Ros Dodson

I am a strong proud and passionate woman, of the Bangarang people of the Goulburn Valley and my extended family group is the Thooloolagong people at Ullupna Island near Strathmerton in Victoria and my totem is Koala'.

Currently, I work as a Manager and State Negotiator, Native Title Services for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

There are three things that stand out for me which are family, making a difference and having compassion for others.

I draw my inspiration from two people. The first one is Nelson Mandela. He was hated because he was black but he believed in the goodness in all people and he urged people not to be angry but to use their energy to improve things for themselves and to inspire others.

Then there was my mum, she was the one who inspired me the most. I am a woman and mother of enormous strength and deep compassion. My strength, I inherited from my mother. She believed in me and she taught me to like myself and have compassion for others and believe I could do anything. She let me ask the difficult questions about life and hardships and to stand strong on my own two feet.

My journey has had many twists and turns, meeting challenges head on and making positive choices for a better life.

My desire for the future is to be able to work toward building our youth and supporting children who through no cause of their own find them selves at risk. I believe our children are our future. I tell the young people in my life, stand strong; learn where you have come from with your heritage as you can achieve anything you choose.

Being a positive and supportive role model for children both mine and others has brought me a fortunate life. Including, being able to make a professional contribution towards greater reconciliation and recognition of, Indigenous people. Getting an education latter in my life and being named 'Barnardo's Australian Mother of the Year 2012'.