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The Wiimali program is an employee recruitment, mentoring and community engagement program for all internal staff who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The word Wiimali originates from the native Gamilaraay language of Australia. It means ‘To light a fire’. The Wiimali program is designed to light the fire for ARA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and provide them with the support they need in both their work and home lives.

For Indigenous people to transition from community living to employment in a high-performance environment driven by the clients’ needs can be a difficult transition.

ARA Indigenous Services Leadership team understands this and the Wiimali program is designed to assist. Our team has vast experience and knowledge of these challenges through their own lived experience, both from a personal and professional standpoint. Below are two stories that show how valuable the Wiimali program is to the Indigenous community.

Women play an integral role in caring for Indigenous Communities, this is just the same when it comes to the Wiimali Program. Indigenous women in leadership are vital when it comes to caring for our Indigenous team members, particularly our newest members and first-time employees. Women are significant to the balance our society. Our ancestors understood this and ensured that our women had governance over their own business. ARA also understands this by having Indigenous women in all levels of leadership, from shareholders, directors, and senior management.

Shannon Tobler-Williams

“I am a proud Gweagal Dharawal Dunghutti miigay. I grew up within the Discrete Aboriginal Communities of La Perouse and Wreck Bay and share the same strong family lineage through my paternal grandmother to the Discrete Aboriginal Community of Bellbrook. My kinship connections run throughout NSW and I live on Gandangara/Dharawal country in south west Sydney.

Throughout my career I have held various positions in government, NGO’s and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. I have also actively contributed voluntarily in governance positions for community groups and organisations.

My passion for social justice for my people began long before my career. Growing up I was raised by my grandparents who were staunch advocates for Aboriginal people, just as their old people were. It was inevitable that my exposure to and immersion in social justice would be where I would find myself. My career started fresh out of high school at 17 years of age as a business Administration Trainee in Health, which set the foundation for many opportunities in other fields such as, education, legal sector, child protection and early childhood education. Fast forward to 2024, I am currently the Manager, Operations & Governance at the Aboriginal Languages Trust. I am also a Director of ARA Indigenous Services and a joint small business owner.

But, most importantly and the most rewarding role is that of a Mum, a Wife, a Sister and an Aunty.

Skie Webster

I am a proud Aboriginal Dunghatti Woman, born and raised in the city of Wollongong south of Sydney. My mother, Tracey Carlson born to James/Jimmy Carlson and Noleen Carlson come from the Waddi Waddi and Dunghatti Tribe. My father, Ivan Dungay born to Mable Dungay coming from the Dunghatti tribe.

I have been in the workforce for 11 years now and have had 4 roles in 4 different companies all of which are to help others in many ways.

These roles include childcare for 9 years, Intensive therapeutic care worker (significant disabilities) for 1-year, Aboriginal Employment Services for 1 year and now proudly working at ARA Group as a National Indigenous Engagement Manager. Securing a role as a National Indigenous Engagement Manager is, for me, a dream come true. I am very dedicated to fulfilling my role here at the ARA Group.

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