Connecting business and culture in remote Queensland

Keira Jenkins |

Sheridan Teitzel’s consultancy business connects companies to Indigenous knowledge.
Sheridan Teitzel’s consultancy business connects companies to Indigenous knowledge.

Sheridan Teitzel thought she’d be supporting her mum when they started a consulting business in their Cape York community in 2021.

Instead her mum returned to academia and Ms Teitzel kept Arnya Consulting running out of the remote community of Weipa.

Ms Teitzel, a Liningithi woman, focuses on cultural consulting, connecting businesses to Indigenous knowledge and providing cultural competency training.

She’s also passionate about digital technologies, developing websites and apps to help support businesses following their training.

Sheridan Teitzel
Sheridan Teitzel is passionate about increasing opportunities for her community in Weipa. (HANDOUT/SHERIDAN TEITZEL)

While a consulting business more than 2000 kilometres from the nearest capital city may seem unusual to some, Ms Teitzel said living in community means access to perspectives often overlooked or forgotten.

She sees herself as a conduit, connecting her community to opportunities and businesses to cultural knowledge.

“There is a wealth of knowledge and expertise at your fingertips that you can draw from at a moment’s notice,” Ms Teitzel said.

“One of my main contributors, Uncle Richard Barkley, is in his 70s, he doesn’t have a mobile phone, I usually just have to hop in the car and drive around and hope I find him.

“Having access to some of those older generations, especially those who are really motivated to share their expertise with younger generations and the rest of Australia is a huge privilege that I don’t take for granted.”

Community and culture are at the heart of everything Ms Teitzel does, and she’s driven by the opportunities she’s keeping in local hands.

“Part of the reason I studied economics was understanding that business is the driving force that allows people to create opportunity, that enables people to live on their home countries, homelands and maintain a lifestyle,” she said.

Arnya Consulting is the 5000th business to be certified by Supply Nation – a national directory of Indigenous businesses.

Supply Nation chief executive Kate Russell said the directory started with 13 businesses in 2009, so hitting the milestone of 5000 registered businesses was incredibly exciting.

“What (Ms Teitzel’s) business represents to us is growth and resilience,” she said.

“The fact that it’s a female-led, remote business is just perfect… we want to represent everybody, it doesn’t matter where you live, your gender identity, whether you do cryogenics or cookies, whether you do t-shirts or tunnelling.”

Ms Teitzel said she hopes the certification will help her continue to make connections around the country and increase opportunities for her business and community in Weipa.

“If it supports my motivation of improving some of those connections and breaking down some of those barriers and challenges we have with accessibility, that would be a really great thing,” she said.