A seat at the table series: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allyship

On July 27, 2023 a seat at the table series

IAB Australia has partnered with The Women in Programmatic Network (TWIPN) to launch the Seat at the Table Series.  The series will dive into the personal experiences of those from the local advertising community, and give these role models a seat at the table to share their story. Each month we'll feature a different topic and guest speaker. 

The first week of July was NAIDOC week which is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. So for our July interview, we are featuring Philippa Moig, Head of NSW Government, OMD who will be opening up to us about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allyship.

To get started, we’d love for the readers to get to know a bit about you and how you got to where you are today. How did you land in the Media industry and why did you stay?

I always like to introduce myself in an Indigenous way because Indigenous culture is about sharing who we are as human beings, it’s not about what we do. I’m mum to Archer and Mila, wife of Adam (who is a proud Wiradjuri man), a proud ally and someone who has become passionately obsessed with learning from First Nations people and culture. Like most people I sort of stumbled into this industry, but fell in love with the dynamism, the pace, the people. In more recent years, I've taken the opportunity to be a positive disruptor and influence important change.  

Who inspires you in our industry? And why?

There’s a few! Aimee Buchanan, CEO of Group M ANZ, is equally tenacious and humble. She is one of the most genuine souls you will meet. She is generous with her time and how she invests in others so that they may grow.

The other would be the co-CEO of OMD Australia, Sian Whitnall. Sian is a trailblazer, probably the youngest CEO in our industry and a Mum of 2. Sian has a beautiful raw honesty about her, she is compassionate, really gives a sh*t about people, highly intelligent, and creates a deep sense of trust. This means people can be their best selves around her and within the agency.

You’re a RAP leader across OMG and The Marketing Academy and you sit on MFA’s DE&I Advisory council. You are an active and vocal ally to our First Nations community. What propelled you to learn more about Indigenous culture and to become an ally to the community?

I had a burning curiosity to look beyond the recent 238 years of colonisation and learn from the 80,000 years that came before. The culture, the values, and the people opened my eyes to a new perspective and a better way of being.

I care deeply about truth, representation, and inclusiveness. I am incredibly tenacious when it comes to educating myself.  It’s not the responsibility of 3% of the Indigenous population to educate the broader community. It's an individual responsibility, but also a wonderful and enlightening journey to go on. 

I know we can do better when it comes to mob, neuro-diversity, LGBTQI+, differently abled communities, gender, age, and religion. Learning allows us to look at our differences and see them as  points of beauty. Equally it drives us to find the common elements of humanity that bind us all together. When I started my journey, l was shocked to learn how much I didn’t know, how much is not taught within our systems.

You have said that “actively building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples has been really important and rewarding”. Can you explain why?

Leaning in, getting curious, and building friendships with mob has changed my life for the better, and it has the power to change yours. Yarning with, learning from, and being around mob has gifted me new and different perspectives. These experiences have taught me to really value the things in life which are most important - connection, family and time.  I think there is a misconception about building relationships, and ultimately a lot of people put this into the “too hard” basket, or “I don’t know where to start”. My advice is just start! 

What advice would you both give to the readers who are wanting to learn more about Indigenous culture and become better allies?

1. Speak up and speak out against racism

2. Never speak on behalf of mob. The golden rule is “nothing about us without us”. A good ally supports self empowerment and self determination. This is why the Voice to Parliament, which recognises and consults mob on matters which impact their communities, is so important.

3. Use traditional place names and addresses. @place_names_in_addresses is a great instagram account to help you learn.

4. Lean in and take responsibility for educating yourself.

5. Start with your local Aboriginal Land Council.

6. Support Indigenous events by attending or putting them on at your work (outside of NAIDOC week and National Reconciliation Week) and having a yarn with the people who come into your business.

Example: Tribal Warriors: learn about the culture of Redfern

Ngumpie weaving: share a cultural experience & have a yarn

Joe Williams: Learn about wellness and mental health through Indigenous Values

Paul Callaghan: The power of culture & living a life of colour

Welcome to Country: Have a family experience

7. You can also listen & learn via these great podcasts : Blak Matters, Black Magic Woman. 

8. The SBS inclusion course (linked below) is also a great way to educate yourself.

This year, Australians will vote in the referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. What would you encourage our readers to do before making their decision on how they will vote?

The places which have provided me the most valuable and insightful information, are non-partisan and simply hold space for rich discussion include the 'Blak Matters' podcast hosted by Teela Reid, and Channel 34 NITV's The Point “Referendum Road Trip”. I also follow @ulurustatement on Instagram.

Neither the “yes” nor the “no” campaign referendum information you will receive in your mailbox information is actually fact checked. It's just written by the parliamentarians who voted “for” or “against” and then sent out by the Australian Electoral Commission. So you need to take responsibility to educate yourself and cut through the noise to make the best decision for you.

You can check out my LinkedIn to better understand what The Voice is from this short radio interview. 

To close, we’d love it if you could share some earned wisdom with our readers. What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share today?

Take responsibility for educating yourself and put the effort in. You need to genuinely give a sh*t if we are to create a better tomorrow and truly walk beside our Indigenous brothers and sisters. 

A list of resources that Philippa referenced, as well as some additional links are below: