K is for Kindness & ....

Karina (founder)


Karina Gray is the founder of MK Eco by Starwin and a Mumpreneur leading the way in the tropical north...

"Kind people are my kind of people." 

Welcome to MK Eco by Starwin, and thanks for taking a moment to find out more about my journey.

I founded Starwin in 2010, inspired by my 'bosses' and mentors in Maurice Rioli  (RIP) & Charlie King, two grandstanding Territory men. Social enterprise was an emerging concept at the time, and with a background in community development, balanced by time spent in government contract management roles, I was convinced we could create a new way of working. As a consultant for community change, I became a 'solution broker'.

Fast forward ten years, and Our 2020 Vision: Sea Change articulates our goals for  growing a Made with Kindness Economy; supporting women to do what they love, on the country they love. We are passionate about promoting the tropical north, it's landscape, lifestyle and the talented people that call it home. 

A young leader and youth advocate since my high school days, my greatest joy comes from being a mum, aunty, big sister and coach for the next generation. In 2016, mumpreneur-life started for me, a new challenge, but one that inspires me in so many ways, every day.

To achieve our dreams, we have grown our team, through a mentoring and in-house career pathways program. This is part of a commitment for Starwin to continually innovate and design safe places and cultural spaces. Caring for kids and supporting women in their career pathways is front and centre in all we do. 

From working upfront in the shopfront and facilitating workshops, to designing projects, coaching footy teams and working with our consulting clients behind the scenes, one thing never changes - a will to do business better and work in collaboration with community leaders to create change.

View Karina Gray on LinkedIn

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Social Science (E.C.U). Major – Youth Work, Minor – Justice Studies

  • Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship (C.S.U.)

  • Associate Degree in Legal Studies (C.D.U.)

  • Certificate of Directors Essentials (A.I.C.D.)

  • Level One Coaching Certification –  Youth / Seniors (AFL)

  • Sports Mentoring Certificate (Australian Sports Commission)

Professional Career

I have experience in working in community organisations and all three arms of Government (Federal, State and Local). My career has included working from urban youth centres to remote local governments to state government regional centres and invaluable learning time spent at an executive level in Canberra. 

All the way, my focus has been working to develop and support young people, improving participation in sports and promoting career pathways, by mentoring and tutoring others. 

Key Achievements

  • Finalist for NT Sports Awards Volunteer of the Year 2015

  • Premiership Coach, NTFL U15s x 3

  • Ron Evans Leadership Award Winner 2014

  • Member of the NT Youth Justice Advisory Council 2012

  • Board Member of Foundation for Young Australians 2005-2008

  • ACT Women’s AFL Representative Team 2008

  • Inaugural Member of Brightest Young Minds Summit 2007

  • Featured in the ‘Who’s Who of Australian Women’ Publication 2007/2008

  • Golden Key National Honour Society Member for outstanding academic achievement

  • Departmental (DEEWR) Secretary’s Award for Program Implementation (IYEC Program) 2006

  • Living in Harmony Award – Lleeuwin Sailing Ship 2004

  • Youth Representative, WA Ministerial Council on Child Protection 2003

  • Youth Representative, WA Family and Children’s Advisory Committee 2000

Background

Born in Geraldton, Western Australia, home of many sporting stars, I cannot claim to be as famous or as successful as others from Geraldton, however I feel honoured that along my journey I have helped many others be the best they can be.

I come from a long history of business owners and sportspeople on both sides of my family tree. My parents founded the supermarket at Kalbarri, Western Australia, following in the footsteps of family before them who ran businesses like farms, bakeries, dressmaking and surveying. Women in my family were active CWA members, and many family members were active participants, leaders and volunteers in sporting clubs in regional and remote WA, and some even enjoyed international success. 

Spending my schooling years in Perth, I began work at 14 and learnt young to combine work with study and sporting pursuits. I took up volunteering with the local Youth Advisory Council and local government and WA Department of Youth Affairs to participate as a youth representative. After being on the lead committee for the establishment of a Youth Centre in the City of Gosnells, as a 17 year old, I went on to become employed as a youth worker at Kenwick Youth Centre. This set the foundation of a long career working in and for community. 

Upon completing a Bachelor of Social Science in 2004, I then returned to the Midwest and worked primarily in family support and education. I was sailing on the Lleeuwin Leadership in Harmony Voyage when I got a call up to relocate to Canberra to begin a career in the Public Service. During this time I completed a Grad Cert in Entrepreneurship, Contract Management qualifications and was awarded a scholarship from ACT Women, to complete the  Australian Institute of Company Directors Course. I was a sitting board member with the Foundation for Young Australians at the time.  

The ACT was also where I kickstarted my AFL playing days and career as a coach, winning and ACT Women's AFL scholarship to complete my coaching certification.

I was also selected as a delegate for the Creating Commonwealth Youth Forum and the the Bright Young Minds summit during this period, providing connections all over the country and world with people who are passionate about economic and youth development.

My career journey has included time spent in urban, regional and very remote places in WA, ACT and NSW, and from 2008, I called the NT home, relocating to work on the Tiwi Islands and then Darwin

Prior to founding Starwin; I held positions in the top end with Tiwi Islands Shire Council; Darwin High School; NT Department of Health & Families; Saint Marys Football, Sporting & Social Club; and ABC Local Radio – Sport, giving me the opportunity to build strong networks and experience in the community and sports sectors. 

After completing my third tertiary qualification (an Associate Degree in Legal Studies) I felt ready to live my dream – setting up my own enterprise. Starwin was founded after discussions with my mentors about community need to create pathways for talented young people in the NT. 

I am grateful through Starwin, I have had the opportunity to live my values; with a commitment and passion for; improving the lives of young people, sport, travel and community development.

In 2015 I was awarded the Ron Evans Memorial Award, allowing me to travel to the USA for the international B Corp Champions Retreat. Starwin was the NT's first and to date only B Corp, we believe in this model; for profit for purpose and economic change. 

In 2018, we set to extend Starwin and we are now co-located in Port Douglas and Darwin, with two hubs in the tropical north, in locations we adore.

As we celebrate our ten year anniversary in 2020, I reflect on how it all began and look forward to the journey ahead and continuing to work as a consultant and champion for community change. 

You can find out more about my one-of-a-kindness story in this feature from 2019 and my 2013 turtle dreaming blog 

Karina Gray

 

 

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