Moses simply wanted to do more for his community

Moses Nelliman, a Torres Strait Island man based  in north Queensland, is one of the first graduates of the Milparanga Leadership Program. 

“I had applied for the course in 2018 but was  unsuccessful which was a blow at the time,  because a friend and I had applied together – he  got in and I didn’t,” Moses said. 

“I got some feedback from an ARLF alumni and I applied again and got in to the 2019 intake. But as much as I wanted it, the timing wasn’t great  because just before the course we’d suffered a one in 100-year flood in Townsville,” he said. 

“In the weeks leading up to the first part of the  program I’d been spending days and nights  cleaning up the houses of friends and family who  had been seriously affected by the flooding. I was  so fatigued and quite shell-shocked when I went  from disaster zone to a motel in Perth, but in a way  it put things in to perspective for me – once I got  settled it was better than I expected.” 

With a resume including nearly 20 years in the  Queensland Police Service, Moses has been working for the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) in his home town of Townsville for the past two years, with a focus on finding employment for Indigenous  jobseekers. 

“I simply wanted to have a real impact and do more for my community,” he said. 

“While the timing proved to be hard initially, being  accepted into the Milparanga Leadership Program  12 months into my role with DATSIP was a critical  turning point in my career. 

“I had done Indigenous leadership programs before  but Milparanga was different. We spent time on  country and I’d not done that before and I found it  to be very freeing for me. 

“That was paired with some feelings that were also  confronting insofar as we were all a long way from  home and some of the personalities in the group  were much bigger than others. It took a bit to settle  the dust sometimes, but every experience was  worthy. 

“I’ve had leadership thrust on me previously and I  had to learn on the run so I felt I knew what made  a good effective leader but the Milparanga program  proved to me that leadership is many different  attributes and regardless of your experience, you  never stop learning. 

Moses said he’s learnt to better recognise  leadership qualities in others also. 

“That’s incredibly applicable for the clients  I’m working with each day. At the moment I’m  coordinating 17-24 year old’s on a construction  project and I can see different types of leadership  qualities in each of them that I can help them  channel for the greater good of the team – leaders  don’t always have to lead from the front. 

Moses said that realisation has helped him  reassess how best he can serve his community. 

“I’ve come to see that there were a lot of activities  that I was involved in for the sake of it without  having any tangible impact or delivering something  helpful,” he said. 

“I’ve lived more years than I have left. It’s up to me  to better channel my knowledge and be affective.  Not as a leader specifically, but as someone who  can see where my skills are needed and apply  myself to that task for the greater good. It’s  exciting to have the power of that knowledge and  put it in to action.”

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