Shelley in pictures

About Arrilla

Arrilla is an Indigenous business providing cultural competency training to enable every sector, organisation and individual in the Australian workforce to be skilled and confident in working with Indigenous people and Indigenous projects.

The benefits of a more culturally competent workplace include:

  • Enhanced business outcomes, social impact and brand reputation.

  • Decreased unconscious bias and increased capacity to engage and manage risk with better work practices.

  • Demystifying Indigenous matters by dispelling the myths and understanding the facts.

  • Arrilla was formed in 1992 to promote better relations between Indigenous people and the wider community. By working with the government, private and community sectors Arrilla has enable mutual change through strong partnerships.

    As a majority Aboriginal owned and operated organisation, Arrilla collaborates with some of the finest Indigenous talent across the nation. Arrilla works under a unique social business model to provide services to those that can afford them in order to provide services to those less able to pay. This builds toward Arrilla’s goal of providing more effective and practical ways of working together, now and into the future.

    2016 marked the start of a new chapter for Arrilla with KPMG taking a minority stake in the business. This union brings together KPMG’s ten years of leadership in the reconciliation space with Arrilla’s expertise in workplace solutions in the Indigenous arena.

    About Shelley Reys

    Shelley Reys AO has led Arrilla as principal and CEO since 1994. Since forming the business 24 years ago, Shelley has developed an enviable reputation for leadership in Indigenous reconciliation. She was the inaugural Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, Vice Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, and Chairman of the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.

    Shelley was awarded the Order of Australia for her work in the Indigenous arena and named in the Australian Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’. She also participated in APEC 2010 in Japan and The Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit, which she attended on invitation of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

    As an adviser, Shelley provides support to a range of leaders and their organisations. This includes some of Australia’s most senior corporate sector CEOs, chairs, boards and executive leaders as well as government officials including Governors General, Prime Ministers and Ministers.


    Previous appointments include:

    2012 – 2014

    Chairman of the board, National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE). The NCIE is a world-class facility that provides breakthrough learning experiences and life-changing programs. In doing so, it reframes the national conversation about Indigenous Australia through the lens of excellence and innovation.

    2005 – 2014

    Vice-Chairman and board member of The National Australia Day Council (NADC) which drives Australia Day and appoints the national Australian of the Year as well as Australia’s Young, Senior and Local Hero of the Year. Her nine-year tenure was by Prime Ministerial appointment and throughout her term, Shelley sought to provide inclusiveness and greater meaning to Australia’s national day of celebration and its high-profile awards program.

    2012 – 2013

    Board member of CareerTrackers, a successful not-for-profit organisation that connects corporate Australia with high-quality Indigenous university students by creating award-winning and mutually beneficial internships across the nation.

    2005 – 2012

    Managing Director of Indigenous Film Services, a film, video and multimedia resource and production service which developed music videos, web and television commercials, documentaries and short films. IFS’ highly acclaimed documentary, ‘The Apology’, enjoys broad public screenings particularly during the anniversary of parliament’s apology to ‘the stolen generations’ and the commonwealth government provided copies to public schools across the nation. To that end, it continues to inspire all Australians and perpetuates the value of symbolism.

    2000 – 2010

    Inaugural Co-Chairman and board member of Reconciliation Australia, whose vision is for an Australia that recognises and respects the special place, culture, rights and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and where good relationships between First Australians and other Australians become the foundation for local strength and success; and the enhancement of our national wellbeing. During Shelley’s ten-year tenure, the Reconciliation Australia Plan (RAP) program was established. Her leadership has helped to inspire organisations across the nation to turn their interest in Indigenous advancement into tangible workplace solutions.

    2005 – 2007

    Director and Vice-Chairman of The Fred Hollows Foundation, the world health organisation leading the agenda in unnecessary blindness across the globe.

    1998 – 2004

    Vice-President and Board member of the YWCA of Sydney, one of Australia’s peak women’s organisations which provides a broad range of services to address the needs of women and their families.

    1991 - 2001

    The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet), ‘Australians For Reconciliation’ Program Manager NSW. At the end of the Council’s ten-year term, Shelley supported ‘Corroboree 2000’, a national reconciliation event at the Sydney Opera House which included the ‘People’s Walk for Reconciliation’ across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Over 250,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walked across the bridge to symbolise the journey they had shared together which is said to be Australia’s largest public demonstration of its time. It is also said to have been the largest collection of Australian leaders since Federation in 1901. It served as a prelude to several ‘Walks for Reconciliation’ in major cities and towns across the nation.

    1996 – 1999

    Co Chair, Women’s Reconciliation Network, which aims to provide greater meaning and inspiration to the work of women in reconciliation through annual events, special projects and bi-monthly meetings.

    1997 – 1999

    Founding Board member of Koori Radio (Gadigal Information Service) which offers music and information about Indigenous issues from around the world.

     Read more about Shelley Reys here 



    Arrilla would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of land throughout Australia.

    Arrilla is based in inner Sydney, the land of the Gadigal of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and recognise and celebrate their continuing connection to culture, country and community.

    Find out more about Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country protocols in our digital course.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images of people who have passed away.

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