Mena's passion for empowering others
Mena Waller has her sights firmly set on being an influential leader for Aboriginal advancement at a community, state and national level.
Born and raised in Rockhampton, Mena spent four years living in Brisbane and working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health before moving to Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. There, she pursued her passion for community development and gained a richer experience working in remote communities.
Mena, 28, turned to TAFE Queensland to upskill and enrolled in a Diploma of Community Development (CHC52115). "One step to achieving my goals was to enhance my personal development. In doing so and acquiring this knowledge, I'm better placed to support and empower others in my community," Mena said.
Mena belongs to the Yawuru Nation and her cultural connections stretch across northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Mena said her role as a Regional Manager for Save the Children was very rewarding.
"As a proud Aboriginal woman, I want to improve cultural competencies in a range of settings including early childhood and family services, in a way that upholds traditional family values, practices and knowledge."
"Another initiative I am working towards within my role is to improve Aboriginal workforce recruitment and development strategies," Mena continued.
"It's an absolute privilege to work in the community development sector and connect with passionate people and build close relationships with local leaders to support the betterment of communities and families."
Mena said she was able to work full time and complete her training via online classrooms. "It's evident that TAFE Queensland recognises that flexible study options are crucial to those who already live and work in regional and remote communities, which is often where the most intense community development occurs."
"Relocating from Queensland, I was pleased to know that I could still study with a recognised institution during my time in the Northern Territory," Mena said. "I also appreciated the passion of the teaching staff at TAFE Queensland and their practical understanding and experience in the sector."
Mena said she was grateful to receive a TAFE Queensland Scholarship to support her training. "Studying comes at a cost and living remotely comes with unique barriers and challenges. The scholarship money ensured that there was a nominated amount specifically for my studies, instead of chewing into money that I would otherwise need to offset high living costs."
"It was really nice to receive the scholarship because it meant that my commitment and passion for community development was being recognised and rewarded," she said. "Being successful for this scholarship gave me confidence in the work that I've already done and will continue to do within the community development sector."
Mena said it's never too late to pursue your passion. "It’s important to remember that we are always learning, and that seeking further studies benefits yourself, your family and community," she said.
"It's great to consider new opportunities and to dedicate yourself to something you're passionate about and interested in."