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


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

Katerina Dandanis*

Katerina has been a member of YACVic's Board since April 2016. She is a Lawyer at Allens, having graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 2017 and a Bachelor of Science in 2015. As a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Katerina completed the Foundations of Directorship course in 2018.

Katerina passionately advocates for equal access and opportunity for all young people in Victoria. Her commitment to young people, particularly young people with disabilities, has grown through her involvement in the steering committee of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service between 2012 and 2017.


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

Tessa Jenkins*

Tessa, currently works for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) in her hometown of Moe. She is a part of the Latrobe Youth Space Governance Committee. Tessa is a passionate advocate for equal access to education, transport, health services & employment. Living in a regional town is the reason she is particularly interested in issues faced by young people living in rural Victoria.

After leaving school she worked studied and volunteered in the community services sector.

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

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.

Jenni Furby

Jenni Furby is the Manager of Youth Services at Wayss in Dandenong, one of the opening door access points for young people who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge working with young people from a diverse background with complex needs and has prior involvement in a consumer driven organisation.

Her work experience consists of over a decade in the Alcohol and other Drugs Sector and a number of years in Youth Homelessness. Since 2014 Jenni has held Managerial Roles in Youth Specific Programs.

Holding relevant tertiary qualifications, including a Graduate Diploma in Community Sector Management, Jenni is extremely passionate about ensuring the voices of young people are heard and advocated for due to her own lived experience as a young person and her drive for making changes for the clients she provides a service to.

*Denotes young person