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Martu health leader's brush with Fortescue top job a chance to inspire others

Tom Zaunmayr -

Martu woman Jessica Curnuck has gained firsthand experience of what it takes to be the boss of one of Australia's largest companies through its CEO for a Day program.

The registered nurse in April joined Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines and fellow leaders for the release of the company's March 2022 quarterly production report.

Ms Curnuck has pursued a career in health having experienced first-hand the power of positive medical experiences.

Six years of working in healthcare in regional WA has led Ms Curnuck to her role today as a registered nurse at Fortescue's Chichester Hub.

"Being a Nurse was not a career I had envisioned for myself when I was growing up, however I did see the outcome of what having poor health had for my family," she said.

"I attended so many funerals for family members that had passed away from what I now know were avoidable health conditions.

"My hope is to be a part of a better health care system where Aboriginal people don't fear going to the doctor for check-ups and where they don't ignore the signs and symptoms of a potential health issue.

Ms Curnuck said taking part in Fortescue's CEO for a day program was an unexpected opportunity she was excited to take part in.

She said the experience threw her out of her comfort zone, but one which enabled her to realise the important of sharing stories.

"I shared a small snippet of my story, why I became a nurse and my approach when providing patient care," she said.

"I had people come up to me and share their stories and let me know how my story affected them.

"When it comes to treating my Indigenous brothers and sisters, I also share my experiences.

"We are a story-telling people and I want to create a safe place for them to share their experiences and ultimately their health concerns."

Ms Curnuck said she aspired to move into a leadership position herself to champion workplace health.

Ms Gaines said the program supported promising Indigenous team members in their leadership aspirations.

"Jess lives and breathes Fortescue's unique Values and culture, serving as a mentor to young Indigenous teammates and consistently setting a high standard for them to aspire to," she said.

"Through her commitment, courage and determination she goes the extra mile both in her role and outside of work, and we are incredibly proud to have her as a member of the Fortescue family."

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