Karen Mundine: Leadership recognition is well deserved

Statement from Reconciliation Australia Co-Chairs - Professor Tom Calma and Melinda Cilento.

On behalf of the directors and staff of Reconciliation Australia we congratulate our Chief Executive Officer, Ms Karen Mundine, for her national award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership.

This acknowledgement of Karen’s exceptional leadership is well deserved

She has steered this organisation through challenging times, while retaining her enthusiasm and passion for reconciliation.

She has always remained a strong advocate for women and for First Nations peoples. In her professional life she has always worked to advance gender equity and amplified the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

As she said in accepting her award, “I carry in me my family history and the history of the Bundjalung Nation. My grandmother, mother, and aunties – role models to me and many others – set standards and expectations through their resilience and their own achievements.”

As Co-Chairs of the Reconciliation Australia board we endorse Karen’s call for women not to “underestimate what you might bring to the table – own it, everything you know you are, and all the things that you’re not – your perspective is unique.”

We would like to congratulate all the other State and Territory winners. It is fitting that Karen is part of this group of extraordinary women.

As the voices of First Nations women in leadership are heard with more frequency, the results can only be a better future for Australia.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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