Youth Work Conference 2022

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Speaker bios in order of appearance

Last updated: 15/11/2022

Sarah Stevenson

Sarah Stevenson, is an International Consultant in Participation and Safety, and an advocate for and with children. Sarah has been working in child rights participation and violence against children for over 25 years. She was the Head of Child Safeguarding and Protection at the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, UN representative for ChildFund Alliance, senior advisor for Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and global advisor for child protection in development for Plan International. She has Co-chair of the participation working group to UNGASS on children and young people. Sarah has provided her consultancy services to ChildFund Alliance, the MasterCard Foundation and Plan International to develop a toolkit, policies, positions and establishing processes for keeping young people safe. Sarah has drafted tools to support consultations with children and young people in over 50 countries and ensured their views were heard by global leaders.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew brings 30 years experience at senior level at the national and international level. He was the UN Representative and Head of New York Office for Save the Children (USA);  Director of Public Policy and Advocacy on Children in Crisis and Emergency (Washington DC) , Lead on Save the Children’s global strategic plan on violence against children and young people (Sweden), Head of Programs Effectiveness, Policy and Advocacy for Plan International (UK); Deputy Secretary General and  Secretary General for ChildFund Alliance (USA). Here in Australia he held the position of CEO in the Australian Republican Movement, Australia Council of Social Service, as well as the inaugural NSW Advocate for Children and Young People. As a trainer and mentor Andrew has worked across the globe and conducted training in advocacy, campaigns, human rights approaches and chid rights and child safety. He was adjunct Professor at New York University developing and teaching courses on child rights, Human Rights, and on the history and development of NGOs. The course he developed and trained on children rights was accredited by in Australia by NSW NESA.

Kate Munro

Kate Munro, CEO at Youth Action is a passionate advocate for the rights of young people in NSW, with over 30 years of experience across both NGO and Government sectors Kate has worked directly with young people doing it tough, whether they are in detention, victims-survivors of sexual assault or tackling issues of mental health and substance use. With a Master of International & Community Development, Bachelor of Social Work and Diploma of Clinical Drug Dependence, Kate brings decades of front-line experience of working with young people in NSW to her impressive academic achievements. Most recently head of youth participation at Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People, she also led projects that were tacking mental health and substance use issues in Inner Sydney, and led of a suite of youth-led development and participation programs in the north of Sydney. She was a counsellor and ran group work programs with young people in custody and was a case-manager and counsellor with young people pre and post release from custody. She also worked on an after-hours roster coordinating medical and counselling response to sexual assault victim-survivors in Sydney and teaching community services to TAFE students.

Darrel Smith

Darrel Smith is the CEO of Miyay Birray. Darrel has worked with Miyay Birray Youth Service for the past 10 years. His work involves supporting the development of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people aged between 12 and 18 years based in Moree. He has a passion for seeing youth achieve their goals. Darrel has been instrumental in seeing the service grow with forming many partnerships. Prior to working with Miyay Birray, Darrel was the regional manager for the Commonwealth Department of Education assisting with the coordination of youth career expos and trips to help young people think about the future. Darrel has also been involved in mentoring and coaching many young people in soccer.

Carly Stanley

Carly Stanley is the CEO and Founder of Deadly Connections, a proud Wiradjuri Woman, born and raised on Gadigal land. Carly was raised in a large Aboriginal family who faced their own difficulties and challenges. Carly has spent the last 20 years working in both government and non-government agencies across a range of areas whilst being an active member of her Aboriginal community which has provided Carly with a strong cultural/community connection, knowledge and skills to establish and grow Deadly Connections. In addition to Carly’s professional expertise, Carly also holds a Masters of Criminology and other academic qualifications that compliment her practical acumen.

Councillor Yvonne Weldon

Councillor Yvonne Weldon is an independent councillor for the City of Sydney and the first Aboriginal councillor in the City's 180-year history. Yvonne is a proud Wiradjuri woman. She was born and raised in the inner city of Sydney but maintains strong ties to her homelands of Cowra and the Riverina areas of New South Wales. A life-long activist, Yvonne has 30 years' experience working in key government and Aboriginal organisations driving positive reform in health, education and child protection. Yvonne also serves as Deputy Chair of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Deputy Chair of the NSW Australia Day Council and as a Board member of Domestic Violence NSW and Redfern Jarjum College. From a young age Yvonne developed a passion and commitment to bringing about positive change for Aboriginal people and communities.

Garner Clancey

Garner Clancey is an Associate Professor in Criminology. Garner has worked in the criminal justice system (NSW Department of Juvenile Justice and the NSW Police Force) for 10 years and was a crime prevention consultant for the following 10 years. During this time, Garner developed crime prevention plans for local councils; devised a resource manual for public space CCTV; delivered training to security guards, police and others in various Australian jurisdictions and evaluated various crime prevention programs. Garner has taught (and continue to teach) criminology and crime prevention courses at various universities. Garner is an Executive Member of the Australian Crime Prevention Council and Treasurer of the Australian Safe Communities Foundation.

Sam Alderton-Johnson

Sam Alderton-Johnson is the Founder and Director at Impact Policy, launched to provide social policy and digital communication services, embedding every project we deliver in a critical First Nations lens. Sam spent ten years in the Not for Profit sector. Managing local and state-wide projects for NGO’s such as PCYC NSW where he received employee of the year and the Australian Red Cross where he led the NSW Pilot into Post Release Mentoring for men exiting prison, Sam then went on to lead the Dual Diagnosis team for a community not for profit in Waterloo, Sydney. Winning an excellence in treatment award for programs and services for Aboriginal young people.

Andrea Hadaway

Andrea Hadaway is the Programs Lead at Weave Youth & Community Services. Before joining Weave, Andrea practised as a criminal and civil lawyer for 15 years, mostly representing children and young people at Legal Aid NSW, the Aboriginal Legal Service and Community Legal Centres. She worked for a number of years as part of the Youth Koori Courts at the Children's Courts at Parramatta and Surry Hills. One of the programs she leads at Weave is the Creating Futures Justice Program, which is designed to help and empower Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who have recently been released from prison, and give them every chance to create a positive future for themselves.

Penny Lamaro

Penny Lamaro is the manager at the Women’s Shelter Armidale Inc. Penny has years of experience as a youth worker. Penny is also currently the founder and youth worker at WAGS the Dog, using the unique genius of dogs to support and assist young people facing challenging life choices. Penny has experience as manager at Pathfinders, providing specialist youth homelessness support and has worked as a youth justice conference convenor for 6 years at the Department of Justice. Penny has also been a Board member with Youth Action since 2018 and Chairperson since 2021.

Kim McLoughry BA – Director, MAICD

Currently CEO of Regional Youth Support Services (RYSS). Previously Director of Parkside Ltd and Pacific Link Housing Ltd.

Since graduating from Macquarie University in 1989 Kim has worked in Government and Non-Government services, from Juvenile Justice, Education, Disability services, Youth Refuges, FaCS Child Protection through to the last 30 years working in early intervention at RYSS Inc. Her best innovative and collaborative projects to date have included: The Labyrinth Youth Café, ‘Donnisons on the Park’ restaurant a youth social enterprise, Parkside (a shopping centre sized youth multicentre), Youth Arts Warehouse (black box theatre/music studio/art room/live performance space for 250 people), THE BUS (mobile Youth Centre) and recently RYSS HQ shopfront and Central Coast ONE3ONE Youth Hub. Kim is a passionate advocate for youth social justice, innovative solutions and true believer in earlier intervention and skill building with young people- to build our future and new leaders!

Sam King

Sam King is CEO at Youth Up Front. Sam has worked at Youth Up Front for over 18 years. Sam is passionate about advocating for the needs of the Northern Sydney region. Sam has experience in partnership development, events, strategic planning, and change management. Sam is strongly connected to the local community and engages with them through being a member of the workplace learning network where Sam can provide localised solutions to youth career and transition support. Sam has 12 years of experience as chairperson at the Northern Beaches Youth Interagency, who aims to support a connected and informed community to better support the needs of young people.

Anthony Shannon

Anthony Shannon is the Director, Early Intervention, Youth, Volunteering, & Carers at the Department of Communities and Justice. Anthony leads a range of commissioning, early intervention and inclusion strategies, including Ageing, Carers, Volunteering and Disability Inclusion. Anthony has held a number of positions across FACS, over 15 years, at Head Office leading state-wide targeted earlier intervention, child protection and homelessness reforms, and at District level, managing NGO disability and community services funding, and community development and sector partnerships.

Dr Howard Sercombe

Dr Howard Sercombe is the General Secretary at Youth Work NSW. Howard is an experienced youth work practitioner, trainer, consultant, analyst, media commentator and researcher in the youth studies area. He has primary experience in street-level youth work with homeless and street-present young people, in urban settings as well as remote outback towns, and a developed academic profile with expertise ranging from social policy analysis to adolescent development to professional ethics.

Amy Conley Wright

Dr Amy Conley Wright is a professor of Child and Family Social Work and Director of the Research Centre for Children and Families at the University of Sydney, and Associate Editor of Child & Family Social Work. She leads applied research to build evidence about children and their best interests in child protection and out-of-home care systems. A key focus is the active exchange of research findings into policy and practice through substantial engagement with government and the non-governmental sector. Amy has published 4 books as well as more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and commissioned research reports, on topics including child advocacy, family support and social investment in children and youth.

Luke Rycken

Luke Rycken is the Executive Officer at the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) where he works as an advocate for young people across the country. He began his career as an orthotist/prosthetist and allied health professional supporting children and young people with disability. He is an experienced advocate and has led campaigns to improve mental health, employment and disability policies. Luke has a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Master of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics from La Trobe University. He is currently a Juris Doctor candidate at Monash University and a former editor of the Monash University Law Review.

Selim Ucar

Selim Ucar is the Acting CEO for Humanity Matters, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) committed to breaking down barriers for young people, based in South Western Sydney. He has over 22 years experience in the youth sector, with extensive focus on street-based youth work. Selim has been responsible for leading and designing programs where vulnerable, disengaged young people can build connections and experience acceptance and inclusion through access to positive support networks. Selim has been a fervent advocate on behalf of marginalised, disconnected and vulnerable young people, particularly street-frequenting youth, bringing their needs and issues to the forefront of Government policy and service delivery.

Johanna Mulholland

Johanna holds a Masters of Management in Arts Management (UTS) and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (UTS). Prior to joining ATYP, Johanna held various roles at NIDA beginning as the NIDA Open Administration Assistant in 2006 and by 2011 was the Producer/Head of Venues. In 2018 she was the Associate Producer at Shaun Parker and Company and Development Manager at Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Since 2018 she has raised a total of over $3m across a number of small- medium arts organisations. Johanna was the Acting General Manager at ATYP for one year, after which she was invited to stay on to lead Marketing, Development and Advocacy efforts, as well the establishment of ATYP's first ever permanent venue. Johanna has spent a number of years living and working overseas including a British Council-supported placement with English Touring Theatre.

Alison Becroft

Alison Becroft is a youth practice specialist at Blacktown Youth Services Association. Alison is a passionate, motivated and fierce Youth & Social Justice Activist whose professional experience in Youth Affairs began in 2012, following her study in the fields of Community & Human Services, and Case Management. Alison has injected her passion for trauma-informed, creative and innovative practice into her roles within Youth Services as a Youth Crisis support worker, Case Worker and Youth Project Coordinator; Along with her involvement as a board/collective committee member for Rosie’s Place Inc. a trauma informed counselling service for children and young people affected by violence in Mt Druitt & Blacktown NSW. Alison attributes all of her knowledge, success and motivation to the young people whose resilience, strength and courage continually inspires and guides her practice.

Kerrie Anne Dettmann

Kerrie Anne is the Community Services Manager at BEST Employment. Kerrie Anne was born in Inverell, country NSW and still resides there today. Kerrie Anne grew up in a government in housing estate, with addiction in the household and was classed as a low income family. Kerrie Anne was a disengaged young person with many barriers and left school and home at the age of 14 years old. Kerrie Anne has now worked back in the community she grew up in for past 12 years, and manages a variety of programs across the New England and North West region, many of these programs are supporting disengaged and disadvantaged youth.

Tyrone Jandey

Tyrone, General Manager Youth Action, has 15 years of experience across the Private Sector, Government and NGOs. Tyrone has experience managing teams responsible for large commercial and government projects, including NSW Government’s Our Local which included over seven government department, 5.4 million views and helped 220,000 young people access local services and events. As Manager of the Digital Communication team at ACYP, Tyrone oversaw many projects which had young people at the heart of their design, implementation and monitoring including outreach via social media channels. Tyrone was the Digital Marketing Manager at Australian Geographic and was digital producer at various advertising agencies. Tyrone has a Masters in Digital Media and a Bachelor in Fine Arts.

Louisa McKay

Louisa McKay is the Executive Leader Youth and Community at The Y NSW and a passionate believer in social justice and the power of inspired young people.Louisa believes effective policy, collaboration, evidence informed practices and putting outcomes for people first is paramount to making a real difference in communities. Louisa has a background in community development, youth work, program design and implementation, children’s services, learning and development, policy and advocacy, outcomes measurement and leadership. Louisa has extensive experience in Results Based Accountability (RBA) which has provided amazing opportunities to work with organisations in Australia and internationally.

Maria Domina Augustine

Maria Domina Augustine is a 25 year old South Indian woman and an early-career youth specialist. Her career has contributed to the mental health, disability and migrant and refugee sectors. Domina has worked with vulnerable communities both through frontline work and case management, ensuring to use best-practice frameworks and a youth-lens that is intersectional, trauma and mental-health informed. At MYAN NSW Domina's work is led by and for young people. She currently manages an emergency financial relief initiative for young people from asylum seekers and other vulnerable temporary visa holders in NSW. Domina strives for her work to be holistic, ensuring young people are supported through accessing services, community and cultural connection, and empowering young people to engage meaningfully in civic, social, cultural and political engagement by joining MYAN NSW's pathways for youth.

Annukina Warda

Annukina Warda is the executive officer at Multicultural Youth Affairs Network a state wide refugee policy organisation with focus on youth affairs. Annukina is a long-time youth specialist, policy analyst and social policy specialist with expertises in anti-racism, narrative building, social cohesion and countering violent extremism. Annukina is also an advocate for embedding queerness and transness in cultural spaces. Annukina mobilises partnerships across the community, business, big-tech, faith and government sectors as part of their work. Annukina has led and shaped co-design methodologies and program logic creation in newly emergent social policy areas. Annukina established the NSW COMPACT Alliance to unite the community to stand against so together we can stand united against fear, hate and division.

John Leha

John Leha is the CEO at Absec. John is a proud Birri Gubba, Wakka Wakka and Tongan man born and raised Sydney. He has worked extensively in Indigenous education and employment programs in government and community and is well-known as a health ambassador and founder of Sydney Deadly Runners. John is an active member of the Sydney Aboriginal community. He is a Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council member, and is involved with community through Kingsford Community Legal Centre, The Aboriginal Project with the Aids Council of New South Wales, the Indigenous Marathon Foundation and Gadigal Information Service.

Trish Connolly

Trish Connolly is the CEO at YFoundations. Trish has an extensive background in homelessness and domestic abuse policy, research service design, and service system reform within an Australian and UK context. She has worked across a broad range of sectors including the NSW State Government, UK Government, peak bodies, non-government/frontline service providers and charities. Trish is an experienced consultant having established her own business in 2016 and a new consultancy service within one of the UK’s biggest homelessness charities, Crisis UK.

Susan Watson

Susan Watson is the CEO at fams. Susan is a leader in the not-for-profit sector, bringing decades of experience working with young people, their families and in disability care across Australia and the United Kingdom. Throughout her career, Susan has led significant reform projects to boost the financial sustainability, growth and culture of the organisations and sectors she has led. Starting her career as a registered nurse before moving into senior governance and stakeholder management roles, Susan brings together both clinical and management experience, and frontline service delivery experience.

Gemma Rygate

Gemma Rygate is the CEO at the centre for volunteering. Gemma has over twenty-five years experience as an executive, manager, consultant and facilitator across the NFP, public and private sectors. Gemma held the position of Executive Director, National, of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. After completing her Bachelor of Education Degree and Master of Arts, she spent many years as a Department Head in secondary education in NSW. Gemma managed a state wide assessment team for over 10 years; she volunteered in Cambodia for over 10 years and she also manages a large pastoral holding in the state’s Central West. Since transitioning from teaching, she has held Chief Executive positions for several years and has facilitated leadership workshops for groups locally and abroad.

Daniel Barakate

Daniel Barakate, holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Work, Graduate Diploma of Social Inquiry, Masters of Policy Studies and an Executive Masters of Public Administration. Daniel has a passion for service commissioning, program design and project, program and change management and for facilitating meaningful change that empowers and improves outcomes for, and the lives of children, young people, families, and communities. Daniel is currently the Director, Commissioning and Planning, South Western Sydney at the NSW Department of Communities and Justice where he leads a talented team of system stewards building service systems and improving outcomes for the people of South Western Sydney.

Gavin Peek

Gavin Peek holds a Bachelor of Social Science, and Masters of Business Administration (Social Impact). Gavin spent 10 years as a youth and community development worker before joining the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). Gavin has managed a number of areas in DCJ including DCJ’s response to the Royal Commissioning into Institutional Responses Child Sexual Abuse; the provision of food relief and emergency hardship payments during COVID; and contracts for the DCJs social impact investment portfolio; and Community Corrections prisoner reintegration programs. Gavin is currently a/Director, Policy and Practice, Partnerships, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning. Among other things this team is responsible for Human services commissioning, contract management and procurement practice across DCJ.

Angelique Wan

Angelique Wan is the co-founder and CEO of Consent Labs, a female-founded and youth-led organisation that educates young people on consent and respectful relationships in schools and universities across Australia. Motivated by first-hand experiences of inadequate consent training, Angelique co-founded Consent Labs to ensure that all students were receiving adequate consent training as part of their broader education. To date, Consent Labs has delivered training to more than 10,000 people nationally. Angelique is driven to ensure the voices of young are people heard and everyone has the ability to make informed decisions. She is currently working on a program for regional communities, as well as one for people with intellectual disabilities and their support workers.

Megan Hall

Megan has a background in Nursing, working within the speciality area of sexual health for 3 years prior to her current role as the Health Promotion and Training Coordinator at Yfoundations. She has been with Yfoundations for just short of 3 years, successfully adapting the popular Sticky Stuff training into a webinar format in response to Covid. She has also worked over many years with young people in a variety of settings, including in regional WA as a Boarding Supervisor and an Indigenous Group Training Consultant. Prior to this, she was an Outdoor Education Instructor for a decade. Megan is a passionate and driven individual who loves to empower others. She recognises the challenges and barriers that individuals face when accessing accurate and engaging sexual health information. This drives her to provide holistic health information and practical solutions, to ensure that individuals feel well-prepared to engage in sexual health conversations with all young people. Through her experience working across government, private and not-for-profit sectors, and through raising her own teenage daughters, she has experienced these conversations from multiple perspectives.

Zizi Charida

Zizi Charida is the founder and CEO of Community minds. Zizi has worked in the community development space for more than 20 years. Community Minds was initiated and developed by Zizi, with the purpose of not just creating another community organisation, but rather a movement that would engage a diverse range of stakeholders, including children and young people, who are passionate about community solidarity and building. As a community innovator, Zizi dedicates a lot of her time in designing innovative, out of the box solutions and programs to address community challenges and create accessible platforms for participation and inclusion for people and communities that are often isolated, marginalized or excluded.

PJ O’Meara

PJ O’Meara is the Youth Community Project Officer at Camden City council. PJ has valuable experience with working with young people. Prior to PJ’s current position, PJ has worked as a case manager with Platform Youth Services to provide early intervention services to young people who are at risk of homelessness. PJ has also worked as a youth programs coordinator at YMCA.

Lakin Agnew

Lakin Agnew chairs the Regional Youth Development Officers Network in the Hunter Region. Lakin brings passion and experience which has been developed over 25 years working with young people. Lakin’s work with RYDON comprised of providing youth development officers with support, training and providing advocacy to the youth sector. Lakin has also served on the Youth Action board for many years. Lakin is passionate about choice and providing opportunities where communities and young people can grow and thrive.

Renee Cooper

Renee Cooper is a Youth Community Coordinator for the Office of regional youth. Renee started her career as a secondary school teacher in the rural town of Leeton which cemented her commitment to supporting and advocating for young people. Working in small close-knit communities has allowed Renee to build her appreciation for the importance of developing and investing in community to ensure that all young people have an opportunity for a fulfilling future. Renee holds a variety of roles including being a team leader and community engagement officer for Uniting NDIS. And is the local area coordinator of Uniting NSW. Renee aims to promote social inclusion in the community to ensure that everyone has the same chance and experiences in life.

Jain Moralee

Jain Moralee is the Co-chair of Twenty10, Australia's largest and longest running LGBTIQA+ youth organisation, working primarily with 12-25 year old people in New South Wales. With a background in Arts and Screen Production, Jain was previously Executive Director of Underbelly Arts and Queer Screen here in Sydney and prior to that worked at Screen Australia supporting Australian screen practitioners finance and promote projects and international markets and festivals. Jain remains a passionate screen and arts Producer.

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