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POSTED ON 08-July-24

It's NAIDOC Week! To celebrate, the Canberra Cyber Hub is spotlighting the incredible achievements and contributions of First Nations people and individuals from diverse backgrounds within the tech and cyber industry. This week is a special time to recognise and honour the rich history, culture, and accomplishments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We believe that diversity is always a strength, and inclusive workplaces bring out the best in innovation and creativity.


In this interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Natalie Legg, a proud Kamilaroi woman and the CEO of A23. With over 15 years expertise in government, small business, project management, and ICT infrastructure, Natalie, as a founding partner of A23, has been integral to the company's growth since its establishment in 2016 and is dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within A23 and the industry.


Natalie’s journey is a reminder of the importance of representation and inclusivity in the tech and cyber industry. Her leadership at A23 and commitment to supporting Indigenous talent and diverse perspectives are certainly an inspiration we can all learn from.


As we celebrate NAIDOC Week, let’s look to champion diversity and create opportunities for all voices to be heard. With our collective efforts we can help to foster a more inclusive and creative future in the cyber and technology space.


Can you tell us about your story and how you became interested in the tech/cyber field?

I am from country NSW and was raised in a hardworking, proud, multi-generational Indigenous family. I decided at the age of 8 that I wanted to be a ‘computer operator’ after seeing a computer at the offices of the Warialda Standard. My mum, ever supportive, indulged this interest and bought me a second-hand Amstrad PC for my 9th Birthday. This meant that I was one of the first people in town to have a computer. My first paying job was word processing the bush poetry of a local character for chips and creaming soda.


What are some milestones or achievements in your career that you're proud of?

Becoming CEO of A23 late last year. Being a founder of the company and always being a senior exec, I didn’t realise how important the actual role would be to me.  More importantly I underestimated how impactful it is for other women and Indigenous people to see someone like me in the top job.


How did your education and training shape your career path in technology?

I was always very good at Mathematics and my teacher saw this potential and fostered a confidence and ambition that never left me.


I hope that it means I am more approachable and open to other people who are diverse and bring different perspectives. I aim to ensure we can support different ways of working and ways of thinking.  Innovation is the result of thinking differently, of challenging yourself and others. 


In what ways do you think workplaces can better engage with and support Indigenous communities, and can you share any insights or experiences on how your workplace has promoted Indigenous participation or inclusion in your sector? 

After university I started my professional career as a grad in the APS working in Indigenous policy areas. While it was an amazing opportunity, it never felt quite right.


After about 5 years I was able to move sideways into an IT area and found my passion. After a little while I realised there had to be other Indigenous people with talent and ambition in technical areas. I initiated and sponsored a couple of Indigenous ICT Traineeship programs that were highly successful.


Are there any resources, networks, or programs you would recommend to Indigenous individuals looking to enter the tech industry?

Absolutely! Here are my top 3:


How can allies and organisations support the development and inclusion of Indigenous talent in the tech industry?

Be open, share knowledge and think broadly.


In which emerging trends in technology excite you the most, and how do you see these impacting Indigenous communities? 

AI related technologies are rapidly changing and growing. There is great potential to help in language preservation, health and wellbeing and in economic development.


In your view, what role do you see Indigenous people playing in influencing the future directions of technology? What are your aspirations for the next generation of Indigenous leaders in the fields of technology and cyber security?

There is potential negative impacts to be navigated in the AI space. Indigenous people have a unique and impactful perspective on Privacy, Data Sovereignty, as well as Bias and Discrimination.