WINNING WA’s Aboriginal award this month has motivated Butler resident Rishelle Hume (40) to continue her work promoting Noongar people and culture.
Ms Hume, who is the senior aboriginal employment consultant for Chevron, received the Aboriginal award at the Western Australian of the Year awards ceremony on June 3.
During her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the traditional owners of the Nulla Boodja land, Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation and thanked many Aboriginal leaders who had inspired her.
She credited her husband Matthew with being her “greatest rock” and her children Dakota, Indianna and Jackson “who put up with coming along to board meetings and inspire me to be a role model for them”.
Ms Hume also acknowledged her late grandparents, Patrick and Lorna Hume, for the way they “tirelessly promoted Aboriginal rights and culture”.
She said her phone had been inundated with congratulatory messages and some Aboriginal elders had said she inspired them to keep going.
“I’m going to continue to still do what I do; you win that and it motivates you to keep going,” she said.
“The support from the Aboriginal community for me winning it, I’m overwhelmed by that.
“That’s fantastic to know that you’ve got that support.”
Looking ahead, Ms Hume said she planned to start a fund to get more Aboriginal women into leadership programs.
“We really need to give them the tips and the tools and the things that they need to become great leaders,” she said.
“We need to foster and nurture a new generation of Aboriginal leaders.
“We need to invest in their leadership development, through programs such as the one we have culturally designed with Leadership WA, the YorgaDjenna Bid Leadership Program.
“We need to grow Aboriginal leadership capabilities so that we can create a future for my people where we no longer talk about ‘closing the gap’ because there’s no more gap to close.”
Ms Hume said she was humbled to win an award alongside overall winner Adrian Fini and arts and culture winner Warwick Hemsley.
“I must be doing something right to be around people like that,” she said.
This week Ms Hume also learnt she is a finalist for the 2016 NAIDOC Perth Awards outstanding achievement category, with winners to be announced on June 17.
Mr Fini, whose company Fini Group owns property in the Two Rocks town centre, was named Western Australian of the Year as well as winning the business award.
He has been involved in the property development, property investment and construction sectors in WA since 1977.
Western Australian of the Year award winners
Aboriginal: Rishelle Hume
Arts and culture: Warwick Hemsley
Business: Adrian Fini
Community: Dr John van Bockxmeer
Professions: Professor Arlene Chan
Sport: Caitlin Bassett, Nathan Fyfe
Youth: Ashlee Harrison