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Channelling community change

“It’s a strong part of my family identity, to give back to community. I wasn’t always sure how it would manifest for me, but supporting First Nations careers has been truly rewarding.” – Fallon Wanganeen

Fallon Wanganeen

Looking out for community is a lifelong dedication for Fallon Wanganeen, and one that started at home.


With a multigenerational family history of giving back to community, Fallon’s journey of empowering First Nations peoples was written in the stars.


His family have been involved in Aboriginal rights, youth justice and culture and language, with their experiences deeply influencing him.


“I’m a very proud Narungga man, and I get a huge sense of pride and joy in being able to support my community. It’s not a responsibility that I take lightly.”


It’s also not one that is confined to his 9 to 5, with his passion for supporting others extending well beyond his day job to boardrooms and football fields.




Twelve years ago, in the small town of Kadina in South Australia, Fallon began a Full Time Indigenous Traineeship that unexpectedly launched his corporate career.


“I became permanent with ANZ after just 12 months and got to work across a lot of different branches in South Australia and the Northern Territory. But after a further three years I realised that if I wanted to continue progressing, I’d have to move away from the country and head for the big city.”


At this stage, the ‘big smoke’ for Fallon was Adelaide, which he admits is no mega metropolis, but still a far cry from the quiet beachside life of Moonta Bay where he grew up with his family and friends.


After 18 months of networking and exposure to multiple roles in metro banking, Fallon received the call that would help shape his career and focus.


“The phone rang from Melbourne, and it was a role for a talent acquisition specialist in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment. Even though it meant leaving my family and friends behind in South Australia, I jumped at the opportunity to make a genuine impact.”


From there, Fallon has forged his path as an ANZ powerhouse, specialising in First Nations recruitment, empowerment and strategy. His journey came full circle in 2021 when he took over as the Inclusion Program Manager, for the very program that launched his career.


“It was a wholesome full circle moment for me, getting the opportunity to support Indigenous trainees across the country that were in the same position that I was eight years prior.”


Now Fallon is embracing a new challenge as a First Nations Employee Journey Expert, a newly created role leading the execution of ANZ’s First Nations recruitment, retention and professional development strategy.


“I love bringing people on the journey of what we are doing in this space, and making connections with current and potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. It’s a good feeling to know that in just eight months we already have some runs on the board, I can’t wait to see how far we can go.”


Fallon with fellow ANZ First Nations Employee Journey Expert, Kaylee Hipwell

First Nations Careers


It’s no secret that the desire to foster change is a driving force for Fallon, and one that he embraces with gratitude wholeheartedly.


“It’s a strong part of my family identity, to give back to community. I wasn’t always sure how it would manifest for me, but supporting First Nations careers has been truly rewarding.”


It’s an area that Fallon knows isn’t perfect, and one that he knows will continue to challenge him to think outside of the box for solutions.


“I’m very cognisant that I’ve unfortunately been an outlier in terms of adversity and discrimination. It can be both conscious and unconscious, and is something that will take work to tackle.”


But Fallon doesn’t back down from a challenge, allowing it to fuel his passion for change and progression.


“The appointment of Shelley Cable as ANZ’s Head of First Nations Strategy is a huge step, and one that gives me great confidence in how we can continue to excel.”


This continuation of excellence is also something that is echoed in 2024’s NAIDOC Week theme of ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud'. The week celebrates and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with this year’s theme highlighting the enduring strength of First Nations cultures. 


“Coming off the challenges of last year’s referendum it’s now more important than ever to keep pushing forward and to celebrate all that we have, and continue to, achieve. I’ve been involved in Reconciliation activities across my entire 12-year career at the Bank. ANZ’s Reconciliation journey started in 2007 where we were the first bank to develop and launch a RAP, something we are very proud of in this space.”


The Ganbina Board Room


Beyond his day job, Fallon channels his dedication to First Nations advancement through his work with Ganbina, Australia’s most successful Indigenous school to work transition organisation.


“ANZ have partnered with Ganbina for a long time, and I formed my relationship with them through work. Last year a position came up on their board and I felt honoured to  be approached about joining.”


In February, Fallon was appointed Chair of the Board. Describing it as a steep but enriching learning curve, he is keen to look behind the curtains at the strategic and governance side of Ganbina’s operations.


Fallon with former Ganbina Chair, Sean Armistead

“It’s such a unique organisation. Fostering the education and growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth from ages five to 25, it’s a privilege to partner with them unlock their potential with life skills guidance as well as cultural appreciation.” 


It’s an organisation with great generational and community impact, building strong role models and paths for success, something that Fallon knows has long lasting impacts.     


The Footy Field


Whilst he has built his own network in Melbourne, Moonta Bay will always be home. And community sport is a big part of that.


“Footy has always been a great place to strengthen relationships, we battle it out on the field, but as soon as the whistle blows, we’re brothers again.”


Since the late 1960s there has been an annual South Australian Aboriginal Football and Netball State Carnival, in which Aboriginal communities play inter-community football and netball matches.


Fallon after his team won the 2022 South Australian Aboriginal Football and Netball State Carnival

“It’s something I remember going to as a kid to watch my aunties and uncles play. And now I get to play with my younger brothers and cousins. Suiting up for our community is special, and something I’ve been doing for over ten years now. It’s a multigenerational community event and I look forward to it every October.”


For Fallon the event is a yearly reminder of the source of his passion for community, and drives home the impact of his work, and just how far he has come. 


“I’m just a kid from country South Australia, I don’t take the opportunities I’ve been afforded lightly. I’ve been lucky to have received tremendous support from leaders across my career, and I always think that if I can do it there’s 100s, 1000s of others who can too.”


Alexandra Galea is Editorial Producer, ANZ

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