In 2015 we are Marking Five Years since we officially opened the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, on Friday the 26th of February in 2010, on the site of the former Redfern Public School.

It’s hard to believe it has only been five years since we opened our gates. In many ways, it feels like a much longer journey and in other ways, as if we’ve only just begun.

As the founding CEO, I would love to take this opportunity to say how proud I am to be a part of this team and the Redfern community. I am proud to be a part of this strong community whose history of leadership, advocacy, innovation and accomplishment has inspired our philosophical base of Indigenous excellence.  As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians we live Indigenous Excellence every day through our very survival, extraordinary resilience, strong kinship and the fierce pursuit of genuine self determination.

I am proud to be the leader of a team whose dedication, commitment and determination to their own excellence continues to inspire me every day.  I marvel at the number of strong young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who we’ve seen come through our gates with great big ideas.  We’re proud to be a part of their personal journey of excellence. I am proud to be part of an organisation that employs almost 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, who in turn help to deliver our programs that change the opportunity profile for their generation and generations to come.

It is important for me to acknowledge the leadership of the Redfern community, without whom we wouldn’t exist. It is the community who keep us honest and delivering results. I am very grateful for the enormous support the NCIE and I have been given by the community, our current and former staff, Board members, corporate partners and the Indigenous Land Corporation. Without you all we wouldn’t be able to deliver the world class programs or be here to celebrate our fifth anniversary. These programs have changed the lives and the belief of what’s possible for more than 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We are lucky to have this world class facility for our local and national community to engage with and use. However, to us, Indigenous Excellence has never been about the bricks and mortar of a place; the excellence lives in the people, our relationships and the enduring outcomes we create together.

I want to say thank you, to every individual who has walked through our gates and have absorbed our culture of Indigenous Excellence in their thoughts, actions and hearts.   I want to say thank you, to our local community leaders and members for the help, advice and the support they have given us to help change lives and inspire excellence.

We have seen the impact the programs we run out of the NCIE has on our kids; we see attitudes and aspirations change in our After School Program kids, our Deadly Young Leaders and the kids who come through the NCIE for one off workshops like the Indigenous Digital Agenda Summit.  Change is inspiring for us.  Change and innovation is what helps us to grow.  It shows us what we are doing is genuinely shifting perceptions of what’s possible and unleashing the innate potential of our young people and future generations of strong Indigenous leaders.