How PwC's Indigenous Consulting (PIC) is powering positive change for the community

“Growing up I always knew I was Aboriginal but because my great-grandmother was part of the Stolen Generation and was taken to Cootamundra Girls Home, the traditional stories and methods of my mob were not passed down.”

Ngiyampaa woman Sarah Richards has not always felt connected to her Aboriginal heritage, but in recent years she has been able to create her own stories through traditional art; and find her place in her community through her work with PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) firm.

Sarah and her fiancee.

Established in 2013, PIC is majority owned by Indigenous leaders and maintains a target of at least 60% Indigenous employees.

“We walk between the two worlds. We work with government, and with our communities to make sure that everyone who is impacted by a potential policy has a voice and is not being dictated by what government wants to happen.”

“Our purpose is to empower our communities to be self-determining.”

Sarah started with PIC as a consultant (or as she prefers to all it “a problem-solver”) and is now the operations manager.

PwC's Indigenous Consulting firm team.

“I used to work in government and I was the only Aboriginal person; now I am surrounded by other Indigenous people who I share common experiences and history with.”

When she’s not working to create change through her career, Sarah is a contemporary self-taught artist.

Sarah creating one of her traditional paintings.
“For many years I have struggled with the desire to paint and not feeling truly comfortable doing so. I have often been questioned about my heritage due to my lighter skin.”

“I chose to make peace with my lack of knowledge of traditional stories and instead, I decided to move forward by telling my own stories and incorporating them into my art. I also enjoy interpreting other people’s and organisation’s journeys through my art.”

'Journey of Growth' by Sarah Richards.

Sarah was recently commissioned to create the artwork for PwC’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP); she has also created pieces for Palliative Care Australia and CPA Australia.

PIC and PwC Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2019-2023 was awarded the highest endorsement — Elevate — from Reconciliation Australia. The RAP includes hiring 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into our firm, committing a certain amount of contestable spend to Indigenous businesses and a pilot program which aims to fast-track growth for 15 Indigenous businesses in Victoria. PwC Australia has also collaborated with the Murra Alumni of the Melbourne Business School to provide $30,000 worth of skills and expertise to a winning Indigenous business in support of future growth.

The name of Sarah's art business — Marrawuy Journeys — is a nod to her people and culture.

“Marrawuy in my ancestors’ language of the Wongaibon people means red kangaroo. I have a family tree that shows that the totem of one of my ancestors was a red kangaroo and this is one of the reasons I have chosen to go by Marrawuy Journeys. The other is the fact that a Kangaroo can’t jump backwards. This resonates strongly with me because no matter what challenges I am thrown, I keep moving forward."

Want to create your career with PwC? Here's Sarah's advice:

“It’s really important to have a growth mindset and always be willing to learn. You also need to just give things a go. What I wish I had been told when I was younger, and I always remind myself even now, is — if you don’t ask the question then the answer will always be no.”

Get started on your journey here.

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