NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme ‘Because of her, we can’ celebrates the essential role that women have played, and continue to play, as active and significant role models in the community.
This year’s theme resonates with everything we support here at Magnetic People. We genuinely respect the traditional rights, cultures, identities, traditions and customs of Indigenous peoples, and we are passionate about driving diversity in the workplace, be it cultural or gender diversity. We know that there are strong commercial reasons for diversity, and being a team of women ourselves we’ve seen first-hand how supporting women to succeed has positive impacts not only on business, but broader society.
To celebrate NAIDOC week, we caught up with Christine Lockyer. Christine is an elder and a Kuruma woman, born in Roebourne, proud mother and Grandmother. She is strong, independent and the embodiment of ‘Because of her, we can’.
Chrissy has played a significant role in the mining and construction industry. Starting her career in Port Hedland, initially with P&O, she progressed to owning and operating a successful cleaning business. This work afforded her face-to-face time with senior personnel of a mining company, who, after admiring her work ethic and tenacity, gave her the opportunity to become an articulated truck driver.
She became a mining operator at a time when female participation in the industry was very low, and even lower for Aboriginal females. Due to her impeccable safety record, excellent reputation and strong relationships with her crews and leaders, she was moved to new projects as they arose and commenced at Pannawonica in the early 2000’s to begin driving larger trucks. Chrissy’s highly-developed skills have seen her work on numerous projects for the likes of Dampier Port, Fortescue Metals Group, BHP, CITIC Pacific Mining, Chevron and many more.
When we asked Chrissy why she loves her job, she told us “I love the sense of freedom driving. It gives me a buzz. I love the feeling at the end of each job; there’s a sense of real achievement when you can look at a finished job and think ‘I helped build that’. It’s not about the money. It’s about the buzz and sense of achievement. To make yourself happy you need to find what makes you happy, and for me, it’s driving dump trucks.”
So, what advice would she give to young Aboriginal ladies so they can achieve their dreams?
“I believe it’s their choice, they have to decide what they want to do and go after it. Give everything a go and never say you can’t do it. Find what you like and what makes you satisfied in your soul, you won’t know until you try things what you like doing. Don’t let people get you down. Be strong enough to not let anyone push you around. Respect yourself, others and respect what you are doing and most of all laugh. It’s your life, your choice, don’t let anyone stop you for what you want to achieve.”
Chrissy strongly believes that people need to focus on the task at hand when they’re at work. “You need to focus and learn to switch off, not worry about what’s going on at home. Focus on yourself and your job, your mind won’t be on the job if you worry about what’s going on at home. You need to remember when you’re working that you are bringing goodness for yourself and your family from your achievements.”
With such a healthy attitude and brilliant work ethic, we were curious about the mentors who helped Chrissy find her path.
“My grandparents taught me so much. My Grandfather taught me to never say ‘I can’t’. He bought me up believing I can do anything I wanted too. He used to say things like ‘don’t tell yourself that you’re not going to and that you’re not good enough’. My Grandparents were my strength.”
Chrissy has passed on her amazing ‘I can’ attitude and learnings from her grandparents to her own children and grandchildren.
What does this year’s NAIDOC theme mean to her?
“Going back to my upbringing with my Grandfather and Grandmother, they showed me if you wanted anything you have to go and get it. It’s got to be the heart and soul of what you want to do. They taught me that I can, to have a go, be strong and to try.”
We commend Chrissy for her spirit, her determination and thank her for her role in enriching the lives of those who have the pleasure to work with or know her. Because of her, we can.