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Indigenous Corporate Leadership

program—Chris Ingrey

Chris Ingrey is of Dharawal and Dhungutti descent,

and is co-chair of Inner Sydney Empowered

Communities. Until recently, Chris was CEO of the La

Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council. Over the past

12 years he has navigated a range of management

and governance issues, and rebuilt community trust.

Partly through working with Jawun secondees, Chris

had come to realise that his goal of building a secure

community with quality services and mainstream

economic opportunities would need a foundation of

support from government and corporate Australia.

He entered the Indigenous Corporate Leadership

program with a desire to get better at managing

government relationships and influencing corporate

and government decision-makers. In his words, he

wanted to understand ‘influence, at all different

levels, and how that happens in a corporate context’.

Chris was seconded to Qantas as Industry

Relations Manager in the Government, Industry and

International Affairs department.

Reflecting on a long list of professional and

management skills he would take back to his

community in La Perouse, Chris said the secondment

has allowed a constructive distance, which supported

his personal development as a leader:

The distance allows for reflection. I can shift from

thinking operationally to strategically for La Perouse.

Indigenous Corporate Leadership

program—Brad Cooke

Brad Cooke is a Bidjigal man from La Perouse who

was a Jawun regional director for seven years before

being seconded to Commonwealth Bank as Manager,

Emerging Technology. Brad had witnessed dozens

of secondees give, learn and transform, and seen

Indigenous organisations and staff do exactly the

same but in different ways. With this in mind, there

were a range of professional and leadership skills

he hoped to strengthen, chief among them project

management and how to successfully pitch new

enterprise ideas to get support for them.

Within the Emerging Technology team, Brad was

exposed to the hard skills of corporate management

and forced to navigate a new world of corporate

norms. He also played a lead role in a team working

on tech-based solutions for future banking needs,

using blockchain technology, artificial intelligence

and augmented reality. One key project targeted

Indigenous recruitment by looking at remote ‘pods’

for Indigenous trainees and staff to be able to work

in their communities rather than travel to cities or

to branches. In that way, they could stay connected

to country in their own areas, and contribute to the

community while working for the bank.

Of a rewarding and challenging time not yet over,

Brad said:

It’s been a really exciting, creative area for me to be

in, and completely new for me. I’ve learned about

customers, about people in general, and ultimately

about what the future might look like. Hopefully

I’ve learned important project management skills

that I can take back into the community, to benefit

not just me but my community overall.

Chris Ingrey.

Photo: Ngakkan Nyaagu

Brad Cooke