Making informed decisions is crucial for business leaders, but it can only be done by fostering a culturally competent workforce, a leader on Australia’s reconciliation movement stressed.
Shelley Reys AO, CEO of Arrilla Indigenous Consulting, said there is still much work to be done to have real reconciliation across Australia, but she is not daunted by the task.
“My vision is to create a culturally competent Australia, one workplace at a time,” said Shelley, who has dedicated her life to the indigenous cause.
Shelley herself is an indigenous woman of the Djiribul people who hail from the coast of Northern Queensland.
She believes that many Australians are also dedicated to the indigenous and reconciliation cause, but are just too afraid to act because of the lack of information.
“Holding us back is our innate fear of doing the wrong thing. Too many are afraid of saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, sounding racist and, as a result, [we] walk on eggshells,” she said.
Read more: View from the Top | Ross McEwan of NAB
“And so, I remove the eggshells. I give organisations and the staff within them the skills and confidence to work in the Indigenous space better.”
It is precisely what Arrilla does – providing cultural competency training and consulting to various businesses across the continent.
For three decades, Shelley’s organisation continues to inspire business leaders and workers by helping them understand indigenous peoples and cultures.
Read more: View from the Top | Jolie Hodson of Spark NZ
She has also been known for doing pro bono work that drives brave conversations about the indigenous and reconciliation spaces.
Shelley also had leadership roles in events of national importance, such as the Australian of the Year Awards, Australia Day, the Parliament’s Apology to the Stolen Generations, and more.
Because of her body of work that advances the cause of the indigenous peoples, she was awarded as an Office of the Order of Australia in 2012.
Shelley is proof that anything is possible if you only put your heart into the work.