Today, we’re shining a spotlight on QAIHC’s deadly Administration Officer and longest continually serving staff member, Jan Roma.

Where are you from and who are your people(s)?
My family is Gangalu/Ghungalu which encompasses the areas of the lands in between the Dawson and Comet rivers in Central Queensland. My hometown is Theodore (Willi Willi land — my father’s grandmother’s ancestral lands) as that is where our family lived—my dad, mum and 12 siblings. I have a strong cultural connection to the Wakka Wakka people in the South Burnett region of Southeast Queensland — as my mother and her old people are from that area.

How would you describe your role in QAIHC?
Ongoing administration support and coordination of all QAIHC travel, supporting the Office Manager and other managers in QAIHC.

How long have you been at QAIHC?
I have been with QAIHC for 14 years now.

What did you do before coming here?
Well I have been around, job wise I mean. I worked in Rockhampton for years and then moved to Brisbane, I was at Commonwealth Education which had a few name changes, I was working in the ABSTUDY Unit (Aboriginal Study Assistance Scheme), which eventually came under Centrelink, 18 years all up. I left in 2005 and before I started at QAIHC, I was at Medicare (Indigenous Access) for a year.

Family is a huge part of your life; can you talk about it a little bit?
I grew up in Theodore, a small country town in Central Queensland, 561 km from Brisbane via the Warrego and Leichhardt highways. I have seven brothers and five sisters. I am eighth in line; mum and dad have both passed, it’s been over 10 years now. We literally were ‘fringe dwellers’ as we lived in a little tin shack with dirt floors on the outskirts of Theodore. We’d walk over a long pipe across the river to go to school. Out of the 13 of us — the youngest has only just turned 50. Family is very important to me as I have raised children with my husband Devon of 36 years — Taylor, Josephine and the youngest (and hardest to shake off) Brody.

How does being a Ghungalu woman influence how you see the world?
When people look at me they will see a strong black woman with strong cultural and family values. They will see struggle and also they will see a woman who has survived and how I see the world — a world that is still learning and also surviving. We have to learn to be able to understand each other in this world and also we have to learn acceptance.

What has been your best memory of working at QAIHC?
Have to think about that one, there has been so many good memories, probably the people that I have met over the years and the long lasting friendships.

What do you get up to in your spare time?
I love watching rugby league (love my Raiders), I used to play touch football and basketball, but have retired from that now. I love watching movies, going shopping, and hanging with family.

What made you want to gravitate toward the health sector?
I was always in education, but I was offered an Admin job at QAIHC at the time I was not working. But I’m glad now to be in the health sector.

Who’s your favourite sportsperson and why?
I haven’t really got a favourite, because I watch so many sports, but right now my favourite is my niece Ally Anderson, who
plays for the Brisbane Lions Women’s Team.