National Reconciliation Week is an important time at Hardie Grant, and throughout Australia, as it’s an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This year we acknowledged the week, which took place at the end of May, in a number of ways, including hosting some outstanding speakers at our Melbourne and Sydney offices.
We kicked off the week in our Monday morning meetings with a special video filmed by Thomas Mayor, who has travelled across the nation with the Uluru Statement of the Heart
. He is also an upcoming Hardie Grant author and sent us a special message directly from the Northern Territory, which featured him reciting the Uluru Statement in front of Uluru. Thomas’s moving video was also shared for the whole business via Yammer (our intranet).
Later in the week we hosted two special lunch ‘n learns in both offices.
In Melbourne, we hosted Benson Saulo, who is a descendent of the Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara nations of western Victoria and the New Ireland Provence of Papua New Guinea, and Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to be appointed this country’s Youth Ambassador to the United Nations. Benson spoke to a packed boardroom of more than 30 staff, sharing stories of his childhood, his connections to Country and what NRW’s 2019 theme – Grounded in Truth, Walk Together in Courage
– means for him. Benson’s powerful reflections made a deep impression on everyone who attended.
In Sydney, we also hosted a special lunch ‘n learn with Annabel Gallop from Girls Academy, which develops and empowers Aboriginal girls through leadership training, mentoring, sport and extracurricular programs. Girls Academy aims to create an environment within schools where the girls receive the support and programs needed to help them realise their full potential. Annabel’s presentation was truly inspiring. Everyone left the room wanting to make a difference where they could and spread the word about Girls Academy's incredible work.
In addition to these special office-based events, we raised awareness by placing posters throughout both offices and via Yammer posts that communicated the week to all staff members and encouraged them to consider attending an NRW event in their own time. A number of individuals attended film premieres, author talks and other events during the week.
In addition to acknowledging annual events such as NRW and NAIDOC week, Hardie Grant is taking practical steps as a business to improve relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is in development
; our partnership with CareerTrackers
, which creates internship opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, is ongoing with our third intern joining us this year; and we continue to support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation
as our corporate charity.
Lucy Siebert, head of editorial, Melbourne
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