attended as guests and are making the most of this opportunity by asking panellists challenging leadership questions.

The video excerpts of the Leadership Conversations including the Aboriginal Women Leaders Panel can be seen on YouTube.

And organisers will be giving the UOW Library in October a complete DVD copy of the three Leadership Conversations for wider community use.

The final Leadership Conversation with community leaders will be held on Thursday 26 September at the City Beach Function Centre, Wollongong.


  • Pictured at the recent ACLW ‘Conversation’ are (front row L-R): Taliah King, Aunty Lindy Lawler and Jodi Edwards; and (back row L-R): Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, Veronica Bird, Aunty Sylvia Campbell, Janelle Brown and Ivan Morris

  • Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW)

  • Ivan Morris playing the Didgeridoo before Acknowledgement to Country