Gumbaynggirr woman Katherine Dunn sits outside by the ocean on a sign that reads "Giinagay" which means hello in Gumbaynggirr language.

Katherine Dunn – Inspiring, Resilient, Dedicated

Katherine is a proud Gumbaynggirr woman from the Nambucca Valley. She has worked very hard to have success and now manages diversity and inclusion for a large, tier 1 infrastructure project in Sydney.

Family means everything to Katherine. As an aunty to 28 and a devoted sister, family is the reason she is dedicated to creating change and being a strong role model. Helping people is what she’s always wanted to do.

“I want to show them anything is possible if you work hard, if you put your mind to things – there is opportunity out there. If you have a go, you can never fail.”

Her parents splitting up when she was 16 affected Katherine’s mental health. She stopped going to school regularly and almost didn’t finish her HSC.

But Katherine has her mum’s resilience, and this drove her determination to keep going, try new things, and provide for her family.

It wasn’t studying that brought her to where she is now; it was getting out there and doing things.

“If I can give any advice, [it’s] open up, tell your story, talk to people because people out there want to help you, and they want to see you do good.”

“I guess working my way up in the industry and having a go at things has brought me to the point where I am now. Didn’t study, didn’t do any of that, it was just literally experience, asking questions, learning from people that have been in industry or working for a really long time and that’s something that’s always inspired me.”

“[My Mum] had quite a hard upbringing… a lot of intergenerational trauma and things like that throughout her upbringing, but, my resilience in willing to want to change that for my family, for my brothers and sisters, for their babies, my cousins, that comes from her.

“Family means everything to me. They are the reason why I do what I do.

“So, my nieces and nephews and my little brother and sister as well, I just want to show them that if you work hard, if you put your mind to things that you can do good.

“Inspiring Aboriginal people, youth, apprentices, trainees, women in trade, I think it’s so important. I think it’s got a long way to go still.

If I can do anything it’d be talking to youth around the area. Going back out into communities and providing opportunity [sic] that I’ve had and inspiring people around our areas and local communities that
anything is possible.”

You can now watch Katherine’s story, other stories from local heroes, and the full feature documentary film, Inspire U: Stories from the Valley on our Inspire U project page. We’ll be adding new stories regularly, so come back soon.

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Author: Simone Atallah

24 May, 2023
This passionate group of young people is making a positive impact in their community.
3 May, 2023
Gumbaynggirr woman Katherine Dunn tells why hard work and a great attitude are everything.
18 April, 2023
Surfer Teal Haigh shares her story and where her limitless determination comes from.
5 March, 2023
Young innovative chef Kyah Lulham shares his story and plans for self-sustaining restaurants.
31 January, 2023
Conservationist Caitlin Hockey shares why she's dedicated to protecting our unique environment.
17 January, 2023
The second Ball Against DV charity event was another huge success raising over $4,000.
19 December, 2022
The Nambucca Valley Youth Advisory Council are taking action to make positive change.


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