As featured in the 2017 Country Web Annual. In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we share multiple award winner Kristal Kinsela’s story.
Kristal is a proud Aboriginal woman, descendant of both the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. She has more than 10 years’ experience in education and training, organisational and workforce development, supplier diversity working across Government, Corporate and Not-for-Profit sectors.
As Director of Indigenous Professional Services, Kristal assists clients to increase their productivity, performance and Indigenous engagement through strategic leadership, coaching, training and facilitation.
Kristal is passionate about creating lasting pathways and growing the capabilities of Indigenous businesses and individuals. She contributes at the interface of Aboriginal business development and government and business procurement.
In 2011 Kristal 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.
A multiple award winner, Kristal was awarded NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year in 2017 and 2017 Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year, recognised for her outstanding contribution in working with Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses, leaders and women across Australia.
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.
What boards/committees are you currently on?
I am Director/Partner at Indigenous Professional Services, Director, Holiday Coast Credit Union, an Inspire Rare Birds Mentor and the Sydney Ambassador for Indigenous Women in Business.
What motivated you to become involved?
I am in my second term as Director of Holiday Coast Credit Union. What really encouraged me to get involved with this board was to learn more about governance, strategy and financial literacy. I love that Holiday Coast has a community commitment which aligns with my values.
I am passionate about women, and the other two roles came naturally because of this passion to support and advocate for other women in business.
What do you get out of being in these roles?
It is amazing to see women realise their potential, and I feel I win when they win. It just feels good when I help other people accomplish what they are trying to achieve.
Have you experienced any obstacles?
I’m a very determined woman. I wouldn’t say that there have been obstacles that have got in the way, but there have definitely been some challenges.
I have broken many rules when it comes to societal perceptions of what women can and can’t do. Added with that, I am breaking down stereotypes of that of an Indigenous woman.
Where do you get your support?
I keep a close circle of family and friends around me. My business partner Katina is a mentor and a great sounding board. I also have a number of like-minded business friends who I can talk too about business challenges.
What is your message to other women wanting to be more involved in decision-making?
Believe in yourself and just do it. I think ultimately, it is about confidence, backing yourself, and finding your voice.
I also believe in choosing your battles. Sometimes you have to give to gain in decision making. Let the little things slide, and fight for the important stuff.
I found the Australian Institute of Company Directors program a great learning experience to work on boards, and it has assisted in other areas of business life too.