‘Putting it at the front of my mind all the time’



NAB Customer Advisor Deneka Jones (pictured, right) with her sister Jacqui (left) and friend Carys (middle) after winning the Oztag Battle Of the Nations, playing for Indigenous NSW.

At twenty-three years of age, Customer Advisor Deneka Jones has already worked at NAB for seven years.

Born and raised in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Deneka is a proud Gamilaraay woman and started at NAB through the Indigenous Traineeship Program in 2016.

“The traineeship involved working one day a week at NAB as well as half a day of TAFE completing the business services course. I came first in my cohort in the HSC for business services and was awarded my Business Cert II. I have been working at NAB ever since!” Deneka said.

For Deneka, starting a career so young has been a rewarding experience.

“It was very different to all my other friends who were working at fast food outlets at the time. I think it really did help me mature a lot,” she said.

“I had a great Manager as well who was really helpful and it’s taught me so many life skills that I use every day. It’s been amazing.”

Deneka is now in her third year of studying Primary Education at Newcastle University and balances her role at NAB working part-time.

“I feel like most of my dreams and goals are based around equity. My goal to be a teacher is one example, and my main focus when I become a teacher would be hopefully to improve at least one child’s life,” Deneka said.

Another goal Deneka has achieved is being selected to play at the Oztag World Cup Series in Limerick, Ireland for the Indigenous Australian Women’s Opens team!

Achieving these equity-inspired goals is why the 2023 International Women’s Day’s theme #Embracingequity resonates strongly with Deneka, and she will be speaking on the NAB Intersectional Panel for IWD.

Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances and that means they may need different resources and opportunities to reach the same outcomes.

NAB Customer Advisor Deneka Jones with her dad Richard.

For Deneka, equity means being mindful of possible barriers people may face, that aren’t always visible.

“Being from an Indigenous background, I’ve experienced a little bit of discrimination. But my father is Indigenous and has faced a lot of discrimination when he was younger and still does to this day. It really hurts seeing loved ones being discriminated against, when you don’t want them to be judged for their religion or the colour of their skin or anything like that,” Deneka said.

“I wish that people would get to know my dad and other people on their personality rather than what they look like. I’ve definitely seen him face discrimination face to face and it’s not a very nice feeling. I don’t want anyone to feel like that.”

Deneka said it is this personal experience that drives her to embrace equity every day.

“I guess people will not notice that I’m Indigenous at first sight, so I don’t get it as much, but he definitely gets it a lot more. That’s my main motivation,” she said.

“It makes it more real when it’s someone that you know and love. When I told him I was going to be on the intersectional panel he was really proud of me.”

For Deneka, embracing equity in her daily life means being mindful of barriers people may face – whether they are visible or invisible.

“Just putting it at the front of my mind all the time and making sure that I don’t judge anyone based off anything at all, really. Valuing equity and embracing it and keeping it at the front of my mind, with every decision that I make.”

To find out more about how NAB is building an inclusive workplace visit the Inclusion and Diversity at NAB website.



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