How Adam Goodes and David Jones plan to improve the life of Indigenous Australians

Former AFL star and Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes is using his David Jones ambassador role to inspire social change. Since taking on the job in 2015, he's doing what no other ambassador with the 180-year-old store has done before – drafting a reconciliation action plan to be unveiled later this year.

While the department store usually aligns with big name models (Jessica Gomes and formerly Jesinta Franklin) to encourage a fashion splurge, they've upped the ante by embracing the Indigenous values of Goodes, in turn making a stand on the iconic store's own progressive vision.

Looking forward 

So just what does a reconciliation plan look like?

According to Goodes, 38, it's about aligning David Jones with charities that help Indigenous communities, educating the brand about the importance of employing more Indigenous staff and adding Indigenous designers to the roster – with a debut accessories brand to turn heads next month.

"Knowing David Jones want to contribute to the reconciliation action plan is really pleasing. It's the reason I got involved to begin with. It wasn't a deal for the sake of it," says Adam Goodes.

"They have a powerful brand and key in breaking down those barriers," he says.

Life after AFL

When Goodes resigned from AFL in 2015, he walked away a two-time Brownlow Medal winner and guided his team to victory in the 2012 AFL Grand Final. He downplays any talk he'll be inducted in the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame next year, but there's a sure bet he will.

In 2013, he made the headlines after a Collingwood supporter called Goodes an "ape". It caused a media circus and raised the issue of racism in sport. It put Goodes in the spotlight for more reasons than he anticipated.

While those controversial days occasionally rear their head, Goodes says he's using his role at David Jones to educate others about what it means to be Australian and why we need to be inclusive, respectful and aware that all walks of life and cultures make up the fabric of Australia.

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"We all have a voice and have morals," says Goodes.

"It's good knowing David Jones is a progressive thinker. It's proof that change has to start somewhere. It's also a great sign of leadership and more organisations need to take notice of what they're doing and start doing it too," he says.

Numbers games

The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation is a partnership Goodes introduced to the store three years ago. He's now a board member with the foundation.  Monies raised from product sold at David Jones help Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids to read and write by the time they reach school age.

Goodes, who married Natalie Crocker in 2016, says while he's focused on helping disadvantaged Indigenous kids, he's ready to start a family of his own. You only need to look at his Instagram account to see he's a proud uncle.

"I am very looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my wife. We're definitely thinking about that," he says.

Staying community minded

Goodes also runs the Go Foundation which he started with former Swans player Michael O'Loughlin in 2013. He's long been committed to getting Indigenous kids to the workplace and in university places.

"It hasn't taken just Adam Goodes to make change," he says of his impact at David Jones.

"It takes leadership and it takes people in the right position of an organisation who want to make a difference," he adds.

"The reconciliation plan gives a voice to those who are now encouraged to speak up. I played a team sport for team satisfaction and to win a premiership is definitely a highlight of my career," he says.

"When I came to AFL in 1997 I was very shy and an introvert. When I left, I felt feeling strong and a proud leader which is a reflection of the culture in the club itself. I was grateful for my time with the AFL and my heart will always be there but now it's time to find new challenges."

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