A diverse group of people leads to diversity in thought. Diversity in ideas. And solutions that consider everyone. Learning about another’s culture gives us a new worldview.

At Luma, many of us come from different countries and speak different languages. 24% of us are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD).

This creates an environment where inclusivity is not just accepted but celebrated, and a sense of belonging is palpable. We celebrate our differences because they make us stronger, more understanding, more compassionate.

So, for Harmony Week 2024, we bring you five incredible Luma team members who each wrote a story about their culture, where they come from, and how it affects who they are. Meet Caro, Nikki, Lucilla and Thais.

Carolina, Provisional Psychologist.

I’m Caro. I’m Latina I was born in Santiago, the capital of Chile – where my whole family was born and raised. Latinas are passionate people; mostly about football, music, food, but most of all our friends and family. The scenery of my country varies drastically; we have arid deserts in the north, glaciers and Patagonia down south, Andes mountains and snow fields in the west, and a long coastline in the east.

September 18th marks the day our Independence began and it’s our favourite time of the year where we celebrate in grand style. All month long, the Chilean flag is seen everywhere, the festival spirit takes off, and we celebrate traditional food, dance, wine and friends and family getting together. Like Australians, we celebrate Christmas too, but we call Santa the ‘Old Easter Man’ and presents are opened at midnight.

My native language is Spanish which helps me support my Spanish-speaking clients at Luma, as well as understand some challenges they face such as cultural grief, migration issues, language barriers.

If you ever want to learn Spanish, don’t go to Chile! Much like Australian’s speaking English; our Spanish is too fast, full of slang and we shorten every other word. But if you are looking for great landscapes, beautiful vines, delicious food and passionate people, you will love Chile. Gracias!

Nikki Mitchell, General Manager, Career Services & FDV.

Where are you from? I am asked this question often. I have an Australian sounding name and a very Aussie accent, but my appearance suggests I must have an interesting answer. Imagine the puzzled expressions when I say I was born right here in Perth!

I leave them hanging for just a little before explaining I have an Australian mum with fair skin, strawberry blonde hair, and blue eyes and an American dad whose heritage is African American and Native American. I tell them about the Muscogee Creek Nation and my family in Oklahoma, USA. Although it is thousands of kilometres away, it feels like home.

I was born in Australia but my blood, my culture, my being comes from many places, many peoples. My ancestors have struggled, been exploited, murdered, and had their culture and language stripped away from them. But they also survived, grew resilient, and protected our culture so that I can celebrate and share it today.

I am fortunate to work in an organisation that welcomes cultural diversity. One of the first things I noticed about Luma was the many different cultures and languages of staff. With this came the feeling that everyone belongs. Getting to know one another’s stories; where we come from, what is important to us, what drives us, at a pace that is unforced and comfortable, is a privilege.

Lucilla, Family Therapist.

Ciao! I was born in Italy and Italian is my first language.

Our way of connecting, building relationships and passing knowledge from one generation to another is through food. It’s our culture, it’s belonging and it’s a love language! Although Italy is a lot more than that. It’s a place where family comes first, the beaches are crowded but beautiful, fashion is jaw-dropping, hundreds of churches exist in one town, mountains are so high you see snow all year round.

When I arrived in Australia, everything was strange. The birds sounded odd, the beaches were huge and empty, the city centre was tiny and streets were empty by 7pm. Although my husband and I started to love the slower-paced lifestyle, so we stayed and had a family. Our two children identify as Italo-Australian, and they like to show off my cooking (especially the gnocchi).

My clients from different backgrounds are often reassured by my accent and mannerisms. They know I understand what it means to be a migrant and feel caught in the middle of two different worlds where you never completely belong to any of them anymore. Understanding their journey and connecting to their story is the way I build a safe space where families feel respected and listened to.

Working amongst this diversity has helped me feel proud of my ethnicity. It’s made me strengthen my roots and continue creating solid connections to my new branches in Australia. It’s where the old and new collide and define my individuality.

Thais, Counsellor.

In May of 2019, I embarked on a journey that would redefine my sense of self and community. Hailing from the vibrant land of Brazil, where passion flows through our veins and laughter echoes through every street, I found myself in the vast expanse of Australia.

In my Brazilian culture, we’re known for our warmth, our loudness, and our ability to make friends as easily as breathing. We navigate life with a positive outlook, finding humour even in the darkest of moments. But upon arriving in Australia, I encountered a different pace, a different rhythm.

It wasn’t as easy to forge connections here. People seemed to already have their circles, their established bonds, and I felt like an outsider looking in. But amidst this uncertainty, I found my tribe – a group of incredible women who welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to be unapologetically myself.

It was a revelation to realise that, by Australian standards, I was seen as the warm, outgoing individual I knew myself to be. Through them, I found acceptance and understanding. I learned that warmth isn’t just about being loud and boisterous; it’s about kindness, empathy, and authenticity.

In this environment of safety, acceptance and respect, I’ve flourished. I’ve embraced the nuances of my cultural identity while forging new connections and creating a sense of belonging in this foreign land. Australia may be a world away from Brazil, but it’s become a place I’m proud to call home.