Deb Barwick


Deb Barwick is an award-winning Aboriginal Entrepreneur and Business Owner who believes that Aboriginal people themselves are the solution to social and economic parity and that “enabling Aboriginal leadership regionally, nationally and globally is a strategic and wise investment toward a stronger Australian Economy and Nation.”

Having dedicated much of her working life to supporting the aspirations of Aboriginal Entrepreneurs to establish and grow sustainable enterprises, Deb is most passionate about the value proposition State and Territory Indigenous Chambers of Commerce and the First Australians Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FACCI) offer Governments, Business and Industry to be truly progressive in their actions to increase purchasing from Aboriginal Suppliers. “These state and territory and national peak bodies are informed by Aboriginal business owners and so they bring a unique intelligence to the Sector and to the development and application of social procurement efforts.

Debs many achievements include:

Establishing Australia’s first Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and Leading the National Network of Indigenous Chambers of Commerce to establish a Peak Body to represent the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business Owners. Today, the First Australians Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (FACCI) represents over 5,500 members.

Deb is the recipient of a "NSW Premiers Award for Excellence", has been an MC for the World Indigenous Business Forum and in 2016, lead an Australian Delegation to the National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference in San Diego.

Deb is the current CEO for the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC), an experienced trainer on the art of procurement and a respected advisor to State and Federal Governments on Economic and Social Policy. Having mentored hundreds of Small business owners through her work with the NSWICC, Deb’s leadership has also led to the organisation’s growth and sustainability and position as the NSW Government Specialist Procurement Advisor for small and medium enterprises across NSW.

Most importantly, Deb Barwick is an accomplished business owner herself, having operated several successful enterprises including a Guest House in Pokolbin and Winya Indigenous Furniture,

4 Years after its establishment Winya has become Australia’s fastest growing Indigenous furniture Company. Last Year, after winning a suite of regional and state business awards this highly competitive Company was named Grand Overall Winner of the Prestigious CIPS Australasia Supply Management Awards. Respected as a benchmark for excellence, these Awards represent the most prestigious recognition a company or individual in the procurement and supply chain profession can receive.

Having taken out the best of the best business awards in Australia in 2018, Winya finished the year as Australia’s first Company to win a United Nations Sustainability Goals Award.

Kath Butler


Head of the Wollotuka Institute Associate Professor Kath Butler is an Aboriginal women, belonging to the Bundjalung and Worimi peoples of coastal New South Wales.

Kathleen is an active member of Aboriginal organisations, holding executive positions on the Regional Education Consultative Group (AECG), Local Aboriginal Land Councils and Aboriginal Corporations.

Kylie Campbell


Kylie is currently a cleaner. She started in childcare as a trainee when she was 18 and worked in the field for a few years. Kylie then became a mother and had a number of casual jobs when her children were little including working in a take away shop, retail and receptionist work. She also managed a pizza shop and while she was there she got offered a cleaning job at various holiday rentals in Nelson Bay. Kylie then moved into car detailing for a number of years but after this during an extended period of unemployment, she struggled getting work as she didn’t have any qualifications. She managed to get back on her feet again by putting in the effort to get her white card, First Aid, RSA and RCG and eventually ended up back in cleaning and now works full time for Singleton Council and loves it!

Kylie lives by the values of honesty and respect and to be kind. And also ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ because the inside pages might be so much more than what the cover displays. She is happy doing what she’s doing. One day she’d like to move into support work to help others less fortunate than herself.

Kylie’s mantra is ‘Never give up and always stay positive.’ Sometimes when she wants to give up she changes the voices in her head to say ‘just get up and keep going!’

Alex Devlin


A proud Kamilaroi man, Alex was raised at Lake Munmorah NSW and graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2015 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)(Hons).

Alex has delivered major infrastructure projects across the state including highway upgrades at Port Macquarie, Ballina and currently Western Sydney with a combined value of these projects at $1.4B dollars.

In his current role as a Site Engineer with Acciona, Alex is responsible for project management across site in a dynamic and demanding environment.

Alex is part of the team developing the Reconciliation Action Plan with Acciona to deliver meaningful & lasting development for Indigenous employees, subcontractors & communities.

Heading into the future, Alex aims to take on infrastructure projects in Coffs Harbour and Newcastle, providing safer & faster travel for motorists. These big projects do not last forever in the one area, while they are in operation, with a focus on sustainability, they bring big money that is injected into regional areas via means of employment and training, with Alex’s influence Indigenous communities are at the forefront of procurement, employment and training.
Outside of work Alex is actively involved in local community organisations, including founding Frazer Park Boardriders.

Leo Dynevor


Your current position:

Indigenous Strategy Officer (Global Engagement & Partnerships)

University of Newcastle         

A little about your background:

Kullilli / Wakka Wakka Aboriginal man from Cherbourg Aboriginal Community. An amazing incredible large family, including my 10 siblings and 60+ nieces and nephews. My blended family consists of 8 Deadly Smart children and my amazing strong Aboriginal woman; Leanne.

My journey thus far has taken me around our beautiful country, from working with Indigenous trainees in Central Australia to Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Kanakan people in North Queensland.

I currently have the pleasure to call Newcastle home once again. I have relocated to Newcastle with my family to take a role at the University of Newcastle.

A role that will certainly create vision within the University of Newcastle and Internationally. Something that the University has embraced. In this time I am sure to establish myself alongside our Indigenous cohort in our communities and at the University of Newcastle.

Your skills and areas of expertise:

Other than the usual professional skills I have obtained which has been in practice over the last 25 years includes:

Managerial. Administrational. Organisational. Communication/interpersonal Customer service. Customer relations. Supervising. Report writing. Archival. Reliable. Polite. Friendly. Honest. Responsible and Ethical.

My areas of experiences over the years ranges from working with Indigenous individuals and families to coaching rugby league. My focus has always been around community and their connections. I have extensively worked over the years to provide opportunity, advocacy, equality and resilience in Indigenous communities.

Your mission statement:

To work credibly to lift the profile for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.


Personal and professional goals:

My professional goal is to become a CEO of my company / organisation.

My personal goal is to be a strong, proud, spiritual, intelligent, Aboriginal man and dad.

Gary Field


Gary Field is a proud Wiradjuri man who has grown up on Darkinjung country on the Central Coast his entire life. Gary went to school at Gorokan Public School and then onto Gorokan High School, before he graduated and went on to Newcastle University where he completed a Bachelor of Social Science in 2016.

Since then Gary has completed vocational certificates in Disability, Mental Health and Training and Assessment. Gary is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in Indigenous Trauma Recovery and Practice at the University of Wollongong.

Gary has worked in the Disability and Child Protection sectors before joining Barang Regional Alliance. He is currently the operations manager at Barang Regional Alliance where he has been involved in supporting the objectives of the alliance and it’s opt-in members.

Lindsay Hardy


Lindsay is a proud Bidjara Mhurdi from Central Qld. His commitment to Aboriginal Affairs spans 30 years’ and has included a diverse range of roles in both federal and state governments, community and NGO organisations, which has been the significant determinant in influencing his future direction to improve genuine employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Lindsay joined the office of Indigenous Strategy and Leadership at the University of Newastle as the Indigenous Employment Partner in February 2019. Lindsay’s remit is to implement the University’s Maligagu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy and Action Plan 2020 – 2025, achieve the University’s target of 3.9% Indigenous representation by the end of 2020 and to support a diverse and inclusive workforce that represents our students and community.

At the time of inception, the strategy was a unique development in Australia’s higher education sector. The aim was to expand our consultation method as a ‘whole of University’ approach to reflect on our learnings from our previous experiences in relation to what worked well and what didn’t. We needed a document that was evidence based and measurable with real outcomes and which had a better understanding of our regional footprint and the communities we are affiliated with, ensuring that we remain a leader and advocate for Indigenous advancement and be the employer of choice.

Corinne Hodson


Corinne Hodson is a Wiradjuri Ngunnawal woman with family links to the Riverina of NSW. She grew up in the Pilbara of WA, and moved to Sydney in 1997 where she began working in the communities of Waterloo and Redfern. Corinne moved to the Central Coast 8 years ago. 

Corinne has worked in the Community Services sector, mostly with youth, domestic and family violence and women’s services, as well as in child protection and across disability services for 19 years before starting work with Barang Regional Alliance in 2017. Her current role is Community Engagement Manager. Corinne has qualifications in Youth Work, Counselling, Narrative Practise and Project Management and also has vocational qualifications in Case Management, Community Services, Leadership and Management and Business Governance.  She has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and also currently teaches part-time within the NSW TAFE system.

Corinne is a current board member of Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services, and is also a board member of the Central Coast Community Council. She has been a previous board member of Barang Regional Alliance, Bara Barang Corporation, Wirringa-Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service and the Indigenous Social Justice Association. 

Corinne is a passionate advocate for social justice and for the development of Aboriginal leadership, particularly for our young people. She is also a huge fan of Dolly Parton, and of country music in general, and loves playing her guitar and singing.

Craig Layer


Craig Layer
Aboriginal Enterprise Development Officer
Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation

Craig is a descendant of the Wanaruah people (Meaning “Land of Hills & Plains”), a proud Aboriginal nation from the Hunter Valley Region of NSW.

Craig has been facilitating employment and business programs for Aboriginal people for over 20 years and in particular, supporting Indigenous businesses for the last fifteen years as a part of the Aboriginal Enterprise Development Officer Program.

Craig manages the Aboriginal Enterprise Development Officer Program (AEDO) within the Hunter and Central Coast Regions assisting people with starting up a small business or growing and improving their existing business by connecting with potential business customers or relevant support services to help grow your business.

With a strong desire to assist and support Aboriginal entrepreneurship Craig is also a member of the NSW Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council (NATOC), an Aboriginal peak body that promotes and supports the development of Aboriginal tourism AND Aboriginal tourism businesses in NSW.

Craig has also been involved with the development and facilitation of wupa@wanaruah, an Aboriginal Art Exhibition and Trail that for the last 12 years has provided opportunities for Aboriginal artists to create opportunities and develop small businesses that revolve around culture and story-telling through creative arts.

Elise McCarthy McPhan


Elise is a proud Dharug and Bidjigal woman of the Eora nation, and has been accepted by the Biripi community where she grew up.

Elise is the Principal Advisor of the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy for the Nursing and Midwifery Office at the Ministry of Health.

In her role, Elise provides expert advice and direction on all matters relating to Aboriginal nursing and midwifery careers for NSW Health. She manages the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Strategy and associated programs and projects to increase Aboriginal representation in the NSW workforce.

Elise completed her Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Advanced Nursing, Specialising in Paediatric Nursing at the University of Newcastle where she was the inaugural President of the Wollotuka Institute Student Collective, and later became an academic tutor in the School of Nursing. She is extremely passionate about Aboriginal affairs and paediatric nursing and believes it is a great privilege to represent her Aboriginal community and to assist a family by caring for their unwell child in the hospital setting. As a proud Aboriginal woman, Elise sees it as her duty to promote education about Aboriginal health and employment. She understands the importance of teaching others and sharing her cultural knowledge and clinical skills to develop our workforce, as well as mentoring our Aboriginal nurses.

In the Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards Elise was awarded the 2019 NSW Health Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthcare Award. Elise believes that increasing our Aboriginal workforce should be at the forefront of every NSW Health staff member’s mind.

Elise is motivated by the phrase that her family always communicates to her, "each opportunity that I am given, the more opportunities you can give back to community." Elise recognises that we are all in an invaluable position to have profound impacts on ‘Closing the Gap’.

Genus Passi


My name is Genus Passi. I am a proud Torres Strait island man from my Dad and a proud South Sea Island man from my Mum. Through my Torres Strait Island heritage, I have ties to Erub (Darnely Is.) and Mer (Murray Is.) in the Eastern Torres Strait. I grew up in Townsville NQ, learning my Torres Strait Culture from an early age. I have always been present in my Community sharing my Culture, and also working with young people. I have a background working in Youth Employment, Out of Home Care Case Management and Education though alternative learning programs, and now through mainstream Education systems. I am a strong advocate for Cultural Education and Mentoring to ensure our young people are provided with the best opportunities to succeed in life and confidently walk in 2 Foot Prints.

Liam Ridgeway


Liam is a descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of the North Coast of NSW, the Wakka Wakka people of Southern QLD, and grew up on Gadigal country, Sydney.

He is a co-founder of Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY), an Indigenous owned digital agency, and Indigitek, a charity that provides learning and career pathways in STEAM for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

He has a passion to increase Indigenous participation in the digital economy and support the growth of a collaborative and sustainable Indigenous STEAM community. He aims to use his knowledge and networks in the technology industry to identify pathways for the Indigenous community to thrive individually and collectively.




Lindsay Stanford is a proud Gamilaraay woman, born in Manilla NSW. She spent her years growing up in Armidale on Anaiwan lands and Lake Macquarie on Awabakal lands. She made the beautiful Central Coast her home in 2012.

As an Aboriginal employment specialist with more than 20 years’ experience, Lindsay’s focus is on helping employers build workplaces that respect, welcome and support Aboriginal people. She has considerable experience developing and implementing Aboriginal employment strategies, programs and initiatives across NSW and the ACT.

Lindsay founded Blakworks Employment Solutions in 2008 to help Australian employers make Aboriginal employment work by improving their understanding of Aboriginal employment and building better workplaces to support Aboriginal employment efforts.

Lindsay is passionate about Aboriginal employment and believes that it is about much more than creating and filling jobs.  It involves changing attitudes and creating work environments where Indigenous people feel welcomed, supported and respected. Blakworks supports businesses that want to make a contribution to Aboriginal employment and find the strategies that will work for them.

Raymond  Steadman


Raymond a proud member of Worimi community and he proudly represents his community when he plays the Didgeridoo.

He completed the Early Childhood Diploma whilst working at the Awabakal Preschool. He particularly enjoys working with young aboriginal children and telling stories relating to their culture.

An accomplished representative sportsman across several sports he has aspirations of becoming an aboriginal Health Practitioner.

Nathan Towney


Nathan is a proud Wiradjuri man from Wellington in NSW and an education leader. He holds a Bachelor of Teaching and a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education from The University of Newcastle.

Nathan’s appointment as the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Strategy and Leadership at the University of Newcastle follows a four year tenure as the Principal of Newcastle High School.

Nathan will lead the University’s Indigenous Education Framework and connect with community groups outside the organisation.

Nathan’s personal and authentic approach fosters strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders at all levels. Nathan has a passion for innovation and change and has actively encouraged student-directed, passion-based and entrepreneurial learning. His approach to engaging and working with communities will be particularly valuable as the University looks to find ways for the institution to better connect with our regions.