Changing the Face of the Boardroom: Vicky Welgraven
In this interview series, we take a look at life as a ‘non traditional’ board member and the benefits they bring to boards and organisations.
Today we are profiling Vicky Welgraven, a powerhouse and tireless advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women – here in Australia and at the United Nations. Vicky is not only breaking down barriers for women in the boardroom, she is also doing it on a cultural level.
I am incredibly pleased to have Vicky as part of the Changing the Face of the Boardroom initiative.
GOBA: What boards do you sit on?
VW: I sit on a handful of boards, including:
• Premiers Council for Women (SA)
• Reconciliation SA Board
• Adelaide City Council Reconciliation Committee
• Zonta Club of Para District Area Inc. (Advocacy Group)
GOBA: What is unique about you as a board member (e.g. non-traditional profession, culturally diverse, gender, age, unusual organisation, etc)?
VW: I am a strong proud Adnyamathanha Aboriginal woman, from the Northern Flinders Ranges in SA. I am passionate about Advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Human Rights and Issues. I am also passionate about Gender Equality and Reconciliation.
GOBA: How did you get your board seat?
VW: Due to my extensive experience in advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Issues, In addition I was the former South Australia Representative on the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA) which I held from 2014 -2016. In March 2016, I represented Australia and NATSIWA at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women CSW60. I also was the Chairperson of Nunga Miminar Inc which is a Domestic Violence Shelter for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Children in SA. Because of all my experience in Women’s issues, Gender Equality and my passion for Reconciliation I believe has led me to being selected to be on the boards I am currently on.
GOBA: How does your uniqueness benefit the board / organisation?
VW: I bring a perspective that is often times ignored or not fully understood. I help boards and organisations think more broadly about indigenous people and how best to meet their needs through products and/or services.
I am a strong Aboriginal woman who isn’t afraid to speak up and challenge others on issues that are very important to me and that I am passionate about.
GOBA: What has your experience on a board been like? Do you feel that your differences are a benefit or a hindrance?
VW: My experiences on boards have been positive. I certainly feel that my perspectives are of considerable benefit to a board and organisation. I am a person who will contribute ideas and offer practical solutions to a situation or issue that may arise on the boards I am currently associated with.
GOBA: What advice would you give to people in a similar situation to you?
VW: I believe that every individual can achieve anything in life if they put their mind to it. This quote has always reminded of my journey in life…. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it”
[heading] ABOUT THE CHANGING THE FACE OF THE BOARDROOM INITIATIVE [/heading]
Many times I am told by aspiring board members that they feel like they are not qualified for the boardroom, or that they have nothing to offer. Much of this self-opinion comes from the perception that is reinforced in messages about the boardroom; you have to be old, connected, conservative, and extremely educated to be on a board.
I am certain that there are many wonderful board members out there who don’t fit the traditional “pale and stale” stereotype of company directors / board members. People who came to the boardroom along the path less travelled, with a unique career background or because of some rare characteristic that has proved invaluable for an organisation.
I know they’re out there and I want to profile them to show aspiring directors that they do have something to offer. That the boardroom is somewhere they can thrive and give back; and that their uniqueness can have extraordinary value to an organisation. I want organisations and people everywhere to know it too.
[heading] READ OTHER CHANGING THE FACE OF THE BOARDROOM PROFILES [/heading]