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Page Background

Back row, from left: Margaret Blackman, Mary O’Reeri, Anthony Mara, Sean Gordon. Noel Pearson, Harold Ludwick,

Fiona Jose, James Fa’Aoso. Front row, from left: Neil Morris, Ian Trust, Chris Ingrey. 2014.

Photo: Louie Douvis

Rarrtjiwuy Melanie Herdman, Emerging Leader 2015

and a Yol


u woman from East Arnhem Land, is now

acting CEO at Miwatj Health in North East Arnhem

Land (see case study on page 14). In her mid-twenties,

Rarrtjiwuy went on the Emerging Leaders program

and it proved a catalyst:

Emerging Leaders confirmed

for me the theory I had on how

I go about influencing and

empowering people. It helped

me answer the big questions I

had: What moves do I make?

What direction do I take to

reinforce what the old leaders

were doing in the past? And

how do I help plant the seed

for the next generation?



Rarrtjiwuy used learning and motivation from

Emerging Leaders to set up a leadership program for

young Yol


u (Indigenous) leaders in Arnhem Land:

Emerging Leaders directly gave me the idea to

set up this leadership program in this region. It

prompted me to look and identify the leaders

around me now, and the emerging leaders I can

see. And it helped me see more clearly that

there’s a gap between the two. There’s a big gap

between the leadership in our community and our

elders, and the leaders of tomorrow. This feeling

got stronger in me during Emerging Leaders.

Many Emerging Leaders alumni have returned

to their regions to pass on the baton to the next

generation of leaders. As well as actively recruiting

for the Emerging Leaders program among their

communities, many formally took on responsibilities

to support leadership development. James Fa’Aoso

is now Head of Leadership at the Cape York Institute.

Chad Creighton returned to the Kimberley and

became a committee member of the Kimberley

Aboriginal Youth Leaders initiative run by Aarnja as

part of Empowered Communities. And many other

past Emerging Leaders have gone on to reinvest

in young leaders while continuing on leadership

journeys of their own.