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Recognising our deadly staff in NAIDOC Week

From helping the aged reconnect with culture to mentoring at risk young people with mental health issues, we're honouring six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff for their leadership and innovation, for advancing reconciliation and for committing to creating positive futures for first Australians.

Tuesday July 11, 2017

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Community Service: Djandi Ganambarr, Galiwin'ku, NT

Yol#u woman Djandi Ganambarr from Galiwin'ku has been honoured for her work supporting children and young people to grow up strong, healthy and confident.   Djandi works for Yalu' Mar#githinyaraw Centre, which partners with Red Cross.

She has received a Community Service award for developing long-term partnerships and relationships between Red Cross and the Yol#u community to create positive economic, social, health, cultural and educational benefits.  

"I support the community by collecting information for our work and projects. I provide information about what is going on and help Red Cross know what is happening in the community. It's about finding the pathways to reach our goals."  

"I'm proud as a Yol#u woman working with Yol#u to support the next generation."  

Together As Partners: Danniele Tobane, Hervey Bay, Qld

Danniele Tobane, a proud Butchulla woman from Hervey Bay, as received a Together As Partners award for advancing reconciliation and greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and cultures in Red Cross and in Hervey Bay.  

In accepting the award, she said sharing her culture at work comes naturally: "if it makes my workplace more culturally aware then that's deadly".  

Danniele, a case worker in a youth housing program for at-risk and homeless young people, shares her knowledge and wisdom of her Butchulla culture.

"I value my culture, and I love sharing that knowledge.  It supports and increases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' access to culturally appropriate services."   

Creative Culture: Lynette Johnson, Blacktown, NSW  

Ngiyampaa woman, Lynette Johnson, beams with pride when she talks about sharing her culture when she visits elderly clients in Sydney's west.   Lynette who works at Red Cross' Blacktown office, has won the Creative Culture Award for demonstrating initiative, being unique, innovative and creative in the workplace.  

"Some of the clients I speak to have never met an Indigenous person before. I'll talk to them on the phone and then when they meet me in person, I know they want to ask me but they get a bit shy. So I talk to them about my background and culture and we talk about their lives too. Some stories are so heartbreaking, you just want to give them a big cuddle and never let go."  

"I also meet Indigenous people when I visit nursing homes and I like to ask them about their mob, where they're from and who they know. One of my very elderly clients is deaf and nearly blind and I like to hold her hand and just let her know that she's not alone."  

Leadership: Lineesha Johnson, Melbourne.Vic

Lineesha Johnson is Gooreng Gooreng/Batjala on her father's side and Kalkadoon-Pita Pita on her mother's side. Originally from Queensland, she now works in Melbourne.  

As a HR coordinator, Lineesha has been recognised for her leadership, inspiration and support for Red Cross colleagues.   "It's about giving my voice to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander space. It's important for that conversation to continue otherwise it gets lost."  

Lineesha is a member of Red Cross' National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team and Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership Team, Wominjeka (meaning welcome) Group.  

"It's shedding light on how Red Cross as an organisation could be better positioned to service Aboriginal communities."  

Leadership: Dearne Brown, Canberra

Murwarri woman, Dearne Brown has been honoured for her work in a pilot program that supports parents to better navigate through the child protection system in the ACT.  

Dearne has received the Leadership award, for demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities, motivating and inspiring people around her, leading through example and maintaining high personal standards.   Dearne works for the Birth Family Advocacy Support service.

"We work side by side with families and explain why the Care and Protection Services has indicated concerns. We also know the children's court can be intimidating and run mock courts so our clients know what a court looks like. This makes the court experience less frightening."  

"Every day is different and every day brings its challenges but we know we make families stronger and help them through a very complex system."  

Young person (under age of 30): Nickeema Williams, Woorabinda, Qld

At just 23 years old, Nickeema Williams has achieved a lot.  The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman draws on both cultures to work and inspire other young people.   Nickeema is a case worker in Woorabinda, helping young people aged 12-17 to transition to high school and then employment or further education and training.  

Nickeema has received Red Cross' Young Person award for excellence in her role, being self-motivated in achieving her goals with the potential to continue to excel through support and further personal and career development.  

"I combine art and digital technologies to create opportunities for young people to be a voice to create positive change.  Using these creative skills and tools to express themselves helps improve their wellbeing and healing."  

 "It's also about empowering and connecting whole communities by increasing the digital literacy of people of all ages."  

Reconciliation Action Plan

Celebrating NAIDOC Week and the annual NAIDOC Awards is part of Red Cross's commitment to reconciliation and key action areas in our Reconciliation Action Plan.