Colleen Hayward is a senior Noongar woman with extensive family links throughout the south-west of WA. She comes from a teaching family with her father having been the first Aboriginal teacher, and Principal, in WA.
For more than 35 years, Colleen has provided significant input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues, reflecting the needs of minority groups at community, state and national levels. She has an extensive background in a range of areas including health, education, training, employment, housing, child protection and law & justice as well as significant experience in policy and management.
Among her many achievements, she has been recognised for her long-standing work for and on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia by winning the 2008 National NAIDOC Aboriginal Person of the Year Award. Colleen is also a recipient (2006) of the Premier of WA’s prestigious Multicultural Ambassador’s Award for advancing human rights and anti-racism in the community and is the 2009 inductee into the WA Department of Education’s Hall of Fame for Achievement in Aboriginal Education.
In 2012, Colleen was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame and was recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
In 2015, Colleen was a finalist in the Australian of the Year (Western Australia) Awards. 2015 also saw Colleen awarded as one of Murdoch University’s Distinguished Alumni for her work in the areas of Equity and Social Justice. She was named as one of WA’s 100 most influential West Australians in both 2015 and 2016.
Although now retired from her position as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Equity & Indigenous issues at Edith Cowan University, Colleen remains active and involved through her membership of a range of boards and advisory committees including the Fremantle Dockers Board and in 2022 was named as one of WA’s 50 most powerful people in WA football. Colleen’s 2023 appointment to the Board of Mineral Resources Ltd positioned her as the only Aboriginal woman on the board of any ASX50 company. She is also one of the co-leaders of Danjoo Koorliny, an Aboriginal-led initiative working towards the respectful inclusion of Aboriginal people in WA’s 2029 bicentenary.