Sinead Dumas worked on programs to acquire new military aircraft but ignited the afterburner on her business career after leaving the Department of Defence to return to the Gold Coast.
A proud Wiradjuri woman, Sinead now has two social media-driven food businesses, is launching a third, and works as a Business Operations Manager at media company IndigenousX.
She spent her early childhood in Queanbeyan in Ngunnawal country before moving to the Gold Coast and studying a Bachelor and a Master of International Relations at Bond University.
“I had dreamed of going to Bond but I thought it would be very hard to achieve that. Then FEE-HELP opened up and I applied.
"I also had the opportunity to receive a part scholarship for my master’s degree.” Sinead says
“The motivation for studying International Relations was my Nan (the author, researcher and health worker Iris Clayton)," Ms Dumas said.
"She was a strong member of the Indigenous community and from a young age I knew about politics and was always going to the Tent Embassy in Canberra.
"I thought if I could understand more about First Nations people around the world then I could really understand it here in my own home and fix a lot of bigger issues at play.”
Ms Dumas graduated in 2014 and took up a sought-after job with the Department of Defence in Canberra, working as a business analyst and on international engagement for the RAAF, meeting chiefs of foreign air forces.
“Defence had 8500 applications from graduates that year and only took 108. Five of those students were from Bond University," Ms Dumas said.
"I got to work very closely on capability for two of the RAAF's newest aircraft.
"I will never be able to have that experience again, so I value that time in Canberra so much.”
All the while, Sinead and her husband Luke had been building up a business, Nead’s Super Bowls, delivering her Instagram-worthy smoothie bowls in Canberra.
When she returned to the Gold Coast in 2018 to start a family and become the business improvement specialist for Indigenous Business Australia, she brought the growing business with her.
Within four weeks of giving birth to her son Obi, Sinead launched Obi’s Graze and Co, a platter, picnic and wedding styling business in partnership with her sister.
“I knew early on I could see gaps in the market and that I could build something quickly,” she said.
“Everybody wants pretty picnics, they want to show off, (on social media) and within three months we had made the money back that we had invested into the business”.
The serial entrepreneur works full-time for IndigenousX and is launching a third online business, The Why & The Way, reviewing vegan foods.
She is passionate about supporting Indigenous businesses and says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a key advantage in the start-up phase.
“We’ve got a big mob, so I utilise and market my business to them because they want to see you succeed more than anyone. This allows you to finetune your processes.”
Bond University is dedicated to supporting Indigenous students with scholarships to help them achieve their ambitions. The Indigenous scholarship program rewards students’ achievements in academics, leadership activities and community involvement.
For more information about available scholarships and the Indigenous scholarship program, please visit: https://bond.edu.au/scholarship/bond-university-indigenous-scholarships