Our Vision

Leading Generational Change

Our vision is to create a world where Indigenous people globally thrive as leaders through self-determination and self-governance.

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Our Core


Collaboration is at the heart of our approach. We recognise the strength in unity and actively seek partnerships within our Connected Network and beyond, working together to achieve collective goals.


Respect forms the foundation of all our interactions. We recognise the diverse cultures, perspectives, and experiences that exist within Australia, and honour everyone’s unique contribution.


We are accountable to the communities we advocate for and work with. We are committed to elevating the perspectives, needs and ambitions of those communities.


Integrity guides our actions, ensuring transparency and honesty in everything we do. We believe trust is built through ethical practices and accountability.


Equity at Turnstone Collective means embracing diversity and actively dismantling barriers to participation. We champion principles of fairness and justice to create an inclusive environment for all.

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Our Story

Turnstone Collective is the collaboration of Michelle Deshong and Carla McGrath, each bringing extensive experience in Indigenous engagement, leadership, governance, strategy, and public participation.

United by a shared ambition to create transformative change for Indigenous communities, Turnstone Collective was founded in 2021 to increase capacity and reach across domestic and international networks. Michelle and Carla worked together in various forms for more than a decade before bringing their collective expertise together to form Turnstone Collective.

Inspired by the harmonious synergy of a flock of birds in flight, our name is derived from the distinctive Ruddy Turnstone. Turnstone’s tend to fly in tight coordinated flocks. Much like these birds, our approach is one of partnership and collaboration
for purpose.

The Turnstone is a highly migratory, world travelling bird. Though it travels long distances, the Turnstone always returns to Australia and can be found along the coast, including in the Great Barrier Reef. Similarly, Turnstone Collective’s Founders are both salt water women who live on the coast and have strong cultural connections to North Queensland. Both have had the opportunity to travel extensively and bring learnings and connections home.

The Turnstone was named for its habit of meticulously searching new spaces, turning over stones, shells, and seaweed all along the coastline. There is significant synergy between this habit and the way Turnstone Collective works, constantly seeking new ideas and innovation and incorporating these into our practice

Why Work With Us

As an 100% Indigenous-owned firm, we are defined by the unique experience and expertise of our co-founders, Carla and Michelle.

With strong roots in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, Turnstone Collective creates unique value through our commitment to authentic engagement, deep listening and targeted research.


Expertise of
the Director

Carla and Michelle bring a unique blend of expertise in leadership, governance  and cultural connection, ensuring a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to all projects.


With expansive networks from Tasmania to the Torres Strait, Turnstone Collective’s Connected Network consists of experts across various content areas, ensuring a comprehensive and tailored approach to meet the specific needs of our clients.

Commitment to
Generational Outcomes

Our objectives include increasing the participation of Indigenous people in public and political life, promoting self-determination, and facilitating cross-cultural collaboration.

Turnstone Collective invites you to be a part of our journey in nurturing change, fostering connections, and empowering communities.

Together, let’s create a future shaped by Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, and collective action.

Our Team

Carla McGrath


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Carla McGrath


Carla McGrath is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman and a passionate speaker, advocate and MC. Born and raised on the Australian mainland, she now lives in Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). Carla is an expert in community engagement and consultation, transformational organisational cultural change, organisational strategy and sustainability, program design and development, and facilitation.

Carla is Board Chair at Native Foodways, Board Director at Blakdance, a member of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research reference group: Thiitu Tharrmay (Australian National University) and member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderAdvisory Group for Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

Carla has a track record of cultivating and maintaining effective networks, alliances and relationships with a broad range of stakeholders including corporate, philanthropic and for purpose partners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities and organisations. Carla brings over a decade of experience in the establishment, leadership and governance of for-purpose organisations and businesses, using this experience to assist organisations, institutions and communities to seed, grow, change and sustain themselves.

Carla’s previous roles include Program Director for the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, Head of Sustainability at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Relationship Manager at AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience). Her previous board and governance roles include Chair if GetUp, Co-Chair of the Management Committee of the NSW Reconciliation Council, Vice Chair of AYAC (Australian Youth Affairs Coalition), Board Director of Shared Path Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, Flashpoint Labs and the George Hicks Foundation, Delegate to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Member of the AIME Corporation, Member of The Smith Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, and Public Member of the Australian Press Council.

Michelle Deshong


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