Let’s yarn with Leticia

Opening up the yarns for us all in our first ‘Yarn & Connect’ Blog is the Business Owner and Creative Director of Yirra Miya and Leticia Anne Designs & Co., Leticia Quince. Not only is Leticia a deadly First Nations creative and young entrepreneur at 27 years old, she is also a proud new mother, youth advocate, storytelling and role model to our younger mob overcoming challenges and adversity.

Leticia, we like to open the space to learn a little bit more about you – Who’s your mob? Where are you from? What do you do? And anything you would like to share to welcome our readers on your journey.

Yiradhu marang ‘good day’, I’m Leticia a proud Wiradjuri Torres Strait Islander yinaa ‘woman’. My mob come from Narrandera, NSW however I refer to Dubbo as my home as I grew up in the surrounds most of my life. This is where I am culturally connected and learnt a lot of my knowledge on Wiradjuri Country through mentors and Elders in community.
I now live, work and create on Darkinjung Country on the Central Coast, NSW on which I hope to settle and continue connecting to Country and community here.
I draw upon my lived experience growing up in the child protection system, overcoming complex trauma and cultural knowledge to voice and create positive change in community and in hopes to inspire others. I hold many positions and roles including being a business owner of Yirra Miya and Leticia Anne Designs & Co., the Deputy Chair of Youth Action Board, a consultant and public speaker and a mother, eldest sibling and youth mentor.

What are some challenges and learnings you have overcome to be where you are today?

Reflecting on my journey within my professional endeavours comes with acknowledging the personal experiences that shaped my drive, passion, and resilience to step up and make a difference. Some of these factors included my experiences such as:
• Growing up in the child protection system from the age of 12. I realised I didn’t want to live with the stigma and negative expectations placed on me by others due to my upbringing,
• Being the eldest of five younger siblings and needing to be a protector from a young age and a mother figure meant growing up quickly and role modelling for them.
• Finding strategies to work through my post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and learning difficulties that would impact my focus, thinking processes and mental health and;
• Overcoming experiences of bullying and social isolation that impacted my education, especially in years 8 to 9, led to transferring to my fourth high school. Then, during years 11 to 12, I nearly dropped out of completing my Higher School Certificate.
All these factors contributed positively and negatively to my life and ultimately shaped my vision. However, I persevered and moved through it all. I now see it as different life experiences that have made me stronger, wiser, more aware and dedicated to overcoming and standing up proud and loud. My ambition and desire to create my path is also a part of my hopes to inspire other young people to share that anything is possible if you never give up and stay dedicated.

How does culture and knowledge sharing play a part in your career endeavours?

Culture sits at the core of my being, doing and seeing. It’s an internal connection to myself, Mother Earth, our ancestors and people that you can’t put into words. Having my culture embedded in both of my businesses sits at the forefront of shaping my core values of respect, connection, collaboration, sharing, embracing and self-determination throughout all my service and product offerings.
The growth of our communities across NSW is my priority whilst also walking towards reconciliation and aiming to create a culturally immersed creative space for all people within the community. Yirra Miya holds a pivotal responsibility in educating people on the significance of maintaining integrity and protecting cultural intellectual property through our artworks.
“I ensure that I bring through a sense of connection and to honor my ancestors and the journey that I’ve been on with my culture, but to also support other Indigenous businesses.”
Hear more about my journey and the importance of my culture in my career here: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/article/look-at-the-woman-ive-become-aboriginal-entrepreneur-on-overcoming-trauma/v5fhphmu8

What are some of your achievements that you are proud of?

My dedication to amplifying the voices of First Nations children and young people in the out-of-home care sector further exemplifies my commitment to youth empowerment. For over five years, I was an ambassador and consultant for organisations such as AbSec, the Department of Communities and Justice, and Create Foundation. I continuously advocated for the importance of cultural identity, support structures, and systemic change. Therefore, I was so proud when I unexpectedly received a call advising I had won the AbSec Child and Family Young Person of the Year Award in 2020.
I was later humbled to be awarded the Winner of the Indigenous Achievement Award in 2021 for the 7 News Young Achievers Awards for my community involvement, youth work and leadership.
Forward to 2023, I was also a Finalist for two categories for the 7 News Young Achievers Awards for my business Leticia Anne Designs & Co:
• OSMEN Creative Design Award
• Off Trail Coffee Small Business Achievement Award
I can proudly share that I have brought together a multi-talented team after transitioning to my company, Burralgang Enterprise Pty Ltd and establishing Yirra Miya whilst on maternity leave in February 2023. Since establishing my creative services, we have worked with over 100 different businesses/programs focusing on First Nations small businesses, young entrepreneurs and community-focused initiatives since March 2020.
But my proudest life achievement was welcoming my little gudha ‘baby’ into the world in December 2022. Nothing compares to the feeling of growing and then shaping the future of a child’s life that is so connected to your own.

What is a current goal you hold for your future or business?

Within the past year, I prioritised establishing Yirra Miya as a First Nations Creative Agency and building upon our brand story, increasing our quality of services and offerings, onboarding and upskilling three new staff, all whilst learning to become a mother, juggling working 50+ hours a week and studying my Cert II in Wiradjuri Language.
My Vision for Yirra Miya capitulates growth, sustainability, self-determination, cultural sharing, and education. I encompass all of this in my vision for my community, which I associate with First Nations people, young people, and my local community, and what I hope will transmit to the broader community. I aimed to bring together a collective of passionate, driven and community-focused First Nations creatives who align with the core values of Yirra Miya: Connection, Collaboration and Empowerment. I am dedicated to yirra miya ‘growing together’ with my businesses, my team and as a First Nations Creative Agency and continuing to provide high-quality, highly respected, and recognised creative services. You can learn more at: https://yirramiya.com.au

I am, however, excited to share my focus on re-establishing Leticia Anne Designs & Co. from a creative agency to be a platform and ngurambang ‘home’ for my cultural storytelling through my art and my voice. I am currently in the process of developing a range of products that focus on the following themes:
• Birrang ‘journey’ (healing, growing, connection)
• Miyagan ‘Family’ (for different stages of life from birth to adulthood)
• Ngurambang ‘Community’ (community and educational learning resources)
You can learn more at: https://leticiaannedesigns.com.au

If you could pass a few words onto mob looking to start their own business, what would you say?

Just do it and trust the process. The scariest part for me was stepping away from a full-time permanent youth work position at an NGO where I established my career experience for nearly five years. It meant stepping away from financial stability, working through feelings of imposter syndrome, and honestly, however, no idea how to run a business but just putting in the hard yards to ensure I made it work – as I also moved from Dubbo to Newcastle at the same time so I had no backup. It was the best decision I made back in 2020; it meant I was in control of my decisions and could embrace all my passions simultaneously, such as youth advocacy, consultation and my creative spirit. However, I learned that failure needs to be seen as an opportunity to grow. If it wasn’t for making mistakes, being authentic and transparent in my experiences, and just taking it all on board as a ‘learning experience’,. So my biggest life motto soon became – ‘you never fail unless you give up’. I am more than happy to yarn with mob looking to explore this space more and connect through my LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/leticia-anne-quince-first-nations-creative

Our Feature Question that we like to ask everyone – If you were given a bag of potatoes, what would you cook?

Ahh, this is a hard one, as I love potatoes in general! I enjoy some thinly sliced and lightly seasoned potatoes cooked in the air fryer for convenience and crunch. But then, I am also a mum, so mash potato is a huge fav for my little one at the moment. I feel he’s wants now trumps mine when it comes to some bangers and mash.

Thanks for yarning and sharing with everyone, Leticia! Your story and words of wisdom are inspiring and motivating, and you should be immensely proud of all you have overcome and achieved.

We are opening up for expression of interest from mob who are open and would like to share their stories. Please connect with use through our contact form on our contact page, to express your interest. We will share further information with you via email with the series of questions you can pick five questions from to feature.

We acknowledge Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognise the continuing connection lands, waters and communities. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.