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May 10, 2021

In this episode, Claire speaks with Arabella Douglas, a Yugambeh/Bundjalung woman with traditional ties to far North NSW and South East QLD. Aboriginality wasn’t something Arabella found within her growing up — it was a process of relating and reflecting to the world around her. At school, she always excelled, but it wasn’t until she moved to Sydney in year eight that teachers took the time to encourage her intellectual ability. Today Arabella’s specialty is providing diversity and indigenous insights into social and economic value. She has degrees in Business, Law, Economics and Aboriginal Studies, and is currently adding a PhD in Economics to her commendable CV.

Serving on boards for more than 10 years, Arabella never commits to more than two positions a year so she can completely devote herself to the organisations she chooses. Currently, she serves as the Crown Lands Manager Director for Reflection Holiday Parks and is a Member of the NSW Housing Appeal Committee. She also advises that anyone serious about learning and growing in their careers engage the support of an executive coach. Arabella’s coach changed the trajectory of her career, helping her to look at her profession objectively and then to groom it as if she wasn’t a part of it. It’s not always about taking the next step up the ladder — sometimes a sideways stride is the best possible move.

Following a nudge by her mother, Arabella, along with her very large extended family of 3000 people, created an innovative business model based on a cousin consortium called Currie Country — Arabella’s “heart work”. It’s a collection of small and medium-sized businesses that congregate on a platform because they are connected to biological ancestry and traditional routes on the Tweed-Byron Coast.

Hear why Arabella thinks it’s important to steer away from your C Suite strengths when stepping into the boardroom and why connection to land is not an Aboriginal monopoly.  

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