“I see leadership styles like pieces of a Tetris game, some pieces fit better than others” says Darren Johnson-Reed, graduate of the AILC’s Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership.

Darren said the course taught him about different styles of leadership.  He says “I learned about ways to be an effective leader and that no style of leadership is better than the other. There are some leadership styles better suited to a particular situation and that can be applied to how you conduct yourself in your career or personal life.”

Born in Tennant Creek and raised in Alice Springs, Darren’s mob is Warumunga and Butchulla. He did most of his schooling in Alice Springs and now lives in Adelaide working with the Australian Taxation Office as part of the 2019 Evergreen Program.

Darren says the program, specifically designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to enter the ATO, has been really supportive. 

“It’s a very supportive workplace and the program itself is a good way to get your foot in the door of government work”, he said.

Darren completed the AILC's Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership in 2018.   

“I have been able to use the knowledge I gained from the course to better negotiate positions in interviews and jobs. To have the confidence in speaking my mind in workplace situations that need addressing in a calm and collected manner. Something I could not see myself doing before.

I believe it was a necessary part of me breaking through what many see as difficult or uncomfortable in getting me to talk about issues that need addressing around feelings, confidence and general struggles that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders suffer through today" says Darren.

Darren doing what he loves - playing heavy metal with his band Monotomy is Misery (MisM)

Darren says that as a fair skinned Aboriginal man he has experienced issues of acceptance that has led to not feeling valued. He is keen to support others who are going through the same experience.

“I am a fair skinned Aboriginal man and I am in a position where I see a lot of younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals in.  That is, I was not raised in my culture. Whether it be from the environment we were raised in, whether we were not accepted for how we looked, depression or general feelings of low self-worth. It is a disconnection that happened, and the course was a driver in letting me see my strengths and where best to apply them. I can use my learnt skills to lead by example and to guide others in finding themselves the same as I did” said Darren.

Darren is a public servant by day, but don’t let that fool you - he is in an Aboriginal heavy metal band called Monotony is Misery (MisM) and plays the guitar. He met his now bandmates when they were all students at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) at the University of Adelaide.

“My hobbies are definitely towards the more creative side of life like gaming, music and art”, he said.

Darren views leaders as people who can see all the pieces in a big picture and are willing to make difficult decisions for the greater good.