Kia Dowell is a Gija woman from Warmun Community (Turkey Creek) in the East Kimberley of Western Australia. Her traditional Aboriginal name is Wadjbarreyal and her skin name is Nangala.
She joined the Board of Gelganyem in 2017 and was appointed as Chairperson shortly after. Immediately recognizing the urgent need to enact a plan for change, grounded in the cultural values of Traditional Owners of the Barramundi Dreaming where Rio Tinto's Argyle Diamond Mine is located, she sought to empower her community. In 2018, negotiations led by Kia with Rio Tinto commenced with a focus on accountability, equity and transparency. In 2022, Gelganyem continues to advocate for structural change, empower Traditional Owners, push for greater accountability and consequences regarding the performance and delivery of the 8 Management Plans and ensure the Sustainability Fund will continue to benefit generations to come.
With greater connections with First Nations communities around the world, Kia looks forward to the day when thousands of stories and experiences are shared, heard and acted upon.
Kia is passionate about working to support the growth of profitable and sustainable organisations that serve a greater social purpose for Aboriginal communities.
She leverages her experiences (personal and professional) as a past participant of the Global Ambassadors Program, a partnership between Vital Voices and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a finalist in the 2016 AIMWA and The West Australian’s West Business Pinnacle Awards for Emerging Business Excellence, a 2015 Business News 40under40 Award Winner and her MBA in International Business from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to identify and implement transformational and sustainable initiatives that deliver shared value.
She has spent time with school, community and corporate audiences in the US, Vanuatu, Turkey, Mexico and across Australia sharing her experiences of the power of business, cultural identity, resilience and the power of female leadership. Her most ambitious and important role is as mum to her two daughters, Lila and Naiyah.