Shane Charles, a proud Wurundjeri, Boon Wurrung and Yorta Yorta man, has been unanimously endorsed by the Reconciliation Victoria Board to take over from Belinda Duarte as Aboriginal Co-Chair of the organisation. Mr Charles has been co-opted onto the Board until the AGM later this year.
Mr Charles is a highly experienced and inspirational Aboriginal leader with a strong track record across a range of sectors including education and training, justice and cultural heritage within both Aboriginal and mainstream organisations. Mr Charles said he was a passionate advocate for reconciliation who enjoys sharing cultural knowledge to make a difference.
Ms Duarte has been Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria since 2016, while simultaneously sitting on a number of other boards and groups, as well as the CEO of Culture is Life. Ms Duarte will continue with Reconciliation Victoria in a new ambassadorial role.
CEO of Reconciliation Victoria Diana David said it was a bittersweet farewell, having grown close to Ms Duarte during her time with Reconciliation Victoria but knowing that Mr Charles was the perfect person to lead the Board in a crucial year for the reconciliation movement.
Ms David said, “Belinda has been a mentor and a friend to me since I first began as CEO at Reconciliation Victoria, and I will greatly miss her insights, her bravery and the way her words could captivate a room.”
Non-Aboriginal Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria Michelle Isles said that Ms Duarte had made an extraordinary contribution to Reconciliation Victoria as an inspirational leader and representative.
“Belinda’s thoughtful leadership, integrity and ability to navigate multiple contexts to achieve reconciliation outcomes has been critical to the renewal and position of Reconciliation Victoria.
“We are excited to welcome Shane to the Board and to experience his wisdom and skills as Co-Chair. Shane’s established community leadership, ability to navigate the cultural landscape, understanding of our key partners, and commitment to meaningful community outcomes will enrich our ambitious organisation and boost the collective impact we strive to deliver.”