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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 Mr. Keith Waters Director

Keith has worked in the not for profit sector 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, 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. He is currently the Executive Officer of both YDA and the National Youth Commission into Youth Employment and Transitions. Keith has a Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Service Management and is currently completing an MBA.

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 Colleen Chen Director

Colleen Chen is a founding member of Interns Australia, the peak body representing interns and students undertaking work placements in Australia. Colleen has presented her research on emerging workplace issues broadly, notably on a study of collective actions to advance the rights interns at the International Labor Organisation. Colleen was awarded the National Youth Award by the Department of Education and Training and was named Law Student of the Year by the Law Institute of Victoria for her significant contributions to youth employment advocacy. Colleen was a board member of the Australian Institute of Employment Rights and was the inaugural President of the Young Workers Centre, a community legal centre assisting young workers in Victoria.  Colleen holds a Bachelor of Environments/Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne and currently works in the public service. 

HOME Dr. May Lam Director

Dr May Lam is Research Director at Marist180, a youth-focused not-for-profit organisation based in Western Sydney. Shas worked for the past 35 years in the education, employment and community sectors on policy, research and strategy for employment and social inclusion programs. This included 14 years at the peak body Jobs Australia, where she was Policy Manager and Deputy CEO. Other roles were at the National Employment Services Association, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and Social Traders and in the UK, Ingeus and the Department of Work and Pensions. These roles have typically focused on research with a practical outcome for policy, program design, procurement and social impact measurement. May served as Chair at Writers Victoria from 2013-2016.

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. Adam Steen Director

Adam Steen is a Professor of Practice at the Deakin University in Victoria and Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide. 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 head of the Academic Community of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) 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 Dr. Tim Corney Director

Dr Tim Corney, Ph.D. is currently Associate Professor in the College of Education at Victoria University and Head of Educational Research in the Institute of Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities. He was for many years the executive 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, such as youth suicide prevention, life skills, youth mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drug education, and financial awareness for young working people. Tim has been active in the youth sector for some 30 years and taught youth workers at RMIT, ACU and VU. He was formerly the Dean of Queens College, and remains a Senior Fellow of the Graduate School of Education and the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne.

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.