Kristal Kinsela, a woman of influence in life and business

Indigenous businesswoman and UNSW Sydney MBA student, Kristal Kinsela, named on the AFR top 100 Women of Influence list.
Adam Phelan | UNSW Newsroom
Indigenous business woman and UNSW student Kristal Kinsela

Ever since Kristal Kinsela started her career, she knew she wanted to make a difference for Aboriginal peoples and the community. Today, the proud descendant of the Jawoyn and Wiradjuri nations is making an impact through Indigenous business development and procurement.

Indigenous business is an important route, Kinsela believes, to empowering Indigenous communities and supporting self-determination. 

“Since I started my career in education…I knew I wanted to do work that made a difference,” she said.

“I’m so very fortunate that the focus of my business has been able to evolve and allow me to spend time working directly with other Aboriginal people in business, [and] advocating for Indigenous business.”

As managing director and owner of Indigenous Professional Services (IPS), Kinsela creates lasting pathways and assists in growing the capabilities of Indigenous businesses and individuals. A passion that has seen her named on AFR top 100 Women of Influence list this month.

The award also highlighted her work with governments and corporations on how best to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

“I cried when I saw I had made the list,” she said.

“To be recognised on such a prestigious list amongst so many amazing women… is phenomenal.”

The AFR top 100 Women of Influence list acknowledges the most inspirational, influential and visionary women in Australia each year.  

The awards, now in their seventh year, cover 10 different categories including business, innovation, the arts, culture and sport.

Last year, UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis topped the list for her work with the Referendum Council and their regional dialogues that culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This year saw four other UNSW academics make the list.

For Kinsela, her own journey shows the power that business can have for Aboriginal peoples.

“The growth of demand for Indigenous business has grown because of Indigenous business procurement policies. What that has in turn done has allowed Indigenous businesses to grow,” she said.

“…It’s creating a generation of Indigenous business leaders. And as they grow and rise, they will break the cycles of days past. I say that from lived experience.”

Alongside her work directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, Kinsela is completing an MBAX through the AGSM at UNSW.

The role of education, she says, acts as another important piece of the puzzle for Indigenous business.

“In the community, I have actively encouraged other Indigenous business people to consider further study… to gain that needed business acumen, that we [Aboriginal peoples] are all so terribly stereotyped to as not having,” Kinsela said.

“I have tried to be a role model for the community about considering further study, because life is [about life] long learning, and an MBA is a great investment in yourself and your business.”

The AFR Women of Influence winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on 22 October 2019.