Vonda Malone is a Torres Strait Islander born and raised on Thursday Island. In 2016 she became the first female mayor of Torres Shire Council.

No stranger to breaking new ground, Vonda says that if she ever wanted to do something she just gave it a go, refusing to let her achievements be limited by the fact that she lives in a remote community. She was the first Torres Strait Islander woman to work as an Australian diplomat, and the first Torres Strait Islander woman to go to the United Nations and complete the Indigenous Fellowship Program.

Vonda brings more than 20 years’ experience with the Australian Government to her role as mayor. Her government work started with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade working in the Torres Strait, Canberra and New Zealand. She has extensive experience in Indigenous affairs and health holding senior positions addressing Closing the Gap initiatives across the Torres Strait and Cape York.

Earlier this year, Vonda was awarded the inaugural Mackinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year award. This award recognises courageous political leaders who are visionaries in their public service roles and is awarded to a leader with less than five years in office. Winning this award, she said, gave her the confidence that she was on the right track in relationship to leadership in the Torres Strait. Since 2015, Vonda holds the position of Executive Director of Primary Health Care with the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services (TCHHS) working across the Cape York and Torres Strait to improve primary health care delivery. Previously Vonda held the position of Senior Manager, Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area (TS&NPA) with the Far North Qld Medicare Local (FNQML).

Vonda is a recipient of the Centenary Medal and the NAIDOC Award of Excellence. Vonda says many of her leadership role models come from her family. She recognises her mother and grandmother as strong women and credits them for keeping her grounded.

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