Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia (GDPSA) welcomes the appointment of Mrs Sarah Szydzik as Chief Executive Officer

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia (GDPSA) is excited to announce the appointment of Mrs Sarah Szydzik as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention.

Sarah is a Yirrganydji woman from Far North Queensland. The reef and rainforest of Cairns and surrounds are Sarah’s traditional Country and ancestral homelands. Yarrabah Aboriginal Community is where Sarah and her family have resided since the community’s establishment as a remote Anglican mission in the 1890’s. Through marriage, Sarah has connections to the Waga Dagum people of the Torres Strait Islands, and the Yuin Nation of New South Wales South Coast.

Over the past twenty years Sarah has worked with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples throughout remote, regional, and urban communities across Australia. Sarah has held executive and senior leadership positions across the public and private sectors, within government departments, not-for-profit organisations, and corporate entities. She has led international delegations, and proudly represented Indigenous interests at forums both locally and abroad, including the United Nations.

Sarah is passionate about Indigenous human rights and social justice issues, particularly the need to address social determinants impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. She has extensive experience leading the development and delivery of self-determined, culturally safe, programs and initiatives in this field - designed to complement clinical care, implement social and emotional wellbeing best practice, and address social determinants of health. Key focus areas include criminal justice, education, community development, and economic development for social impact.

“It is an exceptional privilege for me to serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in a new capacity as CEO of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia. says Mrs Szydzik.

“I am deeply committed to supporting GDPSA as it delivers self-determined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention.

“I look forward to working with the extraordinary team at GDPSA, along with our Indigenous and Non-Indigenous partners, and First Nations communities as we collectively respond to the mental health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples nationally.

“I am honoured to be in a position to advocate for the implementation of best practice approaches which acknowledge First Nations lived experiences and aspirations, incorporates Indigenous Knowledges and cultural values, and recognises the strength, resilience and vitality that exists within our communities - through which impactful change and meaningful health and wellbeing outcomes can be achieved.”

Sarah is skilled at embedding First Nations cultural values and ways of working within policy, strategy, governance, and business operations. She currently sits on the Board of not-for-profit community development charity the Streets Movement Indigenous Corporation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander International Engagement Organisation (ATSIIEO), First Nations Trade, Wudu Banjirri Group, and Yalagan Registered Training Organisation.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia