The first Sunday of July marks the beginning of NAIDOC Week, a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

Today we’re talking to Melissa Lacey, Director of Point River Networks. Melissa is an accomplished entrepreneur and business founder, and Point River Networks is an Indigenous-owned business with an all-female leadership team. 

If you’re looking to be inspired, incorporate new voices in your ecosystem, or for a dose of joy in your day, join Melissa for a coffee and learn more about what motivates her each day. 

LAUNCH: What motivated you to bring Point River Networks to Launch? 

MELISSA: PRN focuses on cyber security, which is a high priority for Government. We’re located at Launch because the innovation space allows academics, businesses, government and the ACT community to come together to develop defence and security capability, talent and technology. This move affords PRN a great opportunity to collaborate with leading cyber security specialists and strengthen our capacity for recruitment, as well as PRN’s cyber security services.

LAUNCH: So PRN isn’t just promoting a message – it’s hiring people? 

MELISSA: Totally. This includes staff augmentation, professional services for system integration, project management, labour hire and permanent placements.

The Point River Placement program offers businesses the opportunity to on board Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to extend their professional skill base and practical experience, and our overall aim is to connect with the community. PRN has connections with Indigenous centres at four higher education institutions. We to work together to identify opportunities, and engage with Koori pre-schools in Canberra and Gambra, where my own kids attend.

My great grandmother was born and raised at the Warangesda Aboriginal Mission, located near Darlington Point. Following the 1967 Referendum, my Mum had the opportunity to join the Australian Public Service and moved to Canberra. Like Mum, I received support to join the Australian Public Service and was granted an Indigenous Cadetship through the Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra. 

I was born and raised in Canberra, and I’m the first grandchild in my family to make it to university and complete a degree.

LAUNCH: Can you tell us more about the name Point River Networks?  

MELISSA: Of course: ‘Point’ refers to Darlington Point, where my Mum, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents grew up and many family members still reside.

‘River’ refers to the mighty Murrumbidgee River that flows through Darlington Point and past the old Mission. The river represents our journey, starting and building our business, developing our capability, knowledge and experience, and delivering outstanding and constantly evolving solutions for our clients.

‘Networks’ describes the way we do business and the importance of our connections with our clients, suppliers, business partners, community and the environment. 

Like every aspect of our business, the brand was very carefully considered and holds great meaning for us. It’s intrinsic to our core values, our history and the path we now find ourselves on. 

LAUNCH: What keeps you in the chair every day? 

MELISSA: Seeing an Indigenous woman in the chair is so important. It leads to the support and respect anyone needs in order to become a business owner or manager.

LAUNCH: Thank you, Melissa, we owe you a maskless latte ASAP.