Department of Family and Community Services

2017 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year

Kristal Kinsela

Kristal Kinsela
Winner

Kristal is a proud Aboriginal woman descended from both the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations, and works as an advocate and mentor for Indigenous women. Her career spans education and training, organisational and workforce development, and supplier diversity working across government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors.

Inspired by stories of success through the growth of the supplier diversity movement in Australia, Kristal established her own consultancy to use her passion and skills to help corporate and government clients increase their productivity, performance and Indigenous engagement through coaching, training and facilitation.

She has presented at international conferences, and advised the Australian Government on policies to foster social inclusion. In 2011 she provided mentorship to Aboriginal teenage girls through the Birpai Aboriginal Land Council. She has also run teenage motivational and leadership camps to educate young Aboriginal women about their rights, and the skills required to navigate society, prejudice and stereotypes. Kristal was recently announced the Sydney Ambassador for Indigenous Women in Business; a not for profit network to connect and support Indigenous women who run their own businesses.

Tanya Orman

Tanya Orman
Finalist

Tanya is a Birri and Guugu Yimidhirr woman who has worked for National Indigenous Television (NITV) for 10 years. As the Channel Manager, she led the transition into the SBS network and free to air launch.

In 2004 a series of reports Tanya produced for SBS on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome gained national recognition and she was given the Prime Minister, National Drug and Alcohol award for Excellence in Media Reporting. More recently, Tanya and her team secured funding for the Moment in History series, a series of high quality documentaries on national identity by Australia’s leading Indigenous film makers.

Tanya is one of the youngest television executives in Australia and one of only a handful of Aboriginal women in a leadership role in media. She regularly volunteers her time, including in her role as Chair of the Media Reconciliation Industry Network Group, a group of media organisations committed to the development of reconciliation and employment of Indigenous people in the media industry.

Aunty Joyce Donovan

Joyce Donovan
Finalist

Aunty Joyce is a Wodi Wodi Elder and a driving force in the establishment of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Coomaditchi (Warrawong) in 1983. She has worked tirelessly for 35 years on Aboriginal health matters. She created the Narinya Grief and Trauma Healing Program and won the University of Technology Sydney Human Rights Award for establishing this program.

Joyce felt so strongly about removing the taboo of child sexual abuse that she travelled all over NSW to gain support for marches against child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. She has travelled thousands of miles conducting healing ceremonies for victims of domestic violence and spreading her message that it takes a whole community to raise a child.

Joyce has a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Adult Education and Community Management from the University of Technology Sydney and a Diploma in Aboriginal Studies and Health Science from Cumberland College. She is a registered nurse and has worked as the Aboriginal Health Education Officer for 24 years in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. In 2008 she was awarded the Australian of the Year Local Hero Award.

Maurita Cavanough

Maurita Cavanough
Finalist

Maurita is a Bundjalung woman and the Director of Jarjum Centre Inc., an Aboriginal Pre-School in Lismore, Northern NSW. She is well known for her passionate approach to community led capacity building, mentoring women, early childhood education and transformative Indigenous education.

Believing change only takes place when it is community-led; Maurita mentors her team through early education studies, advocates for better early childhood facilities in Lismore and was selected for Oxfam’s Straight Talk program in 2016.

On top of her commitment to early childhood, Maurita is supporting Lismore’s youth to remain engaged in school through a voluntary run homework club. She believes the first five years of a child’s life are the most important and provide a safe, culturally appropriate space for Aboriginal children to thrive in.