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Chantelle digs deep to find voice

Chantelle Martin is clever, creative and courageous.

They’re three of the reasons global mining giant Rio Tinto struck gold when recruiting her to the organisation’s 2022 graduate program.

But Miss Martin, a 23-year-old Indigenous woman, says her self-doubt nearly stopped her scooping the career of her dreams.

“One thing that I wish I had more of throughout the earlier stages of my university journey was confidence,” admits Miss Martin.

“When I first came to university, I thought that everyone was going to be smarter than me, that I’d be on the absolute bottom and that I’d have to work five times as hard as everyone else to get anywhere.

“But this wasn’t reality.”

Originally from North Queensland, Miss Martin set her sights on Bond University after spending just one afternoon on campus.

“I decided to come to Bond’s open day. I did a trial class with the law faculty and was also introduced to the Nyombil Centre – the Indigenous student support hub,” says Miss Martin.

“From that one afternoon alone, I just knew that I had to come to Bond.”

After securing a scholarship, Miss Martin began to engage with the university’s Indigenous community – an experience which ultimately shaped the proud young advocate she is today.

“I think it’s important to recognise there are so many barriers for young Indigenous peoples. In saying that, in some cases these barriers are more perceived than they are real,” says Miss Martin.

“I found that every time I walked into the Nyombil Centre, there was someone there to help me. They encouraged me to push past my comfort zone - I undertook internships, represented the law faculty at the Australian Law Student’s Association Negotiation Competition, and even won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mooting Competition in 2019.

“This community helped me find my voice.”

Today, Chantelle is in the early stages of a two-year graduate program with Rio Tinto, and upon completing her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at Bond, will be admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland as a solicitor.

Despite receiving multiple job offers Miss Martin says she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have her voice represented at one of the world’s most influential corporations.

“That’s one of the reasons I chose to go down the path that I have. I believe there needs to be Indigenous representation at all levels – from graduates through to management.”

“It is those big management decisions which have the potential to impact our most vulnerable communities. That’s where we need to have strong Indigenous voices.

“My goal is to take every opportunity that comes my way. Ultimately, I’d really like to start looking at options to be more of a prominent advocate in the Indigenous community."

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