Adele Peek: The sky’s the limit

  • 11 June 2024

Adele Peek is a proud Yawuru/Bunuba woman whose journey originates from the bustling outer suburbs of Melbourne to the remote corners of Broome. Living with undiagnosed dyslexia, education wasn’t just challenging; it became a barrier. But adversity often fuels determination. For Adele, it paved the way to a profound understanding of communication and its power to bridge gaps.

Adele grew up in a multicultural melting pot in the outer suburbs. She moved to high school on an Indigenous scholarship to MLC and then onto Melbourne Uni, following a scholarship track. After university, she returned to her grandmother’s country, Yawuru country, driven by a longing for home. She pursued passion projects and helped advance First Peoples by working across Shell, Rio Tinto, FYA, and the Department of Finance. Her focus was on First Nations advancement, youth employment, and creating strategic outcomes for community development.

professional woman sitting back with legs perched on table

Throughout her life, Adele has witnessed firsthand the barriers to education and accessibility, especially in remote regions where opportunities were sparse, and violence loomed large. She recognised that education was a beacon, a pathway out of the constraints of a low socio-economic background. With every venture, from an art gallery to supporting the executive at the Kimberley Land Council, to youth work, and onto The Cultural Intelligence Project, Adele sought to drive economic opportunities and societal upliftment for her people.

two women standing smiling
Adele with her sister and fellow co-founder, Cara Peek

Challenged in multiple ways, from discriminatory and racist work environments to the need for self-employment, Adele ensured that she and others were well-presented, educated and hardworking. Despite being statistically at the bottom in terms of socio-economic background, incarceration, and domestic violence, she made sure to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After a decade at the forefront of First Nations entrepreneurship, Adele realised her gift lay in her cultural intelligence. She recognised that to be successful in life or business, one must be aware of others and their surroundings. Adele used her gift to educate and grow others by teaching individuals and organisations the art of cultural intelligence. Cultural Intelligence is about understanding that everyone comes from a different walk of life. Every individual or business has been on a journey. It is within that journey that lessons are learned and wisdom is gained. While shared experiences can create commonality, no two journeys are identical.

woman and girl standing together in country
Adele is a proud mum to her daughter

Today, Adele stands as a proud and accomplished single mother and multi-award-winning business owner. Her daughter is her biggest inspiration, continually guiding and fuelling her passion and determination to achieve First Nation advancement and a better world for our youth.

woman receiving certificate from man
Adele receiving her Australian of the Year Awards certificate from The Governor of Western Australia

For her contribution towards equity and uplifting those from low socio-economic backgrounds, Adele was named a Local Hero finalist in the 2024 Australian of the Year Awards. As we begin the search for the next Australians of the Year, we caught up with Adele to find out more about her journey and the importance of positive impact.

What does being Australian mean to you?

“Living on pristine Yawuru country, being proud of my Indigenous/Chinese heritage, and surrounding myself with positive people that embrace multiculturalism and celebrate connection through family, food and music.”

Why is it important that people contribute to their community?

“I wish to live in a world and community that is inclusive, embraces diversity and encourages all to participate in life. For that to be a possibility, I must lead by example and contribute to the vitality of my community. My hope is that through shared love for our children and country, we all can find a way to positively contribute to our community, so it’s a welcoming space for all, as kindness goes a long way.”

What have been the biggest influences on your own contribution?

“I live in a remote community, with fewer resources and infrastructure than those in urban or regional settings. I am conscious that Indigenous children and adults can’t be what they can’t see, I therefore, take being a role model that contributes to my community in a positive way, very seriously. My biggest influence is showing my seven-year-old daughter that anything is possible, if you are willing to work for it.”

What are some of the positive effects you’ve seen as a result of your work?

“I have seen my work prevent suicide in my community, because the project I deliver, delivers hope. I have seen individuals begin to believe in themselves and their dreams becoming a reality through guidance and hard work. I have seen community members from difference race, religious belief and socio-economic background come together for a common cause. My work responds to community interest and need, my work is about investing into all people to ensure First Nation advancement.”

How did you feel being recognised in the Australian of the Year Awards?

“It was a rare and special occasion to feel celebrated and recognised that I was able to enjoy with my daughter, mother and sister. My community was very supportive and encouraging.”

group of people standing together in front of brick wall
The launch of Make It Happen HQ

Adele’s impact continues, achieving milestones such as the launch of Make It Happen HQ Innovation Hub and Think Tank, as well as securing partnerships with Indigenous Business Australia and Enterprising Girls Academy. As for what the future looks like, Adele is set to launch Peek Performance – an e-learning platform to teach First Nations entrepreneurship – as soon as July. She is also working on a new initiative, Reclaim The Narrative, a First Nations entrepreneurship conference and gala awards dinner.

The sky’s the limit for Adele Peek.

Find out more about Adele’s contribution and impact at

If you know someone like Adele who is doing incredible things for their community, nominate them for an Australian of the Year Award at

Back to news