Speaking out and standing proud

This year’s NAIDOC Week (7-14 July) theme, ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud’, resonates with Destiny Dewis, a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait and South Sea Islander woman and passionate advocate for financial literacy education and empowerment.

Destiny began her career working in tourism before moving onto community services and community finance. These days, her work as Community Engagement Officer with the First Nations Foundation takes her across the country listening to communities about what they want to know about money management and financial empowerment, and offering advice about how they could achieve their goals. In addition to her work with First Nations Foundation, Destiny has her own business as a speaker and consultant, and has worked with Brisbane Writers Festival, and Creative Nations with Brisbane City Council’s Gathering program, Council's Indigenous Art Program and the Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprise (SATSIE), James Cook University.

Working with your strengths

Destiny said her work speaking with people on the ground has developed an understanding of the how important it is to show respect, listen and to speak up.

“I’ve been very lucky to have had opportunities to work on a range of projects that have introduced me to new people and build new skills from public speaking to production,” Destiny said. 

“In turn, I’ve been able to build better professional networks and work towards bigger and better things.”

Destiny said that a good place to start when you’re trying to get a business off the ground is to assess your strengths and build on the things you’re good at.

“For example, I love communicating and connecting with people which has led to speaking opportunities. 

“If you have an idea, talk to like-minded people, go to workshops – there’s lots of free opportunities and courses out there and free services that can help you learn about basic business startup and how that can help you get to the place where you need to be.”

Learning through storytelling

Destiny said that word-of-mouth and yarning with people you look up to is a valuable first step for anyone with a good idea for a business or social enterprise.

“In Aboriginal and Torres Strait and South Sea Islander communities, we learn through storytelling and envisioning things and then we can put that into practice,” she said.

“Being a young Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander woman, I’m very passionate about my culture, and learning about my culture and listening to elders through storytelling and keeping that respect.”

Destiny said that she works towards being someone who is steadfast in the community and advocates for knowing who you are and where you come from – your roots, your people and your culture.

“Surround yourself with good people, who give you good energy and support and uplift you,” she said.

Cultural pride and identity

Destiny encouraged other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait and South Sea Islander people to embrace their culture to create unique business and economic opportunities.

“Stand strong in your beliefs, stand strong in your culture, stand strong in your communities and be a voice for change and a voice for yourself,” she said.

“You can learn from yarning with Elders and building rapport with communities through consultation and listening.”

Destiny said that there were many opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and businesses, from developing Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) to purchasing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products for corporate gifts.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, every individual can take steps to learn and engage because learning is two-way. You’ll think, ‘Oh wow, why didn’t we do this sooner’. There’s so much to gain.”

Free Council workshops and events

You can find free workshops and events to support local businesses at Council's Suburban Business Hub, 16 Aspinall Street, Nundah.

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Topics: business

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.