Podcast | Creating Resilience

Creating impact through First Nations businesses

38 Minute Listen


First Nations businesses in Australia were once a rarity, but their growing presence is now more evident than ever. Today’s First Nations businesses take on the dual responsibility of delivering profits while also driving lasting positive impacts for wider Aboriginal communities across the country.  

Three modern day pioneers of Australia’s First Nations business landscape are Michael O’Loughlin, the Managing Director of ARA Indigenous Services; Rohan Tobler-Williams, the General Manager at ARA; and Shane Jacobs, the Managing Director of Orana Services. The trio, who have varying degrees of experience across construction, property, facilities and infrastructure services, are pushing boundaries and paving the way for future First Nations peoples to enter an industry in which they can learn to lead and thrive.  

As part of CBRE’s Talking Property series in NAIDOC Week, we’re exploring the rise of First Nations business partnerships, the growth in the First Nations business sector, and the real impact that these businesses are having in creating better economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  


Sujata Karandikar

Director, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability, CBRE Australia

Sujata specialises in procurement functions of multinational companies, with extensive experience in business analysis and process improvement within supply chain. Her current role focuses on sustainability and economic development, and how organisations can incorporate sustainability considerations within their supply chains to create value internally and externally.

Michael O’Loughlin  

Managing Director & Founder, ARA Indigenous Services

Michael is a proud Narungga, Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna man from South Australia and a former champion Australian Rules footballer, having played 303 games with the Sydney Swans, achieving not only the Premiership but All-Australian selection (twice) and, in 2015, induction into the AFL Hall of Fame. Post football, Michael embarked on a new chapter, applying his leadership and team-building skills to the establishment of CMC Indigenous Services, now ARA Indigenous Services. Drawing upon his life experiences as an advocate and mentor in the Indigenous community, Michael has positioned the company at the forefront of Indigenous education, support and engagement in the property services industry.

Rohan Tobler-Williams

General Manager, ARA Indigenous Services/CMC

Rohan was born in South-West Sydney with Aboriginal cultural ties to Yidinji Country Bunna Binda Far North Queensland and Wakka Wakka Queensland. His working life began at 15 as an apprentice carpenter before progressing to Safety Officer, Foreman and Union Official. He would go on to be appointed as a Project Manager for the Redfern Waterloo Authority, overseeing the Koori Job Ready Program, and the Authorities Aboriginal Participation, in Construction Guidelines which became the catalyst for what’s known today as APIC, Aboriginal Participation in Construction. Today, he is the Manager in Strategy and Growth at ARA Indigenous Services where he uses his consultative approach to develop and unlock growth opportunities for Indigenous business by investing in strategic initiatives to create greater value for his team, community and organisation.

Shane Jacobs

Managing Director, Orana Services

Shane has built a strong reputation for achieving the best value-for-money outcomes for clients and partners, through on-time, on- budget project delivery, while implementing Orana Services’ core values. Shane’s Indigenous heritage is from the Wiradjuri people, who were the first inhabitants of central western NSW, but grew up in the indigenous community of La Perouse and where he is a member of the local Aboriginal Lands Council.

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