First Nations Programs Lead and proud Walpiri, Gurindji and Jawoyn woman, Cerisa Benjamin, has announced that she will be leaving music charity, Support Act, at the end of July.
Cerisa was appointed to the role in August 2020 and has been at the forefront of the organisation’s efforts to become culturally intelligent and a safe space for First Nations music workers.
“I am so sad to be leaving such an amazing and supportive organisation and will be forever grateful for how the board and my colleagues have embraced me with open arms,” said Cerisa.
“This was a very hard decision to make as I love my work and everyone I work with, but it is the right decision for me and my family at this time.
“Thanks Clive, Anne and all the team at Support Act for all your guidance and support, I will truly miss all of you.”
During her time at Support Act, Cerisa has been instrumental in the development of a First Nations Strategic Plan; the creation and delivery of the Yarning Strong open access webinars and live events which explore mental health and wellbeing for First Nations people working in music; the development of the forthcoming First Nations Diversity Equity and Inclusion Training; and facilitated a First Nations version of the charity’s Mental Health First Aid program.
Through her case work, she has dramatically increased the number of First Nations music workers accessing crisis relief and using the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline; been a warm and supportive presence backstage at First Nations music events and conferences; and an excellent manager to her team, which includes First Nations Community Engagement/Case Worker, William Oui, and First Nations Administrative Assistant, Cooper-Lily Nikora.
Clive Miller, CEO of Support Act, said: “Cerisa has done an incredible job over the past three years and we will miss her enormously. She has really transformed the way Support Act thinks about issues that impact First Nations music workers, and the steps we needed to take to be more inclusive – and more empowering – as an organisation.
“This is very much an ongoing process, but we will always be very grateful to Cerisa for the leadership and compassion she has shown and the legacy that she leaves us with.”
Support Act will be advertising to fill Cerisa’s role immediately, and the long notice period provided will ensure a comprehensive handover to the new appointee.