Cate Sims joined the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in October 2016, after engaging with the foundation for many years during her time as Senior Adviser Aboriginal Relations at Rio Tinto. Cate’s vision for the Foundation is to position the organisation as a recognised leader in Aboriginal education and a preferred partner for Government, Corporate and Philanthropic sectors.
Her father’s job as a policeman took Cate and her family to some of the most remote places in Australia, including Derby, Cockatoo Island, and Marble Bar, a little outback town in Western Australia’s Pilbara region that holds the title of being one of Australia’s hottest towns. It was during her childhood spent in these remote and largely Indigenous communities that Cate developed an affinity with Aboriginal people and their culture.
Cate commenced her professional career in local government in 1988 and spent the next 10 years in community development, community & youth services, and Aboriginal relations in Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Through her work with Rio Tinto, Cate worked tirelessly to break down employment barriers, promote diversity within the mining industry, and build the capacity of local Aboriginal communities to participate in the mining sector and wider economy.
In 2014, Cate was named the ‘Outstanding Woman in Mining’ at the New South Wales Minerals Council awards in recognition of her initiatives to build relationships with and create opportunities for the Aboriginal community.