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The current YDA Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with long-standing and significant experience and leadership in the youth field.

YDA Governance

HOME Colleen Chen Director

Colleen Chen is a co-founder of Interns Australia and is currently the President of the Young Workers Centre, a community legal centre for young workers who want to learn more about their rights at work or who need assistance in resolving workplace issues. Colleen's interest in employment issues began when her own experience as a young worker exposed her to the precarious nature of the modern workplace and her passion for advocating on behalf of marginalised workers. Colleen has presented her research on emerging workplace issues broadly, most notably at the International Labor Organization in Geneva. In 2015 she was awarded the National Youth Employment Award by the Department of Education and Training for her work raising awareness of youth employment issues in Australia. Colleen has a Bachelor of Environments (Urban Planning and Design) from Melbourne University and is currently a Paralegal in Commercial and Project litigation at Slater and Gordon Lawyers and is on the tail end of completing her Juris Doctor at Melbourne University.

HOME Associate Professor David Mackenzie Director

David is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University. David has a strong record of research and development on issues associated with youth issues and youth policy and is internationally recognized for his work on homelessness and youth. He is the author and co-author of a number of significant reports on Youth Homelessness. David was the original founder of Youth Development Asutralia and he is the current Chair of the YDA Board. Over the past 10 years, David has served on a number of government advisory committees and taskforces – the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness, the National SAAP Data and Research Advisory Committee, the National SAAP Information Services Committee, the JPET Needs Committee and the Victorian Integrated Data Project Committee. David was one of the NYC Commissioners in 2007/08. David is one of Asutralia’s leading researchers on homelessness and disadvantage.

HOME Dr. May Lam Director

Dr May Lam has worked for the past 35 years in the education, employment and community sectors, with a focus since 1992 on policy, research and strategy for employment and social inclusion programs. She worked at the peak body Jobs Australia for 14 years in roles as Policy Manager and Deputy CEO. She has also worked at the National Employment Services Association, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and Social Traders. In the UK she worked for Ingeus and on secondment to the Department of Work and Pensions. These roles have typically included research, public policy consultation, and advocacy. Some roles involved analysing and advising on government tenders, others involved development support for job-creation programs and social enterprises. That work history has generated a practical understanding of how government policy, program design, procurement and performance measurement relate to each other and are implemented, and the opportunities and obstacles this represents for the people who use and choose public services. May served as Chair at Writers Victoria from 2013-2016.

HOME Mr. Keith Waters Director

Keith has worked in community services for over 30 years. He held the role of CEO, Anglicare Canberra Goulburn between 2005 – 2009. Prior to this he served as the Director of The Salvation Army’s youth, drug and alcohol, homeless, crisis, care and protection, domestic violence, prison and courts, emergency relief and disability services in metropolitan Melbourne, for 5 years. This involved managing over 150 programs and 1200 full time employees. In addition to being a leading NGO Executive Manager, he has pioneered numerous innovative programs for disadvantaged young people over the past 20 years and has been the author and co-author of a number of landmark reports which have impacted youth policy. Keith has a Masters in Innovation and Service Management and is currently completing an MBA.

HOME Dr. Michael Coffey Director

Michael Coffey is the Chief Executive Officer at Y Foundations. He began work with Y Foundations in 1988, and has since positioned himself as a leading national voice on the issue of youth homelessness. Michael holds a doctorate from the University of Technology, Sydney. Under Michael’s leadership, Y Foundations has developed into a great force promoting discussion and action on the issue of youth homelessness within New South Wales and Australia. Michael works closely with elected officials, policy experts, and Y Foundations’ members to foster education, cooperation, and action within the field. Michael is a member of the NSW Premiers Council on Homelessness, the current Chair of the National Coalition for Youth Housing and sits on the board of the New South Wales Council of Social Services (NCOSS).

HOME Dr. Tim Corney Director

Dr. Tim Corney, Ph.D. was for many years the manager of the Incolink Foundation. In this role, Tim had responsibility for developing the strategic direction of the Foundation and overseeing the implementation of projects. These projects cover a range of topics such as suicide prevention, life skills, youth mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drug education, and financial awareness. Tim has been active in the youth sector for some 20 years and taught youth workers at RMIT and VUT. Current Tim is an adjunct member of academic staff in the youth work course at Victoria University. However, his main work is as Dean of students at XXX College, Melbourne University.

HOME Dr. Adam Steen Director

Adam is a Professor of Accounting at the Charles Sturt University in New South Wales. He has undertaken consultancy assignments for bodies such as the Commonwealth Government, World Bank, Government of Indonesia and other local and global organisations. After experience at a number of leading Australian and International Business Schools and the World Bank, Adam has served as a senior academic providing leadership in teaching, research and administration. His research has been published in leading international journals and is interdisciplinary in nature, applying Accounting and Finance-based methodologies to questions and issues in diverse areas including Corporate Governance, International Business, Tourism, Human Resource Management, Unemployment and Homelessness. He is an active member and Fellow of CPA Australia. Adam has strong links with the business community in Australia but also a deep interest in issues of disadvantaged and what can be done to overcome disadvantage.

HOME Major David Eldridge AM Director

David has been a key figure in The Salvation Army both in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has worked for over 30 years, in a variety of senior social policy and programme development roles, including 15 years at the Crossroads Youth Network and 12 years as Director of the Brunswick Community Programme. David has also been a Senior Adviser to the Commonwealth Government on key social policy issues particularly in relation to young people and has headed the Prime Ministerial Youth Homelessness Taskforce in 1996-7 and the Youth Pathways Acton Taskforce in 2000-2001. He has contributed to the delivery of several ground breaking policy reports. Also, David has been influential in the development of employment policy and was a Board Member of the Employment Services Regulatory Authority (ESRA), which oversaw the development of a case management approach in employment services. He has been a board member of the Enterprise and Career Education Foundation and the Foundation for Young Australians.