22 October 2020
We sat down with Tikarra Looke, a Cultural Integrity Coordinator. Tikarra Looke is a proud Darug and Wiradjuri woman currently living on Ngunnawal country. She describes herself as, “the embarrassing and proud big sister who cries at every event of three amazing sisters and one incredible brother”.
Tikarra is a passionate educator inspired every day by her community, her students, her connection to culture, and her family. She has spent the last four years working as a part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education section. Her current role is as a Cultural Integrity Coordinator creating supportive and inclusive communities for all of our First Nation’s students and families within our ACT Public Schools.
Tikarra will speak in our panel at She Leads High Conference 2020, a leadership conference for girls, including female-identifying and nonbinary people, in years 9 and 10. The conference will take place at Kambri, Australian National University, on 30 October.
1) Describe yourself in 30 words or less.
A proud Durag and Wiradjuri woman. A supportive, driven, fiery, devoted, and passionate educator and a very proud big sister of 4.
2) Tell us about a moment in your life that defined your leadership style.
I come from a long line of extremely resilient, strong, and amazing women and I have built so much of who I am both professionally and personally from the values, morals and strengths that they have instilled in me. Watching my Mum overcome every single obstacle that you can imagine to be the woman she is today has always and will continue to be my inspiration.
It’s no secret that I wasn’t always the best-behaved student whilst I was in school and I think there are a few teachers that were pivotal for my personal growth but particularly one teacher in high school. After a horrible parent teacher interview night he stopped my parents and told them how much he valued and appreciated my contribution to the school and I think that was a defining moment for me to remind me that people were on my team and he really inspired me to be that person for kids today.
3) What’s the question you are most tired of hearing on women’s leadership, and what would you like to say about it, so you never have to answer it again?
Not quite a question but more I am beyond tired of the idea that women’s leadership is perceived to be a soft leadership. There are thousands upon thousands of incredible, strong, and amazing women working on the front line of so many fields that are doing incredibly difficult but amazing work and should be acknowledged for that.
4) What were you like as a 16-year-old? Would you give her any advice? If so, what?
As all teenager’s experience, I was very unsure of who I was and where I fit in the world. I didn’t always make great choices and doubted the knowledge and value I could bring to many aspects of my life.
I would tell myself to let myself breathe, be grateful for what I have and who I am and know that you are strong and resilient enough to get through anything and still achieve all your goals. Although the biggest thing I would tell myself is you don’t always have to take the hard road sis.
5) What is something that has been challenging you lately?
2020, enough said. No, not really! At the start of the year I won a promotion and navigating the transition to a leadership focussed role as a young member of that team has been challenging. As I currently still study a specialisation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education full time whilst working full time it has been difficult to balance the workload of the two, especially having no face to face connection to the mob that I study with has been extremely difficult. It has been a year for professional and personal growth!
If you know or are a student in year 9 and 10 who would like to learn more about Tikarra, be sure to join us at She Leads High on 30 October!
To register, visit our ticketing page.