Introducing -Indigenous Women in Business-
A platform to Connect, Share, Learn and Lead
Hi, I’m Bec Blurton, I’m Nyoongar (south west-Australian Aboriginal people) from Perth and living in Melbourne. I’ve worked in a number of different industries from Fashion to Mining. Having managed and coordinated Indigenous economic development initiatives and diversity programs most of my career, I’m passionate about equality and Indigenous self-determination. I hope to make an impact in Australia on closing the gap for women and Indigenous people.
Having grown up between an Indigenous family and a non-indigenous family, I’ve always moved between the two worlds. I say two worlds because there are a lot of differences between Indigenous and non-indigenous. Often misunderstood differences.
It is my endeavour to help bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australia through relationship building and facilitating collaborations between community and industry. I believe a lot can be achieved through strategic relationships built on honest communication and respect.
Australia has a shameful history in its dealings with Indigenous people. In this case, the past doesn’t have to predict the future. There is opportunity for improvement, unity and collaboration right across this beautiful country of ours.
The story of how it all started
In July 2014, after attending MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass at the prestigious Melbourne Business School, I co-founded Indigenous Women in Business (IWIB) with Jen Day.
To give you a snapshot of what it’s about let me share a story with you. This year Jen and I had the privilege of participating in The Long Walk, walking the grounds of the MCG and watching Dreamtime at the G with a mob from Port Augusta in South Australia.
They’d partnered with a Melbourne company and have been coming over each year for Dreamtime at the G, giving a bunch of kids the opportunity to get involved and be a part of the game. A life changing experience for most, inspiring and motivating them to do great things with their lives. But this was a two-way relationship.
The group were also inviting this company back to Port Augusta to share their culture and invite them to be a part of the progress and empowerment of their community. Guess who heads it up? None other than three strong Aboriginal women. The boldness and passion of these sisters and aunties is the very reason Jen and I started Indigenous Women in Business.
What Indigenous Women in Business is about
We know there’s strong women all over this country, leading and empowering their communities, forging their own paths with or without any help.
Throughout our careers we’ve wanted nothing more than to connect with these women for inspiration but also to get involved and share the load. We found there wasn’t really a platform offering that opportunity.
IWIB is about connecting us all and providing a platform of support. To Connect, Share, Learn and Lead. Our motto is ‘define your own success’. We realised that all the Indigenous women we know don’t fit into a ‘cookie-cutter’ career path. They all have multiple responsibilities often working careers, supporting big families and being active in various aspects of their communities. We wanted to create a space to connect. Connect business owners, corporate ladder climbers, community project coordinators… all sorts of Indigenous women defining their own success.
What our ambitious goals are
Over the next 3 years we aim to:
- build a national community of 3,000 Indigenous businesswomen
- hold 6 events around Australia
- employ 4 regional coordinators to better service members in their states
- sponsor 4 major member projects
- employ 4 full time staff
- create 1 short film
- fund 3 MURRA scholarships
We know that this isn’t going to be easy, but we are not afraid of a challenge. We’ve already seen amazing progress just from our soft launch in March this year. We know that every new member that joins means that we are supporting another Indigenous woman in achieving her own success; and it’s another voice shining a light on what’s happening on the ground. Now THAT is worth fighting for!
So what’s next?
We have recently recruited the last member for our Board, we’re meeting with industry. We’re applying for funding. We’re taking registrations. We’re spreading the word about IWIB. It’s an important message, we believe our women are the key to Indigenous empowerment and independence in Australia. We’re forming partnerships with AMAZING organisations that are just as passionate as we are. We’re meeting with Indigenous women across this country and hanging off their every word to make sure we’re doing what’s needed and not what’s on the agenda of someone that hasn’t ‘been there’.
We’re in awe of our women! They inspire us every day, walking with us and giving us the fuel for this fire to burn bright! To get involved, provide support, share some ideas, contact me: Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org Register at our webpage to stay in loop on all things IWIB. www.iwibaustralia.com.au
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, please contact me.