Sonja Stewart has been appointed the first Indigenous Chair of The GO Foundation, an organisation providing opportunities for Indigenous youth through education.
The GO Foundation was founded by Adam Goodes, Michael O’Loughlin and James Gallichan in 2009.
Stewart, a proud Yuin woman, will succeed Sam Mostyn in the role of Chair, and brings a wealth of experiences to the role, having been involved in government, academic and not-for-profit boards for over 20 years.
Stewart has served as a non-executive director at GO since 2018 and was recently appointed CEO of the NSW Law Society, a role that commenced just days ago on 31 August.
Stewart has been a Deputy Secretary within the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, and a Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Public Service Commission. She has also been the interim Chief Executive Officer and Director of Arrilla Consulting – a joint venture with KPMG
Thanks @GOFoundationAU it’s an honour to be appointed the 1st Indigenous Chair of the Go Foundation – I have long shared the vision that education is key to creating a brighter future for our young people. @MickOLoughlin @AnitaHeiss @sammostyn https://t.co/uZbaPcODn4— Sonja Stewart (@sonja_stewart70) September 1, 2020
In a statement announcing Stewart’s appointment, Goodes and O’Loughlin said the organisation has always aspired to fill its leadership positions, both on the Board and in management, with Indigenous Australians.
“From the earliest days of GO, we were committed to building an organisation that puts Indigenous culture at the centre of all that we do, and ultimately for the organisation to be led at the Board and the management team by indigenous Australians,” they said.
“In conjunction with Sam [Mostyn], and the rest of our board, we believed that Sonja’s obvious impact immediately on joining the GO Foundation Board presented us with the wonderful opportunity to appoint our first Indigenous Chair. Although Sam has 2 years remaining in her term, we collectively decided that now was the time to appoint Sonja to the role of Chair, and continue to strive for an Indigenous led organisation.
“So, at our most recent board meeting, Sam stood aside as Chair, and Sonja was unanimously appointed Chair of the GO Foundation, effective immediately. We have thanked Sam for her service and have asked her to stay on as a director of our foundation.”
To date, The GO Foundation has offered 532 scholarships to young Indigenous people in primary school, high school and university.
“We are very excited by this appointment and proud to have founded and built an organisation doing so much for young Indigenous Australians that can attract the most talented and experienced people to govern our work,” Goodes and O’Loughlin said about Stewart’s appointment.
Linda Burney MP serves as The GO Foundation’s Patron-in-Chief, while Shirley Chowdhary holds the CEO position.