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Breaking bias: Balancing boardroom and motherhood in Bamaga

Portfolio Member for Economic Development and Member for Bamaga: Tailisa Yusia

First-time Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) board member, Tailisa Yusia, is paving the way for more young women and mothers to have a say in their communities.

At 34-years-old, she’s among the TSRA’s youngest Board members.

As Portfolio Member for Economic Development and Member for Bamaga, she’s embracing opportunities to learn and advocate for women, her community and the people of Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait).

“It’s a privilege to work alongside experienced community leaders, I’m trying to gain as much knowledge as I can,” Ms Yusia said.

“My community motivates me, because I would like to enhance things that are working and look for resources for areas that can work better and smarter.”

She credits her father, mother and traditional adopted mother as her inspiration.

“My father Jonathan has strong work ethics. He’s a protector, provider and a leader who inspires me to always put my head down and work for what I want,” she said.

“My mother Patricia is my strength in voice and a very hard worker, who enables me to speak up and advocate for what’s right.

“My adopted mother taught me you are never too old to get qualifications. She was 65 when she obtained her qualifications in nursing.”

Ms Yusia said it was important to do away with self-doubt.

“Never give up or lose faith in yourself,” she said.

“Women are amazing and when we want something, we will make it happen.

“Always remember if there is not a path, we as women, will find a way to make a path.”

She has challenged gender and cultural expectations to prioritise a university education and start her family later.

After more than a decade of study, she holds a Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Business / Community Services, a Certificate IV in Governance and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

“I studied for many years, but also prayed to be a mother,” she said.

“I have my blessing, so now I want to spend time with my daughter and also balance fulltime work and Board commitments.”

Ms Yusia encouraged more women to take up leadership opportunities.

“I would like to see more women on boards and in leadership roles,” she said.

“COVID-19 has taught us to be more flexible to do work at home.

“Technology has made it really easy – it’s not the traditional style of working.

“This generation can be working from home or anywhere.

“It’s good to have women’s perspectives on boards and views from people of all ages.

“This International Women’s Day, let’s encourage women to participate and when it’s COVID-safe, go out in the community more and yarn with aspiring leaders.”

In 2021, Ms Yusia supported the delivery of the Torres Strait Maritime Pathways Project – a certified coxswain course in Bamaga – to 20 participants, including three women.

Her priorities include to increase economic development and infrastructure, improve social and emotional wellbeing services and quality of education for future generations.

TSRA is celebrating inspiring local women as part of Queensland Women’s Week from 5-13 March 2022, including International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias and supported by the United Nations’ call to action, Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.

Did you know?

TSRA Board includes five women – up from three in the previous Board term – the strongest level of female representation since TSRA was established in 1994.

Learn more about the TSRA at www.tsra.gov.au

Media contact: media@tsra.gov.au

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.