Walking the talk: learning never stops
It wasn’t always easy hitting the books after a day of delivering class programs, but Khanita Sukaserm believes in the power of knowledge.
Supported by the Community Spirit Foundation, Khanita – a Senior Program Coordinator based in Woorabinda, QLD – completed a Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership. The course has provided her with tools and confidence that she draws on every day in her role.
“I learned a lot about organisation governance and was able to put the theory of what I was learning into practise as part of my job,” she said.
“It was so reassuring to know I was on the right track, especially when I stepped into the senior management position.”
While the course covered a range of valuable topics, including leadership, communication skills, community engagement, presenting and media liaison, Khanita said the unit she found most interesting was the one that covered maintaining and protecting cultural values in an organisation.
“It is so important in Aboriginal-led organisations like ours that we insert our protocols into everything we do,” she said.
“Now, when I’m sitting in a meeting, I have more confidence to put culture first.”
Khanita hopes that by completing the course she has set an example for young people in her community.
“Some of the students saw me studying and asked what I was doing. I told them that I was bettering myself, to better the way I worked with them,” she said.
“I also told them that it’s not just about turning up; it’s about the hard work you put in every day.”
She is particularly proud to be a role model for her seven-year-old twins and three-year-old daughter.
“When I stood up and received my certificate, my kids were so proud. They were little when I started the course, so they wouldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t studying.”
Khanita is the first to admit that studying while working, being an active community member and juggling family responsibilities wasn’t always easy.
“It was difficult sometimes,” she said.
“But I had the support of a strong mentor at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, and from my managers and colleagues at Community Spirit Foundation.