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Pamela Johnson-Barry

PALM Island woman Pamela Johnson-Barry may be humble about her own achievements, but there's more to this dedicated family woman than meets the eye.

Pamela was the first Indigenous person to become manager of one of six government-owned retail stores in remote Indigenous communities across Queensland. Apart from this milestone, she was also recently the first retail store employee to have completed a Certificate IV in Retail Management.

"I enjoy my work. It's very challenging, but rewarding," Pamela said.

The devoted mother says that becoming a store manager was never part of her plan, in fact, she didn't have a plan!

"I just slipped into it very slowly over the past 30 years. I've always loved helping people when they come into the store," she said.

"I never really had a goal. I'm just a parent trying to help to provide for her children."

"I just come to work every day and stay positive - rain, sun, wind, birthdays, even carrying a baby!"

"I try to take one day at a time and keep learning about life and people."

Despite her success and hard work, Pamela still identifies raising her children and grandchildren as both her biggest achievement and her greatest passion, but her culture is another source of pride.

"As a Bwgcolman person, I know we can make a difference in our community and let others see we can do it if we work together as one mob towards the future," she said.

"We are special no matter what. We attract attention, we shine, we are always in the spotlight, we have style, we joke, we smile, we are funny, and we are still here no matter what."

And she has some wise, motherly advice for young people in her community too.

"Be responsible for yourself and your own actions," she said.

"Listen to your Elders in your community and stay alert."

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