Who We are

Deb Wilkes

Principal, Building on Strengths

Deb is an Illawadjardi woman whose ancestors walked the lands and waters near Shark Bay in Western Australia. She has worked in community development across the not-for-profit, charitable and local government sectors for more than 25 years and is passionate and skilled at integrating cultural ways of knowing with western ways of learning. Originally completing a Social Science degree in Youth Work and Justice Studies, she went on to work with homeless young people and run youth centers before entering the alcohol and other drug field, where she worked in both intervention and prevention roles.

Looking for a new challenge she moved overseas and worked for the Walt Disney Corporation managing all the children’s services on their luxury cruise ships in the Caribbean, before eventually returning to Perth. Back home again, she worked in health focused roles before returning to her local government and community development roots in both metro and regional areas.

Now running her own consultancy business, Deb is a graduate and Fellow of Leadership WA, and a Fellow of Local Government Professionals WA. She has a Certificate in Project Management, a Diploma of Management, a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management and a Master of Research Practice. She is currently a PhD candidate through Kurongkurl Katitjin at Edith Cowan University.

Her passion for growing strong families and strength based communities has seen her take on numerous Board and committee roles, including Chair of the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation. Her skill in identifying innovative partnerships to achieve unique outcomes saw her named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence in 2012 and in 2021 she was awarded both the Community Development Meritorious Award and the Local Government Medal by Local Government Professionals WA.