Leah Cameron received a scholarship in 2018 for a Rare Birds mentoring program through the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women. Leah, a proud Palawa woman, was one of 100 women entrepreneurs from marginal demographics to participate in the program.
Leah struggled with the concept of personal brand and self-promotion in business. The mentoring provided Leah with tools that enabled her to slowly dip her toes into the area and feel comfortable in putting herself forward as the face of her indigenous law practice Marrawah Law. As a direct result of implementing the skills learnt in mentoring, both the firm and Leah’s public profile was substantially boosted together with opportunities to promote the firm through public speaking and other networking events.
As a result, in the twelve months after completing the program, Leah’s business almost doubled its staff numbers, and client base and opened an office in Brisbane.
This year, she has another practice in Tasmania, spoke at the Women and Leadership Australia symposium in Brisbane, and was named Supply Nation Indigenous Businesswoman of the Year and Certified Indigenous Business of Year 2021.
“I found my mentoring program incredibly beneficial for both my personal growth and for my business development,” Leah says. “Not only did I learn invaluable skills, but I also gained a lot of confidence. I am delighted to be the Program’s ambassador.”
“Having been a mentee myself I know how hard it can be to access mentors, and particularly those that have the relevant knowledge to help with your own business growth. The First Nations Business Growth Program will assist and connect First Nations business leaders with mentors they would not have necessarily been able to source themselves due to limited connections. The opportunity to be connected and learn from a mentor is a great takeaway from the Program but on top of this the practical tools business leaders can obtain during the 1:1 sessions will be invaluable. You can’t beat real life experience to help with your own development.”
American Express initiated the program as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan. Stephen Pendergast, Vice President, SME Global Commercial Services and Reconciliation Action Plan Executive Sponsor, American Express said, “The First Nations Business Growth Program is about supporting financial resilience within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business community and celebrating their contribution to our diverse neighbourhoods.”
“The Program is part of American Express’ ongoing commitment to closing the inequality gap and to driving inclusive initiatives as we continue our Reconciliation Action Plan journey.”
For more details and to apply visit: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-au/business/campaigns/first-nations-business-growth