'Gosh, she looks familiar' thought AILC trainer Timmy Duggan when Daniella joined his Certificate IV Leadership group earlier this year.

And no wonder. Daniella and her nine daughters are the stars of NITV reality show Family Rules.

The camera follows the busy lives of this all-women family, casting a spotlight on modern-day life for a single Aboriginal mother and her daughters.

IMAGE: The Rule family, source The Guardian.

Daniella is a Noongar woman from the Ballardong region with Whadjuk links through her Grandmothers side. She currently works as the Academic Coordinator for the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy for CSIRO in Perth.

Daniella has always worked in education and believes education is the key “I am passionate about education – I believe that knowledge is power and if we have opportunity for our kids to be educated, then we know that they will be the next decision makers/ game changers”, she said.

“Being at CSIRO in the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy is really exciting. I am happy to be part of an organisation that is leading and supporting that shift.”

We had the exciting opportunity to chat with Daniella and ask her a few questions:


What did you get out of completing the Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership?

I got a lot out of it and it made me think about what I believe in, and what a leader is. It made me realise the difference between the western world view and Indigenous view of leadership. I feel like we have more of a flat structure, we share leadership and we are all on the same level, although everyone has their place, such as elders. Individuals can lead among the people by paving the way.  We recognise that everyone has strengths and we work to lift each other up. Leadership is not only the general view of what a leader is – it is also the big sister in the family. It’s a shared responsibility. While leading we are influencing our community. That’s leadership.

One thing I really took out of the course was when the trainer talked about listening to understand. This is what we have to do with our mob.  The course also empowers you to develop skills and tools to use – we had to do a presentation and be a leader for a day. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and that’s where the learning happens.

What was it like being part of the first accredited course delivered online?

When I found out it was going to be online, I wasn’t sure as the AILC is known for their face-to-face courses. From the onset, we were made to feel comfortable and it was a space where we felt like we could participate. Even though I was all the way over in Perth I felt like we were all right there together. The course was facilitated really well, and it felt really inclusive which enabled us to build relationships with each other – I felt really included from the get go.

I also like that we were given the course materials prior and were encouraged to do the readings before getting online together. Even though the course was online we still had breakout sessions, which gave us the opportunity to build stronger relationships with other students and we were able to work off each other’s skills and knowledge – which really built some amazing stuff.

Would you recommend the course to others?

Definitely. I met amazing people – I got to really see the diversity in our nation. I have taken away a new skill set – and that’s not just in my professional life but my personal life – my family. The course content was relevant, and the trainer, Timmy Duggan, was deadly. The way he delivered the content and creating an inclusive and safe space for everyone to become involved.  He encouraged us to step out of our comfort zone and lead throughout the whole course.

If you have a computer and wifi you can do an online AILC course!

Who is a leader you admire and why?

There are too many to name. In my life I try and surround myself with people who bring out the best in me and admire those who overcome adversity and still manage to stay sincere.

I like the quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” I admire leaders who are humble, and lead by example when confronted with a challenging situation. Leaders who acknowledge mistakes and learn. I think leading with compassion is important and being able to see other people’s perspective.  I also like the quote “It’s not what we do – it’s how we do it”

I think Linda Burney is a great example. I’ve only recently (2019) just met her, and I felt like she embodies leadership qualities that I admire. 

We loved talking to Daniella.  If you want find out how she manages raising a family, working and studying - check out Family Rules on SBS On Demand.


IMAGE CREDIT: Header image of Daniella Borg, Edith Cowen University