YACVic is governed by a volunteer board of governance that always includes four young people under the age of 26, as stipulated by the YACVic Constitution. The Board comprises three officers (chairperson, deputy chairperson and treasurer) along with four general Board members, including a rural representative, who are elected by YACVic’s members at the annual general meeting (AGM). At the first meeting after the AGM the board members decide the officer roles for the coming year.

YACVic’s Board guides the strategic direction of the organisation under its governance framework while the chief executive officer manages YACVic’s day-to-day activities and decisions, and reports back to the Board. The Board is the ultimate authority for the successful operation of YACVic.

Board members

Chairperson

Kerrie Loveless

With close to twenty years’ experience in the youth and community sector, Kerrie has worked and volunteered within a range of community organisations, as well as state and local government. These roles have been located in both inner city and urban fringe communities and have included running group programs, providing individual support, developing policy and managing services.

Kerrie is a passionate advocate for the inclusion of young people in all aspects of civic and community life.

Deputy Chairperson

Louisa Ellum

Louisa is currently the National Schools Operations Manager at headspace  and the former CEO of the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS Institute) and Bayside Glen Eira Kingston Local Learning and Employment Network (BGK LLEN). Her work at the BGK LLEN focused on significant local, state and national initiatives specific to students with disability, young people in flexible learning, applied learning and pathways and LGBTIQ+ young people. She is also currently undertaking a PhD in education at UTAS.

Louisa brings a unique skill base that draws on problem solving, innovative approaches and the ability to synthesise and analyse research, evidence and outcomes. Louisa thrives on the building of significant relationships between organisations to create a more socially inclusive and economically productive Australia.

Treasurer

Benson Saulo

Benson Saulo leads with insight and impact from experience that he has develop throughout his working life from across Australian corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors. In 2011, Benson was appointed Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations. Benson is the founding director of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy (NIYLA), which engages young Indigenous Australians to develop and drive youth-led social action campaigns. 

Benson is currently Head of Community at Australian Unity. Additionally, Benson manages the Australian Unity Foundation which supports charities across Australia to increase their impact in areas of community capability building.

Benson’s work has been acknowledged through various national awards including finalist for Young Australian of the Year and the Youth Human Rights Medal.

Rural Representative

Bev Hoffmann

After completing an Associate Diploma in photography and theatre studies and a Bachelor of education, Bev went to the Northern Territory to work as a nanny and then as a teacher in five Aboriginal community schools across the Barkly Tableland. Since returning to north east Victoria in 1999, she has been employed in a variety of roles in the education, health, local government, community development and human services sectors.

In 2011, Bev completed a Master of youth health and education management, which has provided her with a strong theory-into-practice view of the multi-layered circumstances of young people and their families. She’s been in her current role as CEO of North East Local Learning and Employment Network since 2015.

Independent member

Paul Turner

Paul joined the YACVic Board in February 2014, and has been an active participant since then. From 2014 to 2016 he was the Rural Representative and from 2017 he has been a co-opted board member.  He has extensive strategic planning and board experience, including reporting to a board himself for 15 years and acting as a board member for two not-for-profit organisations over an extended period of time.

Paul is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has training and extensive experience in risk management. Paul worked in educational leadership roles in schools for most of his career, including 15 years as Principal of a school with a strong youth empowerment philosophy.  More recently he has been working in the community service sector, and since 2013 as Youth Services Strategy Manager for YMCA Victoria, responsible for strategic advice to the organisation on implementing its 'empowering young people' agenda, including leading its 'Youth Voice' initiatives.

Executive Members

Katerina Dandanis*

Katerina works at a commercial law firm in Melbourne, having graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (honours) from Monash University in 2017.  In 2015, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science (physiology) from Monash University. She has also completed a Certificate III in active volunteering in 2014. Katerina brings skills of organisation and diligence, as well as the ability to articulate issues in a clear, concise and persuasive manner.

Katerina has a passion for advocating for equal access and opportunity for all young people in Victoria. This commitment to young people, particularly young people with disabilities, has grown through her involvement in the steering committee of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service since 2012. 

Natasha Ritchie*

Natasha is the managing director of Titjimbat (Teachabout Inc.), a youth-led not-for-profit organisation that facilitates community programs in remote communities in the Northern Territory during school holiday periods. She has Bachelors of Law and International Relations and a pre-masters thesis focusing on human rights law. Natasha is a member of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights Indigenous and Women and Girls subcommittees, and in 2017 was named a Young Social Pioneer by the Foundation for Young Australians.

Natasha is passionate about supporting and creating equal opportunities for all young people across Victoria, and she is currently working with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).

Jacob Mildren*

Jacob, from Wodonga in North East Victoria, is a proud advocate of young people, especially those in regional areas. Jacob has assisted and led many youth community programs. He co-founded the Border Leadership Forum which aims to grow leadership in the North East Victorian community.

Jacob is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Policy Studies at the Australian National University, where he has co-founded a scholarship to assist regional young people getting to university. Jacob was named Wodonga Young Citizen of the Year in 2016 for his ongoing work with youth and the greater community. 

Kareem El-Ansary*

Kareem is a passionate advocate for young people. He has worked for a number of youth-run organisations across Victoria and is currently CEO of the Asia-Pacific Youth Organisation (APYO), a non-profit organisation seeking to enhance youth participation in policy making across the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to this role, he worked with Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s largest youth-run organisation and National Director of the ‘Live Below the Line’ campaign.

Kareem graduated holds a Bachelor of Arts (political science, international relations and communications) from the University of Melbourne. In 2018 he was named a ‘global shaper’ by the World Economic Forum. Kareem has a deep passion for empowering young people, building their capacity and affording them equal access to opportunities. 

Lauren Oliver

Lauren is driven by the belief that the value of young people as powerful social actors is woefully underestimated, particularly those young people experiencing disadvantage. She believes their experiences are some of the most important for society to understand in order to disrupt cycles of disadvantage.

A social anthropologist by training, she is a youth worker by vocation and compulsion. Throughout a career in Australia and overseas, Lauren has established a reputation as an unapologetic advocate for exchange and partnership with young people with lived experience. Some of her greatest mentors have been young people and the work she does today through the Berry Street Childhood Institute continues to be been driven and informed by their direction.

Lauren is a 2016 Churchill Fellow. Her fellowship took her to the UK, USA and Nicaragua exploring examples of young people using lived experience to drive social change.

*Denotes young person