Meet Melissa, Indigenous Business Founder, Mum and Canberra Champion

Sunday marked the beginning of NAIDOC Week (from the first Sunday of July, a time to celebrate all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, held annually). And it is such a great time to introduce you to your colleague Melissa Lacey, Director of Point River Networks.

Melissa is an accomplished entrepreneur and business founder, and Point River Networks is an Indigenous-owned business with an all-female leadership team. If you’re looking to get inspired, to incorporate new voices in your ecosystem, or to just have a dose of joy in your day, buy this woman a coffee.

We owe her a cuppa, having to meet virtually, but had a great convo to learn more about what motivates her each day.

CBRIN: So how do you bring your personal focuses to the forefront of the governance of this country, day in, day out?

MELISSA: PRN focusses on Cybersecurity, which is a high priority for Government. To strengthen PRN Cybersecurity services we’re located here at Launch, because the innovation space allows academics, businesses, government and the ACT community to come together to develop defense and security capability, talent and technology.

Our relocation to Launch (CBRIN’s spot on Northbourne, in concert with UNSW CBR) affords PRN a great opportunity to collaborate with leading edge cybersecurity specialists, and strengthen our capacity for recruitment.

CBRIN: So PRN isn’t just promoting a message – it is hiring people?

MELISSA: Totally. This includes staff augmentation, professional services for system integration, project management and also labour hire and permanent placements. The Point River Placement Program offers the opportunity for businesses to on-board ATSI students to extend their professional skill base and practical experience, and our aim is to overall connect with the community.

PRN has connections with the Indigenous Centres at four higher education centres to work together and identify opportunities, and engage with Koori Pre-schools in Canberra and Gambra, where my own kids attend.

My great grandmother was born and raised at the Warangesda Aboriginal Mission, located near Darlington Point. Following the 1967 Referendum, my mum had the opportunity to join the Australian Public Service and moved to Canberra. Like mum, I received support to join the Australian Public Service and was granted an Indigenous Cadetship, through the Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra.

I was born and raised in Canberra and I’m the first grandchild in my family to make it to University and complete a degree.

CBRIN: Can you tell us more about the name, Point River Networks?

MELISSA: Of course! “Point” refers to Darlington Point, where my mum, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents grew up and many family members still reside. “River” refers to the  mighty Murrumbidgee that flows through Darlington Point and past the old Mission. The river represents our journey, starting and building our business, developing our capability, knowledge and experience and delivering outstanding and constantly evolving solutions for our clients. “Networks” describes the way we do business and the importance of our connections with our clients, suppliers, business partners, community and the environment.

Like every aspect of our business, the brand was very carefully considered and holds great meaning for us – intrinsic to our core values, our history and the path we now find ourselves on.

 CBRIN: What keeps you in the chair every day?

MELISSA: Seeing an Indigenous woman in the chair is so important – it leads to the support and respect anyone needs in order to become a business owner or manager.

CBRIN: Thank you, Melissa! We owe you a mask-less latte ASAP.