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George Stamas & Jasmine Grove on building Australia’s Largest Indigenous Cleaning Company

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In the bustling city of Sydney, Australia, George Stamas, the Director of GJK Facility Services, had a deep-seated belief that businesses had the power to change lives.  

It was this belief that led him on a journey to mentor and support an incredible young entrepreneur named Jasmine Groves.  

Jasmine had a dream—a dream to launch an Aboriginal-owned and operated commercial cleaning company. Inspired by the legacy of her great-grandfather, Herbert Groves, who had passionately fought for social equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Jasmine was determined to carry on his mission and make a lasting impact.

Herbert Groves had been a prominent activist during the 1950s and 60s, tirelessly advocating for the improvement of lives and basic human rights for Indigenous Australians. He played a vital role in the success of the 1967 referendum, ensuring a brighter future for First Nations people. 

Recognizing Jasmine’s passion and dedication, George Stamas became her mentor and together they formed a powerful partnership. Together, they established GJK Indigenous Solutions, a company that would not only offer exemplary cleaning services but also contribute to diversity in the industry and the community. 

Cultural awareness training, Indigenous recruitment, and supplier diversity solutions became integral aspects of GJK Indigenous Solutions. Their primary goal was to advocate for and support the economic advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, businesses, and communities. Through purposeful engagement, sustainable employment, and overall empowerment, they aimed to make a difference in Indigenous Australia. 

Their collaboration soon flourished, growing into a thriving business known today as Killara Services. Led by Jasmine Newman, a dynamic leader inspired by the legacy of her great-grandfather, Killara became the largest Indigenous cleaning company in Australia. 

Under Killara’s banner, the JEFA Program, an acronym for “Justice and Equality for All,” was developed to provide Indigenous individuals with education and employment opportunities. The program aimed to follow in the footsteps of Herbert Groves, promoting access to education and advancement for the betterment of Indigenous Australians. 

Killara’s dedication to diversity did not go unnoticed. Their memberships with Supply Nation, the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commercial, and other Indigenous associations and chambers showcased their commitment to meeting both corporate and community requirements as a representative indigenous business. 

Through purposeful engagements and specialized programs, Killara fostered strong partnerships with individuals, businesses, and communities. They actively created real and sustainable employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians, ensuring a culturally inclusive and supportive workplace. Their efforts focused on the empowerment and social and economic advancement of the Indigenous workforce, communities, and business sector. 

The remarkable work of Killara and Jasmine’s leadership did not go unrecognized. In 2020, they were honored as the Indigenous Business of the Year in the Defense Industry awards. The following year, they were nominated for the Supplier Diversity Partnership of the Year at the Supply Nation Awards and walked away as the winners of the Property Council of Australia’s Award for Best Diversity in the category of more than 250 employees. Their commitment to excellence and collaboration also led them to become winners at the Indigenous Excellence National Awards in 2022. 

As they continued to make their mark in the industry, Killara became finalists in the Defense Industry Awards, standing out in the categories of Indigenous Business of the Year, Training and Mentorship Program, and Subcontractor of the Year. 

The journey of George Stamas and Jasmine Groves is a testament to the power of belief, mentorship, and collaboration. Their determination to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous Australians has guided them to build a company that not only thrives but also positively impacts communities and creates opportunities for those in need. 

Their story continues to inspire others, reminding us all that businesses can indeed change lives and lead the way towards a more inclusive and empowered future. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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