All Waltja Directors must be Aboriginal women, and appointed from remote communities where Waltja works. They must be a permanent resident (living in the community for at least 5 years), have made a big contribution to the community and be recognised for their leadership, either paid or voluntary in the community.
At the Annual General Meeting, Waltja members elect Directors. Directors then vote on the office bearer positions. The office bearers are Chairperson, Public officer and three Executive members. These, with the CEO, make up Waltja’s Executive management team.
April Martin, Chairperson
I was born at Aninngie Station, near Willowra. I now live at Willowra community. My mother in from Aninngie and speaks Anmatjere. My father is from Willowra and speaks Warlpiri. I started boarding school at Yirara in the mid 1970s. I went back to Willowra and worked as a teacher, then I married and we moved to Ti Tree where I was a Health Worker for many years. From 1995 to 1998 I was the Willowra Community President.
I have been with Waltja right from the beginning. I joined Waltja because I wanted to help all the women in and around our community. I am the Chairperson and work alongside the other four Executive members. We meet six times a year. We discuss community issues and how to get support from Waltja and other services, and government too. We support Sharijn and the staff at Waltja to do good work. Waltja provides services to communities that need help.
Irene Nangala, Executive Director
I was born at Haasts Bluff, Ikuntji, and grew up at Papunya. In 1980 I heard that people were moving to Kintore. My grandfather and grandmother walked in from that country to Haasts Bluff a long time ago so we wanted to go back there. We built a new school, and I taught there. I was the first women Chairperson on the Walungurru Community Council at Kintore and was an ATSIC Regional Councilor for a long time.
I was at the start up of Waltja. I got strong from listening to other people and it made me really proud, from listening and from talking up for other people, not only for my family or Kintore but for Aboriginal people everywhere. I have been a Director at Waltja for more than 10 years. I was sick and now I am a renal patient. I am lucky though that my community, Kintore, has a renal unit so I can be home most of the time. When we are on country we feel stronger. We want to have lots of women come and listen and understand what Waltja is doing and what programs we run. You can talk to us the members and the workers and we will tell you all about it. We want our culture to stay strong. This is important for our futures.
Wendy Brown, Executive Director
I have lived all my life in Yuendumu. I have got grown up children and their families are living here too. Yuendumu is a good place for me to live. At first we ran a playgroup at the Women’s Centre. Finally we got the Yuendumu Childcare Centre. We call it Kurrdu Kurrdu Kurlangu – this means the young kids and older kids all together. I am proud of all the childcare work and training I have done with Waltja.
I talk up especially for the old people in my community of Yuendumu. I am Chairperson of the Yuendumu Old Peoples Program, Manpu Maninja Kurlangu Jarlu Patu Kurlangu.
I have been a Waltja member for a long time. I have been a Director for Waltja and on Executive. I meet up with women from all over Central Australia for Waltja. I enjoy meeting Waltja staff when we come in for meetings. I like how we support each other doing good work. It’s good having meetings with other Executive members, being together and sharing different ideas. At Waltja meetings we have a lot of different languages from right across the Central Deserts.
Mia Mulladad, Executive Director
I was born in Alice Springs. My father came from Mt Riddock Station, and even my grandfather used to live there, that area is our family country. We moved to Santa Teresa when I was seven or eight, I grew up there and went to school there. I lived in the girls’ dormonitory with the Sacred Heart Sisters, We used to go only on weekends to the family, for the day and come back in the afternoon. I loved school. The sisters of the Sacred Heart learned us more about religion, and English. When I was fifteen I left school. My first job was nursing. I worked at the Santa Teresa hospital. It was good work. We use to do shift work looking after the patients through the day and the night. I did nursing for about a year. After that I went to Darwin, I did the home management course so I could help other people. When I came back to Santa Teresa I worked as a teacher’s Aide at the school for about two years. Then I went to Batchelor up in the Top End to do the teaching course. I got discouraged from teaching course. But I always kept working.
I work at the Women’s Centre, cooking for the old age people, and I worked as a tutor at the school. Now I am working at the Spirituality Centre, Josie Palmer and I look after the centre. It is a healing place, I am a traditional healer, a nangkari. I love coming to Waltja Committee, Peaceful and friendly ladies, good meetings. I speak Arrernte, English and I understand Pitjantjara. I am happy to help with training at Santa Teresa.
Margaret Campbell, Executive Director
Kathy Bagot Yuelamu
Sharon Scrutton Laramba
Marilyn Nangala Mount Liebig
Kathleen Dixon Ikuntji