Girls with dreams and women with vision: shared experiences at the Strong Women Strong Business conference

22nd May 2022

Adelaide recently
hosted 180 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across
Australia, taking part in the first Strong Women Strong Business

From entrepreneurs in start-up phase to owners of established and
growing businesses, the full spectrum of businesswomen from remote,
regional and metropolitan areas attended the conference. Attendees
shared experiences, provided mentorship and learnt about business best
practice in a culturally relevant space.

‘Networks are key,’ according to Terri Janke of Terri Janke Lawyers,
who delivered the keynote speech at the Welcome Dinner. Her advice was a
taste of the practical and honest advice that was to come over the next
two days of the conference.

Kristal Kinsella of Indigenous Professional Services spoke on the panel Why our women are innovators. Kristal emphasised the importance of resilience and the need ‘to reinvent ourselves and always find a way to get things done.’

Themes of empowerment and the opportunities that business can provide were common throughout the discussions.

‘Girls with dreams grow up to be women with vision,’ said Jahna Cedar of the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation.

The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and
demonstrated how valuable and useful the conference was on a number of

‘I feel so honoured and blessed to have been a part of the Strong
Women Strong Business conference…it has been such an amazing experience
to be a part of this journey and to share this opportunity with at least
180 outstanding and phenomenal strong, black and deadly women,’ said
conference attendee Priscilla Kelly.

The importance of culture was expressed throughout the conference,
including from Dionne Connolly from Western Labour Hire who concluded
that ‘there is the opportunity to be the master of your destiny without
sacrificing your authentic cultural self.’

The conference saw many new relationships forged that may well lead
to business collaborations and joint ventures in the coming months and
years. Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) also linked up several
mentor/mentee relationships during the conference.

‘My first thought when I left yesterday was how fantastic it was to
see our young ones there…we yarned and laughed but deep inside I just
felt proud of them as beautiful, talented and respectful young First
Nation business women,’ said conference attendee Sandra King.

In addition to the Indigenous businesswomen featured during the
conference, representatives from the Commonwealth, Northern Territory
and South Australian governments, as well as IBA gave a practical
overview of the policies, programs and services available to support
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesswomen and aspiring

‘There was great energy in the room, with a real feeling that the
sector is growing and there are real opportunities out there for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,’ said Klarissa Nguyen, who
represented the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at the

A reflection from conference attendee, Christine Ross, echoes the
thoughts of many other women who attended the conference. ‘We leave the
Conference stronger, prouder, inspired, motivated and more
knowledgeable. Thank you to all the amazing sisters who spoke and shared
their stories. The fantastic networking and supportive sisterhood will
stay with us forever.’

The Strong Women Strong Business conference was convened by
Indigenous Business Australia and funded by the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet.

Find out more on Strong Women Strong Business.