Kristal Kinsela is a proud Aboriginal woman, descendant of both the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. Over the past 10 years Kristal has had an extensive career in education and training, organisational and workforce development, and supplier diversity working across Government, Corporate and Not-for-Profit sectors.
Surrounded by inspiring stories of success through the growth of the supplier diversity movement in Australia, it is no wonder that Kristal embarked on her own entrepreneurial journey. In establishing her own consultancy, Kristal’s goal is to help Corporate and Government clients to increase their productivity, performance and Indigenous engagement through coaching, training and facilitation.
Where are you from?
I’m a proud Aboriginal woman descendant of the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations. But I grew up on Darug land in the Western Suburbs of Sydney at Doonside. I’ve lived in Port Macquarie on the mid north coast for the past 8 years, only recently moving back to Sydney in late December last year.
What do you do?
First and foremost I’m a mother of two beautiful children, Allayah who’s 11 and Kaylan who is 9. People are my passion, and I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to create a business that works with people in a positive way. In a nutshell I provide coaching, training & development and facilitation services to help individuals and teams to realise their potential, create positive change, increase performance and productivity. I’m also an advocate of supplier diversity and my goal is to see more Indigenous businesses embedded in the supply chains of Corporate and Government.
What is one of the best decisions you have made?
About 6 years ago I decided to take a step sideways and move out of an Aboriginal identified role and work in a mainstream role. It has been one of the best decisions I ever made. What I learnt was that I didn’t need an Aboriginal title to have influence on Aboriginal issues. It taught me that I was more than capable to work mainstream, that I was more than just an Aboriginal person in an identified role. I learnt more about my real skills and capabilities in working with people, I mastered my training and facilitation skills, and became skilled in many areas of organisational & workforce development, project management and communication. But one of the most important things I learnt in this process was about leadership and the kind of leader I wanted to be. All of which have helped me in the work I do today.
What is one of the worst decisions you have made?
I can’t describe a single worst decision that sticks out immediately. I’ve made lots of mistakes, and I continue to make mistakes and bad decisions. But I learn and grow from each of them and try not to make the same ones again.
What are some of the barriers to female leadership?
I can only speak from my own experience, but I’ve experienced:
– Age prejudice – particularly the pre-conception that young female leaders lack experience because of age
– The misconception that you can’t be a mother and have a career – I’ve proven you can juggle both, as hard as it is, but there still is a misconception that women can’t return to the workforce at the same or higher level because they have kids. Or that kids hold them back.
What women have inspired you?
My grandmother Myrtle Alpena Kinsela (née Banfield) is and always will be an inspiration to me. A wise woman, she was dux of her school. She raised 10 children, 8 of which are strong women. She always had a story to tell, she was a confidante, someone you could tell anything too and she never sat in judgment. She could always stretch a meal to feed many mouths, and she would give the shirt off her back or open her home to anyone. Family was everything to her. Every time I look at my hands, I’m reminded of her strength. I have her hands.
I’m not one to pay too much attention to celebrities or other famous people. But I’ve been very fortunate to have had many women who have inspired and guided my journey directly, such as Viv Dale, Leanne King, Kerri-Ann Hewett and Kelly Lamb.
Someone I look up to everyday is Natalie Walker. She’s my idol, and I’m so very fortunate I get to work with her and call her a friend.
What advice would you give to empower the next generation of women?
The power lies within you. Anything is possible, but it starts with you. Self-belief is incredibly important. You have to believe in yourself and back your capabilities. No one can believe in you, if you don’t believe in yourself.
What would you say to men about equality?
I’d probably ask them the question, like “who’s been the backbone to our communities?” Women have been and continue to be. We are all things to all people, yet we are still under-represented in senior leadership roles, underpaid and disadvantaged when we leave the workforce and return after we have children.
What exciting project do you have coming up?
I’m currently working with Inside Policy on the National IDX Summit to be held 27-29 April. IDX (Indigenous Digital Excellence) is a ground. Breaking $5 million, 5 year partnership between the National Centre of Excellence in Redfern and the Telstra Foundation.
Ways to get in touch with Kristal:
International Women’s Month series
To celebrate International Women’s Month this March, we have turned our logo purple to show our support for effective action for advancing and recognising women.
This year’s theme is #PledgeForParity:
We want everyone – men and women – to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.
We are also recognising the achievements of some amazing women that have inspired us by sharing some of their valuable advice and how they are doing their part to empower women.