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40 Under 40 Winner of the day: Rebecca Wessels


Adelaide-based Peramangk and Ngarrindjeri woman Rebecca Wessels champions for the rights of Aboriginal artists while running a creative marketing and branding firm.

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Wessels created her creative industry firm Ochre Dawn Creative Industries a decade ago, with the aim of offering creative services and products to clients that celebrated authenticity and preservation of Aboriginal language and culture.

Originally trading as Salty Light Promotions, Wessels renamed and expanded the business in 2015 to encompass a more diverse range of creative services.

These services currently include the production of corporate products and gifts, such as banners, pins, lanyards and sportswear, and online assets for clients like formatted email packages and logos.

Ochre Dawn also advocates for the rights of Aboriginal artists by combating “fake art” – art that mimics that produced by an Aboriginal community which may not be credited or paid for – and also by adhering to a strict code of conduct.

The firm subscribes to the Indigenous Art Code as a dealer member and is also a member of Artists in the Black through the Arts Law Centre of Australia. Both of these institutions aim to support the work and rights of Aboriginal artists.

Before Ochre Dawn, Wessels worked in corporate IT for nine years before moving into community services and youth work, where she worked for another nine years.

She completed different certificates in youth training at TAFE SA and Tabor Adelaide from 1998 to 2010.

In her current role, Wessels wants to foster an environment where businesses and creatives work together rather than compete.

In June, she was named in InDaily’s 40 Under 40, which recognises the best and brightest young business people in South Australia.

What is the single most important lesson you have learnt in your business career so far?

Seek help, support and advice from those wiser than you. You want to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before you.

 What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

The lifestyle is one of the strengths. It means I’m not spending hours on the daily commute to and from work and that I’m maximising the precious time I have with my loved ones. South Australians also love doing business with other South Australians, so because of this, it’s an encouraging business networking environment.

 What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

Head offices for major corporations are not often based here. Therefore to reach those decision-makers we need to travel east.

Do you see your future in South Australia? 

Absolutely. This is the best place in the world to live, work, play and raise a family. It has so much to offer in easy reach and is a beautiful and healthy landscape.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

They need to see a future here. They need to see that opportunities for career growth and progression are here and they don’t need to leave. More head offices and national centres of excellence here could help too.

To see the full list of 40 winners go here.

InDaily is profiling each of the winners – go here to read more.

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