Sonya Pearce is a Gooreng Gooreng person and is employed as Senior Lecturer/Coordinator of Indigenous Programs, and BBA (Indigenous) Course Coordinator. Sonya researches and teaches in management development, organizational studies, commercialization with a interest in Indigenous organizations.
Sonya‘s PhD is on Aboriginal Women Entrepreneurship in NSW of which she has received an ARC Indigenous Grant to research this field of study
Sonya has been awarded the UTS Teaching and Learning Award in 2006 for her work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in the UTS School of Business, as well Carrick Citation in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning - Sustained and scholarly leadership of courses, teaching and student support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; as well as UTS – Human Rights Award for the work with Aboriginal Women with tackling violence in Aboriginal Communities. Sonya has been a member of the School of Business since 1997.
Sonya is part of a national ARC project “Determining the factors influencing the success of private and community-owned Indigenous businesses across remote, regional and urban Australia”; this also includes Sonya also was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC- Indigenous Discovery) grant to look at Aboriginal Women and Entrepreneurship in NSW. Sonya is also undertaken research in commercialization of Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Property.
My research interests include but are not limited to – Indigenous people's and organizations, social and economic development, Entrepreneurship with particular interest to Aboriginal women enterprise and entrepreneurship; also interested Indigenous research theory and methodology, with particular reference to Aboriginal women and research.
Management, Management Development, Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise
Maxwell, H, O'Shea, M, Stronach, M & Pearce, S 2020, 'Empowerment through digital health trackers: an exploration of Indigenous Australian women and physical activity in leisure settings', Annals of Leisure Research.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019, © 2019 Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies. Drawing on a strengths-based empowerment approach and Indigenous traditions of 'yarning', this research explores how digital health technologies might contribute to Indigenous Australian women's increased participation in physical activity in leisure settings. While people have long controlled their bodies, conventionally through diaries and weight scales, digital self-tracking of one's bodily states and activities continues to expand. No previous studies have addressed how these technologies influence physical activity among this population and there is limited research about Indigenous Australian people's leisure experiences and the meanings they attribute to them. Accordingly, this research contributes to an under researched area of health and leisure studies concerned with understanding the social, narrative and affective facets of individuals' practices and experiences. Key findings from the pilot study include intersections between the use of health trackers and Indigenous women's prioritizing time for leisure, increased physical activity, enhanced health literacy, and greater personal accountability for lifestyle choices.
© 2018 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand The authors explore the sporting experiences and community strengths of Indigenous Australian women. The intention is to inform both health promotion and contemporary sport management strategies, and policies and practices, leading to better health outcomes for this cohort. The authors employ an interpretative qualitative methodology, which involves the combination of data from a range of sources, including interviews and focus groups with 22 Indigenous women living in urban and rural areas, narratives from elite Indigenous athletes and coaches, as well as findings from a recent Australian Parliamentary inquiry into Indigenous health and wellbeing. Drawing from an agency/empowerment theoretical framework, the authors posit that, given support and opportunities, Indigenous women can become empowered to improve their mental and physical health through participation in sport. Sport managers can facilitate Indigenous women's agency in the effects of colonisation, which continues to be the basis of health issues for this cohort. Listening to Indigenous women and facilitating opportunities for them to take control of their own participation can help facilitate this process. Indigenous-women's only opportunities, partnerships with health agencies and sports organisations, culturally safe spaces and Indigenous women acting as role models are some factors that may augment Indigenous women's agency, and thus empowerment. Government, sports, community organisations and health agencies which provide these conditions in their program design can help to overcome entrenched social, historical and health inequalities that Indigenous women may experience.
Logue, DM, Pitsis, A, Pearce, S & Chelliah, J 2018, 'Social enterprise to social value chain: Indigenous entrepreneurship transforming the native food industry in Australia', Journal of Management and Organization, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 312-328.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sharon Winsor was not intent on becoming one of Australia's leading female Indigenous entrepreneurs, it was rather unexpected. In seeking to escape from an abusive relationship and provide for her family, she turned to her knowledge of native foods and love of 'wild harvesting' from her childhood, to develop a thriving business. Her traditional knowledge of harvesting native foods led to the creation of products such as lemon myrtle sweet chilli sauce, Davidson plum syrup, and cosmetics using ingredients such as Kakadu plum, emu oil, lemon myrtle, and wild berry. Sharon finds herself in a position where increased opportunities for international expansion demand increased volume and scale from her rural operations, where she is working with Indigenous communities.
Sharon is faced with three key challenges about the future of Indigiearth:
1. How can Indigiearth achieve scale while maintaining profitability?
2. How can Indigiearth protect its competitive advantage in the face of increased local agricultural competition, as Indigenous crops increase in value?
3. How can traditional knowledge be both shared and protected for community development (jobs and wealth creation) and for future generations?
These challenges determine how Indigiearth is structured and organized, with whom Sharon needs to partner to develop the Indigenous food industry, and how it will need to work with stakeholders on the issue of traditional knowledge while meeting the growing needs of the company. Sharon has a passion for her native products and wanted to preserve the knowledge and respect that goes into her products – the dilemmas she faced put her under immense pressure.
Keywords: social entrepreneurship, indigenous, supply chain, shared value.
Maxwell, H, Stronach, M, Adair, D & Pearce, S 2017, 'Indigenous Australian women and sport: Findings and recommendations from a parliamentary inquiry', Sport in Society, vol. 20, no. 11, pp. 1500-1529.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Researchers have consistently pointed to positive links between
sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing amongst marginalized
population groups. This paper concentrates on a group about which
little is presently known in terms of these links - Indigenous women
in Australia. The catalyst for this focus is twofold: demographic data
that, while sparse, suggests that this group has very low levels of
participation in sport and associated physical activity; and second,
a recent parliamentary inquiry into Indigenous sport in which the
participation of women featured in several submissions. Both data sets
confirm that Indigenous women are significantly underrepresented in
the Australian sporting landscape. There is no systematic knowledge
about why this is so. The present study contributes to that small
body of literature by considering (a) evidence about participation
rates of Indigenous women in sport; and (b) the aspirations of sport
organizations to attract Indigenous women into their programs.
Thomson, AK, Darcy, SA & Pearce, SJ 2010, 'Ganma theory and third-sector sport-development programmes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth: Implications for sports management', Sport Management Review, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 313-330.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Sport-development programmes provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to excel and overcome social inequities. In Australia, all levels of government have identified sport-development programmes in their policy responses as a method to redress inequity amongst this population. Yet, a recent report has shown that national sport organisations have been more reactive in establishing anti-discrimination policy and less proactive in cultivating culturally inclusive programmes and meaningful sporting experiences (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 2007). At the same time, neo-liberal approaches to policy in Australia have seen the emphasis on grassroots community sport-development shift to third-sector organisations. However, little research has examined how the third-sector organisations operate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and how culturally inclusive the programmes they deliver are for the communities in which they operate. Three case studies with the objectives of analysing organisational approaches to: structure and governance; sport-development philosophies; and cultural inclusiveness of the programmes, are presented here. The case studies were informed by the cultural lens of Ganma, a theory belonging to the Yolngu community of Yirrkala (Marika, Ngurruwutthun,&White, 1992). The case study method included in-depth interviews with programme leaders, reviews of management information systems and programme observation. The findings provided evidence of the importance of culturally inclusive programmes through governance and an informal lived approach to philosophy andculture.