Deadly Business

By Rebecca Harcourt  Friday, 27 September 2013  Features

Five ASB Indigenous students were recognised at the inaugural Nura Gili Indigenous Awards celebrating Indigenous success at the UNSW Roundhouse on Friday 20th September, 2013.

The first award of the evening went to Matthew Martineer winner of ASB Excellence Award for the top academic achievement by an ASB Indigenous undergraduate student. Matthew is in the final weeks writing his thesis as part of his Honours year in the School of Economics and as his supervisor Professor of Economics Richard Holden observes:

"Matthew is an absolutely outstanding honours student in the school of economics. He is writing an extremely interesting and original thesis on the performance of mutual funds in Australia, using cutting-edge methods to assess the value added by funds managers. This research will illuminate challenges and opportunities for the managed-funds market in Australia and expand our understanding of asset pricing in Australia. Matthew represents the very best of our honours program--combining practical questions with rigorous analysis to shed new light on important problems."

On graduating Matthew will be moving to work in Canberra; though he is not ruling out coming back to do a PhD in the future.
Adrian Williams Head of Property Finance at AMP Capital has had a close association with ASB and Nura Gili through our ASB Indigenous Community Forums, Winter School and Pre programs in Business. He is a strong advocate and industry mentor to many of our Indigenous students and has been lobbying and raising awareness at the lack of Indigenous Australians qualified as Accountants within Australia since 2009.
"I believe in a modern world where financial literacy is one of those key pillars needed if any culture is to remain strong. Accounting knowledge is now one of those core skills that can provide strength to individuals, families and communities. We live in a corporate world today and I would like to see Indigenous wisdom and thinking as part of the fabric of leadership across Corporate Australia.'

Ben Eisikovich, in his second year studying the Bachelor of Commerce was recipient of the Spirit Award which recognises students who have overcome many challenges and demonstrate strong commitment to their studies, the ASB Spirit award was sponsored by Adrian Williams. Ben was so proud of the award which he likened to receiving an ARIA.
"I was surprised and honoured to receive the Spirit Award because all the Indigenous students within the ASB are so deserving. We all work with great determination and passion in our specialisations. I am grateful for all the background work that Bec Harcourt and Nura Gili do and thank the team for considering me for this award. I am also proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people finally have a "Ceremony of Achievement" and are now being recognised for education achievements. I could not think of a better way to celebrate the achievements of all Indigenous students! This significant recognition through such a formal process was incredible empowering and has inspired me to try to achieve better results and continue on my study journey".

Adrian also initiated and personally sponsored the Indigenous Accountants Awards in recognition of students who he describes as: "true warriors forging new paths for themselves and creating new possibilities for others"
Steve Fogarty, Sarah Hyland and Codie Martin were all recipients of the Indigenous Accountants Awards and as Steve expressed:
"To receive an award for my studies in accounting at such a prestigious University as UNSW is indeed an honour and one that I will hold dearly for the rest of my life. Special thanks to Adrian Williams from AMP who sponsored the Accounting Rock Awards. It's good to know that there are non-Indigenous people who like Adrian who are committed to supporti ng Indigenous accountants here in Sydney. It goes without saying that the staff from Nura Gili, ASB and of course Rebecca Harcourt ensures the success of our achievements by providing the necessary framework from which to build upon. I thoroughly enjoyed the Nura Gili Awards evening as it was an opportunity to relax from my studies and socialise with the other students and staff from Nura Gili and the ASB. The powerful voice of Howard who provided some entertainment between meals was a nice touch to the celebrations. This is my last semester to complete my Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW. I have another 10 week work placement at the NSW Treasury to fulfil my cadetship program. Hopefully in 2014 I will begin the CPA program to qualify as a professional accountant."
Sarah Hyland, a recent graduate and the first ASB Indigenous Coop Scholar is a passionate advocate for more Indigenous people to embrace the world of Business. Sarah is now working with Gavin Tye developing Indigenous Strategies as part of the national Indigenous Accountants Australia Project supported by the three Accounting bodies: CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants.
On receiving the award Sarah reflected:

"It's a great feeling to be recognised and to have the opportunity to reflect and give myself credit for the things I have achieved during my time at UNSW. I look forward to challenging myself through project work on the Indigenous Accountants Australia Initiative. Longer term: I am excited to do more travelling and to eventually return to professional practice and study towards a professional accounting designation."
Throughout the evening there was such a shared sense of pride and celebration The evening, developed by Summa Naylor of Nura Gili's student support team to encourage and inspire students during their studies was a great success. Dressed to the nines, students, alumni, staff, family members, community and industry guests all shared in the evening festivities at the UNSW Roundhouse with photographer Maja Baska and her photo booth adding to the celebrations. Well known Aboriginal actor Luke Carroll emceed the evening with live music by Aboriginal musician Howard Sumner who is also currently on the Director's course at NIDA.
As Award winner Codie Martin who is now working in Finance at Coca Cola Amatil observed:

"It was good to see both past and current students being acknowledged for their hard work and dedication towards their education. The Awards night was great; from the food to the people to the awards handed out everything was awesome. I was surprised to even be nominated let alone win an award. I am deeply appreciated to have been given this award and would like to thank Adrian Williams for sponsoring it. Adrian you rock!"