Following NAIDOC Week, On the 11th of July, ISPT hosted a fireside chat at Foy’s Arcade with special guest, Shantelle Thompson, three time jiu jitsu world champion and mother of three, interviewed by our very own Erin Donnellon.
The NAIDOC Week theme this year, “Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up” was, in many ways, the best way to describe our guest Shantelle’s approach to life, and is the epitome of what a dedicated mum, athlete and proud Barkindji & Kneeyampaa woman.
Shantelle “The Warrior” Thompson, as she is known in martial arts, has truly lived a life full of learned and earned experience, sharing her story, walking in two worlds, gave us all a greater understanding into what challenges she has faced as both a proud first nations woman, a mother and female athlete, in what can be a confronting and male dominated sport, such as martial arts.
Life lessons and attitude in every aspect, were the main focus of the discussion, along with diversity and what it takes to make it as a representative of Barkindji and Kneeyampaa nations, NAIDOC sportswoman of the year, as well as mother of three. Shantelle was able to share her story as a survivor of abuse, racism and severe postnatal depression, having to fight against the odds, gaining no less than three world championships in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as an Oceania Wrestling Championships. Which many of us would agree, is an amazing achievement indeed.
During the fireside chat, Shantelle was able to share with us what it was like, growing up in a small country town of 600 on the Murray River near Mildura, in a place that was once an Aborigional Mission.
Shantelle was able to give us a glimpse into what an Aborigional Mission meant to her, what life was like, especially her lifestyle, during her childhood, and what her unique outlook was, during her teenage years.
We also heard what an honour it was for Shantelle and her family, to receive the Order Of Australia Medal (OAM), for services to the indigenous community of Victoria, and the impact that had made on her life, and career. This was such a treat for Foy’s to have the very first OAM recipient, to walk through our doors.
One question was more revelation than anything else, and that was in relation to what ISPT as a company can do to create change. Shantelle responded succinctly with… “you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This was an outstanding reply, which galvanised and reinforced our own attitudes towards change, and our reconciliation journey.
Shantelle was both inspiring and inspirational to many of us, and gave us a greater insight into a world, many of us only see in film or in the media .
Having Shantelle join us at Foy’s was indeed a rare and valuable gift, and we are all better for spending time with one that has achieved so much, with so much more to give.