Andrea Mason, the chief executive officer of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council in the Northern Territory, is the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.
Ms Mason has had a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors in the Northern Territory, all focused on just and fair access for Aboriginal people through employment, workforce planning, tenancy management and negotiating reconciliation action plans.
She was made CEO of the NPY Women’s Council in 2009.
For more than 20 years the NPY Women’s Council has been supporting its members through service delivery, advocacy, education and employment.
All services are provided for women and their families to increase their capacity to lead safe and healthy lives with improved life choices.
Due to the nature of the organisation, the range of services on offer and the geographical remoteness of the communities, Ms Mason has to be very adaptable in her role.
On a day-to-day basis she is required to be a policy maker, to a social reformer, a negotiator, an advocate and inspirational leader.
She is also responsible for the 413 members of the Council, who are all women over the age of 16.
As an Aboriginal woman, Ms Mason said it was a career highlight to work in an Aboriginal women’s member-led organisation.
“I love being the type of leader that I am because it means I can take communities with me on a journey,” she said.
Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador Joe Pollard said she was thrilled to provide Ms Mason with a platform to tell her powerful and exemplary story.
“Ms Mason speaks with dignity and leads with humanity and cultural sensitivity,” Ms Pollard said.
“She has demonstrated tangible success in breaking the cycle of domestic violence, which has the potential to be ground-breaking for women tackling one of Australia’s biggest issues.
“She has involved the entire community in her business model and built a blueprint for making a difference. Significantly, Ms Mason has developed a replicable commercial process and relationships to make it sustainable.”
Ms Mason was also named the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award winner at a ceremony on Wednesday (November 16).