This week we farewell Demian Coates, our CEO for the last three years. Demian has guided Wanta to become the organisation that it is today, not to mention through the unprecedented times of Covid. Wanta has become larger, with more programs and diversity as well as increased funding throughout his tenure and we thank him for that. He was an approachable, hardworking and loyal leader for us and he will be missed. We hear from him below:

“Some days it feels as though it was only yesterday when I packed up my belongings and moved over 3000kms to Ntaria (Hermannsberg) to begin my journey with Wanta Aboriginal Corporation, other times it feels like a lifetime ago. Over the past five years living in the Central Desert has completely shaped the person I am now, it has provided me with a family, lifelong friendships, and memories. It is hard to describe life in the Northern Territory to someone who has never lived here and although it comes with its unique challenges I will continue to call it home.

Despite global supply chain issues, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic Wanta has continued to thrive. Wanta Aboriginal Corporation now employs over 50 staff, of which 70% are Aboriginal and our Board has 80% of Aboriginal representation. With a focus on strong governance, local employment, and program development the organisation is in a position to continue to grow substantially over the coming years.

Helping to shape remote Aboriginal programs across the Northern Territory has been an honour but it does come with its challenges, from the vast distances, different language groups, and cultural barriers one must constantly be learning and adapting to ensure programs are targeted and offered in a culturally appropriate manner. Collaboration, relationship building, and trust are some of the most important qualities that are needed to coordinate programs out bush.

This is the beauty of the Wanta program our Board members and staff live in the communities in which we are based. This allows for trusted relationships and a greater understanding of the needs; vision and challenges being faced by each community. I am so proud of the work of our Board and staff on the ground who have created targeted holistic programs that are dedicated to positive social change.  

I would also like to thank the Wanta funders, private organisations, philanthropists, and Government groups who recognise Wanta’s vision and continue to support us.

It has been a privilege to work for such a unique corporation, thank you to everyone for your support and understanding during this transition period. Stepping down from the CEO position has not been an easy decision for me, however, I know that this is what both myself and my family need at this time. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as the Wanta CEO and to work with such a fantastic team”.

Demian goes on his new journey now with his young family and everyone at Wanta wishes him the best on his new path. Thank you, Demian.