Benson Saulo (29) is descendant of the Wemba Wemba and Gundjitmara Australian Aboriginal nations of western Victoria and the New Ireland Provence of Papua New Guinea. Growing up in the rural town of Tamworth in New South Wales, Benson began working at the ANZ Bank at the age of 15. Benson progressed his career within the bank as an International Officer, Business Banking Manager and Business Analysis at the age of 22.
In 2011, Benson was appointed Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. Benson undertook a national engagement tour in which he engaged over 6,000 people through face-to-face workshops, events and consultations and a further 21,000 people through online tools and social media. Following the national tour Benson represented Australian Youth at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and was based in New York as an accredited member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
In 2012, Benson became the Founding Director of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy, which engages young Indigenous people to lead positive change in communities across Australia through youth-led social action initiatives. NIYLA has engaged over 450 Indigenous young people across Australia, and launched 10 youth-led social action campaigns on issues that impact young Australians including climate change, mental health, GBLTI young people and suicide prevention.
In 2014, Benson became the co-founder of Mind Garden Projects; a not-for-profit that supports two schools in New Ireland Provence, Papua New Guinea. Through a crowd-funding campaign, Mind Garden Projects has raised over $3,500 to provide books, teacher and student resources, to ensure teachers have the resources to provide a quality education to their students. Mind Garden Projects continues to grow with the support of in-kind donations.
Benson was selected to participate in the United States’ State Department International Visitor and Leadership Program, which involved a three week tour of the US focussing on Native American and Minority Groups across various cities and sectors.
Currently, Benson is the Group Indigenous Opportunities Manager at Australian Unity. Benson leads the implementation of Australian Unity’s Reconciliation Action Plan with a focus on employment, procurement and culturally appropriate products and services.
- Chair, 4th National Indigenous Economic Development Forum – 2017
- Delegate at the 45th St Gallen Symposium, Switzerland – 2016
- National Commission for UNESCO – 2016
- Youth Advisory Council to the Centenary of WWI National Board – 2012
- Youth Advisory Council to the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence – 2012
- Council Member of Reconciliation Victoria – 2010
- Victorian Electoral Commission, Aboriginal Advisory Group – 2010
- EastWeb Philanthropic Fund – 2010
- CLEO Magazine 30 under 30
- Finalist, Young Australian of the Year (Victoria)
- NAIDOC Youth of the Year, 2012
- Finalist, Australian Human Rights Youth Medal, 2012
- Vibewire’s six under twenty six Award, 2012
- Ricci Marks State Award, 2012
- Australian Affinity Award for Youth, 2011