With a well-established history of working with Indigenous communities, SurePact recognised the importance of improving their engagement with First Nations peoples.
To facilitate this reconciliation journey, SurePact enlisted the expertise of Krueger Consultancy Services, an Indigenous-owned consultancy, to develop an Indigenous Engagement Strategy.
Read on to find out how SurePact is empowering their employees to cultivate positive relationships with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities.
In late 2022 and following a significant period of change, SurePact embarked on its journey towards reconciliation.
Kristen Stephens, SurePact’s Head of Customer Success, recognises the crucial role that First Nations people have played in the company’s foundations.
“Our organisational history is grounded in First Nations communities as some of our first clients, so it was really important for us to consider the impact these communities have on SurePact, and the impact we can have on them,” Kristen says.
This recognition led to a timely and significant shift in the company’s perspective, prompting SurePact to rethink their approach towards working with First Nations communities.
“We wanted to have a better understanding of how to engage with First Nations communities across the entire country,” Kristen says. “KCS was recommended to us and we started our partnership with Wade and Makita [Krueger] at the end of last year.”
A proud Ma Mu and Gooreng Gooreng Man, Wade Krueger founded Krueger Consultancy Services (KCS) during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the mission of fostering positive relationships and partnerships between the corporate world and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities.
KCS helps clients with their reconciliation journey, from Indigenous engagement, procurement, and employment to cultural awareness. As Wade puts it, “We provide assistance to those who are unsure where to start.”
Roadmap to success
Wade describes an Indigenous Engagement Strategy (IES) as “a roadmap of how to engage with the Indigenous community, from where we start to where we finish, the milestones in between, and the deliverables and targets that we meet along the way.”
As part of their IES, SurePact and KCS first established their goals, which included enhancing their engagement with First Nation communities, ensuring their relationships are mutually beneficial, and expanding their presence in these communities with respect and sensitivity.
“We aimed to have a really clear vision and understanding of how we can customise our product to meet the needs of these communities,” Kristen says. “We recognise that their way of doing business is different, and it was essential for us to be mindful of that in our communication with them. As a company, being able to cater to and respect these differences was a top priority for us.”
As part of SurePact’s IES, KCS commissioned Indigenous artist and proud Gamilaroi Man, Daniel Evans, to create a painting that depicts the reconciliation journey up until now.
The painting portrays the Brisbane River flowing through various Aboriginal Shire Councils and communities across Australia, representing the deep interconnections between each community, their shared hopes and aspirations. Wade says the artwork captures the essence of the IES, which is to promote understanding and unity among Indigenous communities and to pave the way for a brighter future.
Bridging the gap
One of the key focuses was to equip all employees with appropriate cultural awareness training, to enable them to conduct business with First Nation communities effectively, and gain a better understanding of how to tailor their product to the needs of those communities.
The staff went through an online cultural awareness course, and will soon participate in face-to-face training.
“I learned an enormous amount during our cultural awareness training,” Kristen says. “It has broadened our understanding of our client base, including many long-standing foundational clients from these communities who are still with us today. Being able to work with them on a regular basis and being respectful of how to engage was really important.”
Wade emphasises that KCS provided SurePact with the tools the company needs when its people go into an Indigenous community, including the knowledge of how to convey themselves and how to adhere to community protocols.
“This is most important,” he says. “It shows respect and shows that the SurePact employee is 100 percent genuine.”
For Wade, working with genuine organisations is essential. He emphasises that it’s not about ticking boxes or filling quotas – it’s about “being there for the right reasons.”
SurePact is committed to ensuring their engagement with First Nations communities reflects this spirit.
“I am a strong advocate for ensuring that nothing we do is done for the sake of tokenism,” Kristen says. “We appreciate the ongoing need to revise and align our engagement with the strategies KCS have defined.”
Navigating the challenges of Indigenous engagement
Wade highlights that one of the biggest hurdles faced by SurePact and other corporations when implementing their IES is the unique needs of each community.
“Every community has different requirements, whether in a remote area or an urban setup,” he explains.
“You’ve got to know the proper Indigenous protocols from the top down. Consultation must take place on a case-by-case and ongoing basis, as each particular group is different. It’s crucial to pinpoint each community’s needs and aspirations.
“The IES is a great way to find out which of the communities’ needs are top priority. With KCS’s support, SurePact can identify both challenges and opportunities – and we’ve encountered a few along the way.”
Kristen says the partnership between SurePact and KCS has already proven to be a highly valuable experience for SurePact employees.
“KCS is going to be a long-term partner with our organisation,” she says. “Both Wade and Makita at KCS really bring a deep knowledge of how to best approach doing business with First Nation communities, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with them.”
For Wade, the partnership between SurePact and KCS is just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.
“The future that we see with SurePact is a long and prosperous one,” he says. “What they’re doing now for communities, councils and First Nations people is a great thing, and we’re happy to help and assist along the way.”
Krueger Consultancy Services offers a range of services, including Indigenous engagement, procurement, employment, and cultural awareness. If you would like to learn how to engage effectively with First Nations communities, reach out to Wade Krueger on LinkedIn or visit the website.