Rishelle came from nothing, but managed to turn her humble beginnings into a stepping stone for success and global recognition. Her childhood memories paint a heartbreaking picture: a little girl lining up for food vouchers, relying on handouts and witnessing her parents’ deep struggles with unemployment and poverty.
It’s a story that many in the community can relate to, unfortunately.
And that’s why we need more people like Rishelle - people who are committed to changing that narrative and making a real difference in the community.
It was our absolute pleasure to interview Dr. Rishelle Hume find out more about her story, winning mindset, lifestyle and aspirations.
As a high-performance woman with demanding work, home and community commitment, how do you keep going?
Outside of my full-time employment with Chevron Australia – in which I am in a global and demanding role, I am married, and I am a mother of 3 beautiful children – my eldest Dakota (12) and twins Jackson and Indianna (9).
My biggest achievement and ultimate inspiration for everything I do is my family. Without my husband’s (Matthew) motivation, support and encouragement I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish a lot of the things I have done over the years.
Matt is a full-time stay at home dad and supports me with all of my community commitments which I am very fortunate for, as many women would not have this support. Ultimately, family is so important and it’s my pillar of strength. My family values have greatly affected my behaviour.
My grandparents always told me to put family first and encouraged me to always help those in need. I strive for balance in life and work, and while some say how do you do it all? It is easy when you have a beautiful family, a rewarding job and you are giving back to your community and making a difference for the better, that has lasting outcomes.
I am currently involved in the Aboriginal community within the Perth region in the following Board/Committees:
- Chairperson of the Mandjah Boodjah Aboriginal Corporation (Elder Housing Project)
- Director - Perth Festival
- Director - Little Athletics WA
- Ambassador of the EON Foundation
- Ambassador of Helping Little Hands
- Co-Founder of the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute
Prior to gaining a global role within Chevron I was also part of the following:
- Boards/Committee’s however, given the new role I have had to step down:
- Co-Chair of the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute;
- Director – AUSPIRE Australia Day Council WA;
- Director – Ronald McDonald House Charities WA;
- Western Australian Football Commission Aboriginal Advisory Board Member;
- UNESCO Commissioner of Culture for Australia
What tips do you have to overcome adversity and how do you find the energy to ensure you can perform in each area?
My early childhood years growing up did not come easy. I remember lining up for food vouchers on many occasions and being reliant on handouts from others.
However, with the encouragement of my grandparents, family and friends, I learnt how to identify and embrace the opportunities that were presented to me, including the importance of gaining a quality education.
I strongly believe that to move forward you must give back to others to make a difference. If you are able, enable… if you can, do. And I try hard to do that every day, within the workplace or community.
The networks I build, the skills I learn, the resources that are available to me; I am always trying to find new ways to use them to make a real difference. If I see a gap, or a problem, I act on it. I try to always be decisive and take action.
My culture ultimately defines who I am and has been the primary influence on this journey I am currently on.
My advice is that you can do anything you set your mind too. Believe in yourself and have the vision, passion and dedication to make a difference.
Keep your eye on the destination, stay determined always, remain confident and adapt along the way, as there are and will be many obstacles and roadblocks that challenge you.
Match your vision with something you are passionate about. Something that keeps you engaged every moment of every day, to bring you one step closer to the success that you desire.
I also strongly believe that it is important to surround yourself with thinkers, doers and believers and most importantly with people that see greatness in you when you sometimes don’t see it in yourself.
Who are some Inspiring women that inspire you in the community?
The greatest inspiration in my life has been my grandmother – Lorna Hume.
She was heavily involved in the advancement of Aboriginal people in the late 1970’s and 80’s, which was a time where Aboriginal people had to fight for every basic human right from health care, equal employment opportunities, education and housing to name a few.
Nan was the Director of the Aboriginal Advancement Council during the 70’s and 80’s. The Council was a 'one-stop shop' for Aboriginal services back then, offering legal and medical assistance, a soup kitchen and even an Aboriginal history museum upstairs. There was a carpentry workshop out the back where the men would repair furniture to sell or to give to people in need.
I grew up watching my grandmother spend her life promoting Aboriginal rights and Noongar culture within both government departments and the wider community. It is because of her, I too have decided to devote my life to the same causes.
I can still remember sitting on the steps there as a young girl, watching my Nan meet with local Aboriginal people, politicians, government representatives and sporting identities.
Nan always told me 'if you are able, enable… if you can, do' and I try hard to always live by that.
Because of her positive influence on me, I have been driven to enhance and improve opportunities for Aboriginal people in all areas within the community. I do this because I strive to keep her legacy alive and to ensure Aboriginal people have a voice.
What is one health tip you do every day to keep you happy?
I ensure that I walk for 30 minutes every day. I am fortunate enough to live close to the beach and this is my time, time out for me to recharge and focus on what I need to do for the day. Clears the mind!
What /who inspires you every day to keep you healthy?
I met Rebecca Fitzgerald a number of years back and she has taught me the importance of self-care and to ensure I take the time for me to recharge and reenergize as you can’t keep going on a cup that is always half full. You won’t be any good for family or the community.
Also, as a junior elite athlete, I have always been fit and healthy. I toured on the Athletic Grand Prix Circuit from 1995 – 2002, travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide and meeting and becoming good friends with many athletes like Cathy Freeman, Kyle Vander Kupe, Patrick Johnson and Melinda Gainsford. These athletes inspired me to stay healthy. HEALTHY MIND AND HEALTHY BODY!
However, I do honestly believe that my time in the sport of athletics has helped me gain a high level of discipline, structure, and a driven attitude to never give up on what I believe in and knowing that I can achieve whatever I desire and all I have to do is believe in myself and to stay healthy!
Also, who helps you be the best version of yourself health-wise, emotionally, spiritually, culturally?
I would have to say Barry McGuire as Barry is my direct family and I am very privileged to have him in my life to guide me on the journey that I am on. Since the passing of my grandfather in 2015, I go to Barry for all of my cultural advice/guidance and emotional/spiritual connection to my people. He supports me with every step and makes be the very best version of myself.
What are the top 3 tips /tools/traits you would recommend to others to become RESULTS-DRIVEN and RELENTLESS?
‘if you are able, enable… if you can, do’ and I try hard to do that every day.
I leverage the networks I have built, the skills I have learnt, the resources that are available to me.
I am always trying to find new ways to use them to make a real difference in whatever I do at work or in the community.
If I see a gap, or a problem, I act on it. I try to always be decisive and take action.
I never give up and don’t tell me “NO or it can’t be done”, as this makes me more determined to succeed.
I believe I am a humble, kind, loyal and committed work colleague, friend, wife and mother. My strength, dedication and long-term vision to change the landscape for Aboriginal people is inspirational to many people across our great Nation, and recognized me for the 2020 WA Outstanding Woman in Resources Award and many other awards. This was an acknowledgement of the work I am doing within Chevron and outside within my community to make a real difference for the better of many people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.