Markwell and Associates is an Aboriginal-owned and operated business, now specialising in:
career coaching, mentoring and cultural guidance (for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians)
thought leadership around cultural connections and leadership, Indigenous prosperity and working in two worlds
organisational and business strategy, performance, sustainable growth and impact.
This shift in focus follows many years of facilitating Indigenous economic and cultural outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, government, business and community.
Ken is a proud Mununjhali man from the Yugambeh Language Region, which is part of the Bundjalung nation, stretching from the Logan River (Queensland) to the Clarence River (New South Wales). He also has cultural responsibilities for neighbouring Wangerriburra country.
Executive General Manager Indigenous Services, Australia Unity
Director: Indigenous Sector Practice, Ernst and Young (EY)
Director, Indigenous Business Australia’s Traditional Owner and Sustainability Unit
Director and leader of Ernst and Young’s Indigenous Sector Practice
Led multi-disciplinary teams at Commonwealth and State Government levels
Owner and operator of Markwell and Associates, delivering outcomes in Indigenous heritage, tourism, economic, environmental and business sectors.
Executive leadership experience
For the last 15 years, Ken has pursued roles focused on Indigenous-led socio-economic empowerment and independence.
He was Executive General Manager of Indigenous Services at Australian Unity, which was one the largest employers of First Nations people in the aged and disability sector in Australia. To support Indigenous wellbeing and cultural connection Ken’s team brought together the largest group of Aboriginal Elders in NSW since centenary for their annual Indigenous Services customer gathering.
He led the Indigenous Services team and customers through the COVID crisis, providing safe, high quality culturally appropriate care to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people. In 2019 he was privileged to be part of an Australian Unity Executive aged care study tour delegation to Canada, USA and France where he led First Nations cultural exchanges including with SE Health, Toronto.
Ken is a member of the Aged Care Workforce Remote Accord Leadership Group which was established to improve aged care workforce solutions in remote and very remote areas of Australia.
While at Ernst and Young, Ken led the establishment of their national Indigenous Sector Practice (ISP) delivering a wide range of Indigenous projects across Australia. The ISP worked closely with their EY Tahi (New Zealand) colleagues to align our First Nations principles and approaches.
What Ken brings to the table
As a respected Goorie leader, Ken has unique lived experiences that have shaped and deepened his cultural values and commercial acumen.
He has worked across the corporate, community and business sectors and at all levels of government. Ken understands how the system works, and how the system wants and needs to work with Indigenous Australians.
He is uniquely placed to guide and connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in ways that deliver culturally meaningful and mutually beneficial outcomes, and that create long-lasting relationships and deliver measurable and meaningful impact.
Ken’s mission: Empowering Indigenous prosperity
His passion is empowering Indigenous prosperity. For Ken, that means:
connection to country and mob, particularly the unfettered right to drive social and economic and cultural prosperity from our traditional lands and waters
access to the highest quality education
job-relevant training that’s demand driven
business ownership with sustainable growth
home ownership, creation of wealth and intergenerational wealth transfer
employment across all sectors, in all parts of the country, at all levels.
This inherent understanding comes from Ken’s own experiences, and that of his family. His grandmother, who had a profound impact on his life, lived at a time when it was legislated she only receive a Year 4 school level education. Thanks to her inspiration, Ken has gone on to become the first member of his generation to graduate with a university degree, run his own business and achieve home ownership. He knows how important these achievements are in Australia generally, and how they are even more critical for Indigenous Australians.
Formal qualifications and accreditation
Bachelor of Arts (Archaeology and Paleoanthropology), University of New England
Bachelor of Applied Science (Conservation and Park Management), University South Australia
Qualified Workplace Assessor and Trainer
Australian Institute of Company Directors Course
Ken has 30 years’ experience delivering socio-economic impact with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. He has worked across government, community, corporate and business roles.
Today, Ken is Director of Markwell and Associates – a successful Aboriginal owned and operated business with a strong reputation for quality, compassion, empathy and cultural expertise.
Projects of influence
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
Ernst & Young – Indigenous Sector Practice
Indigenous Business Australia – Indigenous Economic Reporting Tool
Bonye Buru Booburrgan Ngmmunge: Bunay Mountains and Aboriginal Aspirations and Caring for Country Plan
Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan 2009-2012
One of Ken’s unique approaches is to leverage trusted partnerships with associates to maximise value and best outcomes for clients, tapping into specialised skills, knowledge and wisdom.
Markwell and Associates is proud to have delivered exceptional outcomes for the following clients.
The Water hen
The water hen is one of Ken’s yurries (totems) from his country. It symbolises his connections to country and people.
The Two rivers
Ken designed the two rivers to have two meanings:
The two rivers are the Logan and Albert Rivers from his traditional country, Yugambeh. They start at the McPhersons Range New South Wales/Queensland border (the boundary of our country), meet near Eagleby, and flow into Moreton Bay. They represent the connections his people have from freshwater to saltwater country since time immemorial.
The rivers also symbolise Reconciliation. The dotted lines are non-Indigenous people and the unbroken lines Aboriginal people. The confluence of the rivers represents the shared journey we now take towards reconciliation.