Spotlight on Wunan Staff

27 September 2012

Indigenous Money Mentor – Cherie McAdam

Cherie McAdam is an Indigenous Money Mentor working with Wunan in Kununurra. The success Cherie is achieving is testament not only to her commitment to helping Aboriginal people but to the unique understanding she has of the Aboriginal community. Wunan believes that creative and innovative solutions are necessary to assist Aboriginal advancement and Cherie is proving the point.  Please read her story:-

“My name is Cherie McAdam and I am currently employed as the Money Coach/Mentor by Wunan Foundation.  With sponsorship from NAB, I counsel people on their finances. That may sound straightforward but is anything but because many Aboriginal people do not come from an established background of employment, saving and home ownership and moving into this arena for the first time, perhaps in several generations – it’s all very new and complex.

My role works directly between two pilot programs, Transitional Housing and The Aboriginal Workers Accommodation Scheme in Kununurra.

My work in the field of Money Management began five years ago when I was working with Mission Australia as a Tax Volunteer for four years.  This role was based on providing education to the wider community on Financial Literacy. I gained my qualification as a Financial Counsellor in April 2012.  Being amongst a handful of qualified Indigenous Counsellors in Australia, I am very proud to be working back in the East Kimberley. My driving force is seeing the difference financial knowledge can make to an individuals life.

My style of Money Mentoring is based on our culture.  I take in factors which include that we have not had money in our world for more than 60 years as a race.  Also, the mentality of our race is that we lived for the day for thousands of years which, based on my experience, is the reason behind why we have difficulty when it comes to forward saving and planning in the world of finances.

I have also published a book titled Money Bird which likens people’s behaviour in handling their money to that of several types of birds found in the East Kimberley.  I believe that once you recognise your personality type, you understand the reasons why you continue to fall into Money Traps.  Coaching people to a place where they can thrive in their world of finance is my passion.

On a personal note, I was born and raised in the township of Halls Creek and I have strong family ties throughout the Kimberley. I am a single parent of six children. I was left with a life circumstance that saw me dealing with a large debt and the task of raising my children alone which henceforth was the driving force behind completing my Diploma in Community Services Financial Counselling. Despite having these challenges I have managed to hold onto an investment property and am now looking to buy a second property. The knowledge and skills that I have gained from my personal and work experience assists me to show people, that once you can get a handle on your world of money, your hopes and dreams are achievable.”

Topic: Foundations