As a young child, Keona Wilson had big dreams. She knew she wanted a good life, even if she wasn’t always sure how to get there. An Aboriginal woman born in Redcliff Queensland, Keona is a speech pathologist of 7 years and is a former Board Director at Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA).
“After I finished school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said Keona. “I enrolled in Nursing at Wollongong University but soon realised that it wasn’t for me. However it did give me a taste for working in health, so I looked at other options available to me.”
The turning point for Keona occurred in the third year of her studies when she got a Rotary scholarship and started an Indigenous cadetship at Mt Druitt Community Health Centre. “The financial support that I received meant that I could fully focus on my studies instead of on survival. I went from barely a pass average to a distinction average and with the cadetship I knew I would have a job at the end of my studies.” said Keona. “And through it all Yooroang Garang was there for me.”
Keona finally finished her studies in 2005 and began her career as a speech pathologist. She worked in various positions throughout her career, before finally ending up in her current role as the Paediatric Unit Head for Speech Pathology in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW. At a local level Keona is on the Respecting the Difference cultural education working group and is working on a project with the local Aboriginal pre-school.
While in her role as Board Director at IAHA, Keona drove Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific speech pathology initiatives focussed on improving access to speech pathology services, curriculum development and early childhood support.
“I really enjoy what I do, I love working with children and knowing that I make a difference in their lives,” said Keona. “So if you want to know more about becoming an allied health professional, you can visit www.iaha.com.au.”