Bethany Dance – Profile
A self-professed ‘mother hen,’ Wiradjuri woman Bethany realised early in life that she thrives when she is developing relationships and impacting others.
In between Bethany’s studies (she is in her final semester of a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Journalism at Newcastle University) and her work at the local escape room, she is completing a marketing and communications internship at First Australians Capital.
“I am simply trying to figure out my way in life. Just taking one step at a time. If a door opens for me, I might as well walk in” Bethany says.
Bethany brings her passion for storytelling into her marketing. She loves creating engaging narratives that illustrate how challenges have been overcome and the lessons drawn from the experiences.
“It’s the impact. I can see how much is happening behind the scenes, and I also get to know business owners and see the effects on their businesses and their lives. I love building connections and that’s what FAC is all about” she says.
Bethany’s mother has had a strong influence on her approach. Although it is her father’s side of the family that are of Wiradjuri descent, it was her mother who has continually encouraged her to discover, explore, and take pride in her heritage and culture.
“In my dad’s family, our background wasn’t something we talked about much. There is a lot of intergenerational trauma that runs through. A few generations ago, my family was a part of the Stolen Generation and because of that there has been a lot of shame, and loss placed upon my family and that travels down the generations.
“But now, my extended family is beginning to open up. It is nice to see a slow but sure change in the family dynamics, as my immediate family and I reconnect, and really display that is not something to be shamed about.”
Walking through the door
Bethany has spent the past few years at the University of Newcastle, engaging with the Wollotuka Institute.
“Engaging with Wollotuka not only allowed me to connect with other Indigenous people but has also provided me with a wide range of opportunities that have led me to where I am today.”
Through Wollotuka, Bethany was able to connect with Career Trackers, an Indigenous internship program, and was offered an opportunity to work with Y-Lab and intern at FAC.
“Through Y-lab I was granted amazing opportunities to work on humanitarian programs, as well as meet like-minded young Australians who want to create change. Working with FAC is a part of that, not only in connecting but also giving back to the Indigenous community, something I try to work towards in my daily life.”
Although she works long hours, Bethany is passionate about the work that FAC is doing and finds her journalism training helpful in finding stories, and telling them in a way to inspire and motivate readers.
“I find when I enjoy what I’m doing, I don’t mind putting in the extra hours” Bethany states.
“I am able to talk to a variety of Indigenous business owners, and I am finding that lots of Aboriginal families are really similar to mine. The culture is to give and give – my dad’s love language is gifts and acts of service, and I see that often in the elder generation. But that is where there is injustice, because in Western society it does not always come back around. The circle isn’t closed.”
Bethany sees FAC’s role as not just providing business support, but also addressing some of the institutional dysfunction.
“FAC is closing the circle, showing younger people how to be who they are in a world that doesn’t always recognise those traditional values. When we are working with start-up and early-stage businesses, often the entrepreneurs have absorbed the message from society that they cannot succeed and be true to themselves. FAC is helping heal that and gives them a chance to show what they are worth. I love telling those stories.” Bethany disclosed.
Bethany’s enthusiasm for storytelling is infectious. When asked what is next for her, she lights up: “My studies will be finished by the end of next year. At this stage I am not sure what is next. I hope I can keep working with FAC. I might spend six months working on my own stuff – maybe develop a podcast or blog.”
“I suppose at the top of that list is writing and telling stories, whether that is scripts, books, journal articles, I do not know.”
But Bethany does have one plan for the future. She and some friends have created a pact that they will all be financially independent by the time she is 38. You go girl!
Whatever she ends up doing, it will be a story worth telling!