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Andrea Mason, Co-ordinator, NPY Women’s Council
Andrea is committed to delivering long term positive change to the communities across the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands. This is a responsibility she has been delivering since joining NPY Women’s Council in 2008. In April 2010, prior to a seven months acting period, she was appointed permanently to the position of Co-ordinator. Andrea’s relationship to the NPY Lands is strong both professionally and personally. Her mother’s people are Karonie people in WA and her father was born in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands between Jameson and Warburton. Andrea believes her role as Co-ordinator is one of being a custodian for the hopes and dreams of the women of the NPY Lands and so she is committed to doing all she can to see those dreams realised.
Her career prior to joining the Council in 2008, tells the story of the areas she has had long term interest in: reconciliation, Aboriginal employment and development, social policy and public administration. Andrea has close to a fifteen year career working in the South Australian and Australian public services. During these years, she worked in the SA Housing Trust in a team that provided housing and tenancy projects to communities in the APY Lands, and in the Australian Public Service she worked on policy to increase community engagement in Aboriginal communities and also building the leadership of Indigenous women.
Andrea enjoys working with and alongside people who have a passion to support people to find and implement solutions. In the early 1990s she worked as a Community Manager in a SA Government project which endeavoured to secure the 1998 Commonwealth Games for Adelaide, and she has also worked for Reconciliation Australia as a Relationships Manager in a project focussed on encouraging Australian corporations to increase their engagement and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture. A stint working in the SA Parliament and an attempt to enter politics prepared her for working in the political sector and various terms on boards and committees such as Transfield Services Indigenous Advisory Board, has provided Andrea with the opportunity to think about the type of setting that encourages Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together to achieve common goals.
As a young woman thinking about her future, she knew a good education would open up more career options so she completed a Degree in Aboriginal Affairs and Public Administration and later a Bachelor of Laws in Adelaide. Like many young Australians, participation in sport enabled her to develop positive life skills. During her ten year netball career, Andrea learned that hard work can provide a good reward, a core belief she has taken with her into her professional and community work. During this time she also learned that having a good sense of humour also helps to make the journey easier!
Andrea believes she has the best job in the world. She works with strong Aboriginal women and along-side a group of highly committed Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff, who give their best every day to see the objectives of the organisation realised. She sees herself as a social entrepreneur, working in the right job, at the right time, delivering with the guidance of NPY Directors, transformative change that will enable women and families of the region to live in safe and healthy communities.