Standing around in a circle, a group of Ventia employees, of differing backgrounds, take turns to share the story behind a design they have just created on a silk scarf.

It is a deeply moving moment where the group, some who have only just met each other, share things that are important to them and that have helped to shape the person that they are. 

The group is taking part in a cultural awareness session, something that members of Ventia's Telecommunications team have been doing for more than five years now. 

"Everybody's story matters," says Richard Young, a proud Gunai man who, along with his family, has been leading this cultural awareness journey with Ventia since 2017.


The Young family

Over the years Richard and Judith Young have invited and welcomed many Ventia people into their home, where they undergo a journey of cultural awareness. The sessions are a combination of building understanding about the experiences of Indigenous Australians and then helping people to understand and share their own individual story. A key part of the sessions is the creation of pieces that help the participants to think about their own journey and how it relates to other people. 

It's called 'spirit of the brand' however Richard says that will have different meanings for different organisations.

It's about the spirit of your brand.


Telling a story through art

The significance of the silk scarf is that it provides a way for people to tell an individual story through art, something that not many adults have the opportunity to do these days - it is also a medium that Lyn-Al Young, designer and artist (and Richard and Judith's daughter) has been working with for many years.  

Lyn-Al is a key part of the cultural awareness sessions, as are her brothers Isaac and Robbie (both talented artists in their own right) and many other members of the Young family. 

The family's approach to helping Ventia understand the background of first Australians and how to contribute to the journey towards reconciliation is a unique one, but it has powerful outcomes.

John Bennett, Ventia General Manager and a passionate advocate for tackling the unfinished business of true reconciliation in Australia said that one of the true benefits of the sessions is allowing people to reflect on how we interact as human beings

"The immediate and very obvious effect is how people engage with each other," John says. 

You see people in the workplace taking the time to talk to each other in a meaningful way.


Team during cultural awareness session

Understanding one's own journey

Anthony Sirianni, new to Ventia following the recent Kordia Solutions acquisition went through the session in early 2022. He said that in addition to developing a deeper understanding of the struggles that Aboriginal people have faced and continue to face, the sessions allowed him to explore his own background and journey. 

"A key point I took out of it is the importance of family and improving upon each generation through knowledge," he said. 

Family is a word that comes up a lot through the interactions with Richard. The cultural awareness sessions are a full family affair and each member of the Young family brings a unique perspective and talent to the day. It is also an opportunity for visitors to explore their own family background, be it first, second or fifth generation immigrant to Australia.

"Part of the process for people telling their stories is to be thankful for their journey," Richard said. 

It's always insightful, always a joy, always humbling to hear someone's story.

Our Telecommunications team and the wider Ventia business continues to be appreciative for the opportunity to work with Richard Young and his family as we build deeper awareness and connection with our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


In the spirit of reconciliation Ventia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.