HomeWhat We DoYouth EmpowermentYoung CEO for a day

YMCA's Young CEO for a Day is a nationwide initiative enabling young people (aged 18 to 30) a chance
to be empowered in leadership, and have their voices heard on issues that are important to them. Our Young CEOs "took over" YMCAs Australia-wide on Friday 13th April, 2018, coinciding with National Youth Week celebrations. The Young YMCA CEO initiative again highlighted a range of issues affecting young people, with the leading issue this year being youth mental health. The program reflects the YMCA's purpose, to empower inspired young people to positively impact their communities.

Young CEOs for a Day 2018

​YMCA Australia, Georgie Broinowski

YMCA Australia's Young CEO for a day Georgie Broinowski, a 24-year old from Sydney, made the leap from being a marketing assistant for a company that delivers nutritious meals to people with disabilities, to a chief executive; at least for one day. Georgie Broinowski took up the volunteer position as National CEO of the YMCA for the day. Georgie said she was excited to have the opportunity to experience being the Australian CEO of a global organisation.

"I enjoyed developing my leadership skills and providing suggestions on how the YMCA can improve opportunities and experiences for young people in Australia," said Georgie.


Georgie Broinowski meeting with Melinda Crole, CEO YMCA Australia at Manningham YMCA, on April 13, 2018.

YMCA Victoria, Matt Harman

Matt Harman took a break from his duties as a School Programs Leader at YMCA Casey RACE and stepped into the role of CEO for YMCA Victoria. Matt is passionate about the issue of mental health and wants to do something about it.

"We are looking to create and develop a support program where young people who look after a parent with a mental illness can de-stress, learn and grow," explained Matt.

"One of my favourite parts of the day was hearing about how the organisation plans to integrate young people into leadership roles and bridge the gap between younger and older staff members," said Matt.

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Peter Burns, YMCA Victoria CEO with Matt Harman,
Young CEO for a day.

YMCA Ballarat, Mikaela Graham

Improving youth mental health and well-being was top of Mikaela Graham's agenda at YMCA Ballarat.

Ms Graham made sure to lead by example on Friday.

The 29-year-old led a series of meetings to try and identify gaps across the city in youth mental health. Ms Graham also looked over project briefs to make sure ways to improve mental health was a consideration.

"I've really wanted to have a mental health focus... I'm really keen to make a lasting impact. After today, hopefully these discussions will carry forward," she said.

mikaelagraham ballarat.jpgMikaela Graham,Young CEO for a day, YMCA Ballarat.


YMCA Bendigo, Tom Matthyssen

CEO for a Day Tom Matthyssen said it was an opportunity to be involved in the future direction of the YMCA. "I love what the YMCA does," he said.

"I want to be the person that can help lead change and advocate for our statement of empowering and inspiring young people. I have a passion for working with young people," Mr Matthyssen's usual role is working within child services for the organisation.

"We have a shared purpose and it's important for every single employee in the organisation that you have a sense of purpose for being here and are directly involved with the organisation," he added.

Tom Matthyseen, Young CEO for a day, YMCA Bendigo
with Jane Robson, CEO.

YMCA NSW, Sam Harris

Meet Sam Harris, an inspired young person who has been selected as YMCA NSW 'Young CEO for the Day'.
"I'm 18 years old, originally from Port Macquarie on NSW's Mid-North Coast, but have recently moved to Newcastle to study Law and Social Science, majoring in Politics and International Relations. I was a participant at the 2017 YMCA NSW Youth Parliament, at which I was in the Environment and Heritage Committee, as well as the Manager of Oppositon Business. Some of my big passions are swimming, at which I am a state gold medalist, LGBTQIA+ mental and sexual health, the mental and physical health of young people in Australia, and finally, equal education for all children in Australia." 

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YMCA Manningham, Elliott Batt

Our Young CEO for the Day, Elliott Batt, stepped into the role at YMCA Manningham. Tours of Youth Services, the new Mullum Mullum stadium and Aquarena made for a busy morning, before chairing a meeting with the Executive Team to pitch his idea for a new youth app. He was later joined by YMCA Australia CEO, Melinda Crole, and the national Young CEO for the Day, Georgie, for a great discussion around mental health and how 'The Y' is working as a truly consultative, youth-inclusive service to address wellbeing across Australia.

Elliott Batt, Young CEO for a day Manningham YMCA,
chairing a meeting with the Executive Team.

YMCA WA - Kuda Magwa

My name is Kudakwashe Munyaradzi Magwa, but you can just call me Kuda. I was born and partly raised in Zimbabwe. I moved to South Africa when I was 13 where I lived for 5 years before I moved to the Maldives for 1 year. I have been living in Kalgoorlie WA for 2 years. I work at the YMCA as a Youth Engagement Officer/OSHC Educator/Term Programs Instructor/ Customer Service Officer. I always knew I wanted to help others but was never quite sure where to start until I joined the YMCA team. Implementing values such as Honesty, Respect, Care and Responsibility, values that are not only important to me but the Y as well, I have managed to fulfil my dreams. Click here to see the video of Kuda's day.

Kuda Magwa, was Young CEO for a day with YMCA WA
along with Carole Kickett (below).

YMCA WA - Carole Kickett

Carole Kickett is 19 years old and is passionate about getting opportunities for young people, professional and social in the community.

She works at Narrogin Leisure Centre in WA’s South West and gained employment with the Y through the Swim for Life program.

Carole Kickett, Young CEO for a Day, YMCA WA
(along with Kuda Magwa (above).

YMCA Whittlesea - Jonathon Santamaria

I am 26 and my role is the Director of YMCA Global Study. I am passionate about empowering and mobilising the young staff and volunteers at YMCAs around the country. I believe that our best chance to show how much the YMCA believes in the power of inspired young people is to mobilise our young staff and volunteers, by creating places and spaces to share knowledge, IP and ideas across associations and communities.
For my CEO of the Day project I led a project management workshop to highlight the benefits of meeting regularly as an organisation, then we worked in small groups to reinvigorate some of the projects that have been sitting on the backburner, utilising the skills and knowledge from across different departments.
My hope is that these workshops will become part of what we do at YMCA Whittlesea and that our younger staff will be encouraged and empowered to attend and participate in the process, to enable us to leverage the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm that is laying dormant within our association and communicate more effectively and celebrate our wins more frequently.

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Jonathon Santamaria - Young CEO for the day for YMCA Whittlesea.

YMCA Brisbane - Alexandra Ainslie

Meet the Young CEO for YMCA Brisbane, Alexandra Ainslie. Ali is an aspiring social worker, who works closely with our young people at The Space North Lakes, and as a receptionist at our fitness centres.

Through her background in social work, Ali believes in the power of inspired young people, and is currently developing a program for young people to be more connected, voice their concerns, and work together to generate innovative solutions to many of today's problems.

Alexandra Ainslie, Young CEO for a day,with
Alan Bray, YMCA Brisbane CEO.

YMCA SA – Riley Giersch

19 year-old Aquadome swim teacher and lifeguard, Riley Giersch, attended the Aquadome since his early childhood as an active member of Playford Aquatic Club, before becoming a lifeguard in 2016 and working at Williamstown outdoor pool. He completed his Austswim qualification and started as a swim teacher at the Aquadome eight months ago. The Gawler teenager has progressed to now teach up to 120 students in 19 lessons a week, as well as lifeguarding and undertaking frontline duties as Swim School Specialist at the centre in Elizabeth.

“The chance to experience what it’s like to oversee such a big and diverse organisation from a young person’s point of view is exciting. It’s also an opportunity to learn how to better communicate and handle stress, which are areas I need to work on.”

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Riley Giersch, Young CEO for a Day, YMCA SA.

YMCA Hobart – Steph Wiggins

24 year old Steph Wiggins is passionate about providing opportunities for everyone, no matter their ability, age or socio-economic status. She believes that we all have a right to basic health and wellness as well as opportunities to develop our skills and she would like to see the Y's reach extend to everyone. Steph is currently the Customer and Member Care Co-ordinator at YMCA Hobart.

On the day she met with YMCA Hobart's board president to discuss an opportunity to involve businesses and schools in the local area in a program to provide opportunities for young people to develop skills and knowledge that will help to make them employable - both hands on skills as well as being ‘interview ready’ i.e. to be presentable within an interview and have a professional resume, etc. The remainder of her day was spent getting to know more about the YMCA internally and making connections with senior staff. She will continue her work meeting with other centres and businesses/schools to develop this ‘mentorship’ program.

Steph Wiggins, YMCA Hobart's Young
CEO for a Day.

Young CEOs for a Day 2017                

YMCAs around Australia were led by young people, aged 18 to 30, in March, 2017. Two of our young CEOs were also appointed as State Ministers for Youth for the day – in Brisbane, South Australia – and one in Victoria shadowed the existing Youth Affairs Minister.

Our Young YMCA CEOs across the country are passionate about a range of issues affecting children and young people including unemployment, homelessness, suicide and mental health issues, safety, obesity, disability, disadvantage and affordable/accessible training courses for youth.

For more information please contact YMCA's Youth Empowerment Coordinator, Steven Dupon on Steven.Dupon@ymca.org.au​​.

​​​​​​​YMCA WA

Alannah Hall

YMCA WA has appointed Alannah Hall, aged 19, as their CEO for a Day, this Friday, March 31, which marks the beginning of national youth week. Allana is passionate about drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, suicide and mental health issues.

"Firstly I want to touch on mental health issues as so many young people struggle with mental health problems. Secondly I'd like to address homelessness in the community especially within youth, because I find it really sad and confronting, and thirdly drug and alcohol abuse in young people. I'd also like to discuss the exciting possibilities for young people with employment."    ​​

Alannah Hall.png


Maverick Knight

Maverick Knight is taking on the role of Young CEO of the Day for YMCA Manningham this Friday. He is passionate about young people and getting them engaged and connected in the community and being a strong voice. His issue for the day is more affordable training for young people in the Manningham area. He will be meeting with the Mayor of Manningham City Council as part of his big day. 

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Carli Mitchell

​Carli Mitchell is 23 years old, and works with the YMCA at the Ballarat Specialist School (as 2IC and lead communicator). Carli has been nominated as YMCA Ballarat's Young CEO of the Day this Friday.

Carli says "I have gained a huge passion for working with young disadvantaged children and children with disabilities, the YMCA has given me so many opportunities not only to help other people in the community but to grow as a person myself!"​

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Carla Steele

Carla will be YMCA Whittlesea's CEO for a day this Friday. She is passionate about making a positive impact in her community. Her focus on the day will be to assist staff with their personal health and wellbeing, including 'down time' at the end of the week. She is also initiating a fundraiser for YMCA's Open Doors program in her local community.

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Matt Roussis

"I am so excited for the opportunity to be CEO of the YMCA NSW for a day. Not many 18 year olds get to lead a much-loved movement like the Y," Roussis said.

"I am looking forward to upholding the organisation's core values while having my own say and providing suggestions about how YMCA NSW can further improve opportunities and experiences for young people.​

"I think it is great because it gives the youth an opportunity to actually get an experience in such a high level role at such a young age," he said.

Matt Roussis 1.jpg


Amanda Gailiss

As YMCA Australia's Young CEO for the day, Amanda Gailiss, who is the current YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament Youth Governor, will also shadow the Victorian Minister for Youth Affairs.

Amanda will have the opportunity to raise an issue she's passionate about and use the organisation's networks and operations to create positive change in her community. Amanda is passionate about mental health issues, and is calling for mental health first aid in each YMCA in Australia, to equip YMCA employees to deal with people during a mental health crisis, who may be suicidal, or experiencing a traumatic situation.

Amanda has been passionately debating areas of interest for over six months with Tom Elliott on a regular weekly radio spot on 3AW Radio. These areas include the refugee policy and tackling drugs, recommending that Australia follow Portugal's model of tackling drug use, offering therapy or community service orders rather than being charged.​



Jayden Parsons​

Jayden will be addressing Youth Cohesiveness and connectivity amongst the wider operations within the YMCA Brisbane. He wants to ensure that staff are aware of the larger contribution they are making to the success of the YMCA and its youth empowerment mission.

He has been involved in the YMCA seven years now, starting as a participant with the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament, as a member of the executive of that program and more recently took on the role of Youth Development Coordinator at the YMCA Brisbane.

Catherine Cassells, YMCA Brisbane's Youth Governor will be Acting Minister for Youth on the day.

Caption: Jayden Parsons (left) with Mathai Joshi, executive member of the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (right)​

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Caidie Swayne

Caidie is a young lady that is deeply passionate about the growing number of young people who are disengaged with community, families and education resulting in increase of crime, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm and low socio economic environments.

Caidie and a team of young staff at YMCA Geelong have developed a program which helps the youth find the spark; the purpose they have and the reason for connecting with others but most importantly we seek to empower them to be the best they can be.

Caidie has been with YMCA Geelong for 2 ½ years after joining as a trainee customer service officer.  She has grown as an individual and developed  numerous life skills and business skills in this time and never shy's away for putting her hand up to take on a challenge not matter how enormous it may seem. She bring people along the journey and listens to their needs. Caidie now oversees the co-ordination of a 1200 member gymnastics club and her true passion is in the youth development space.

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Anthony Secoulidis

Meet Anthony Secoulidis who will be stepping up to be CEO of YMCA Victoria for a day.
As Young CEO for the Day at YMCA Victoria, Anthony will step into the corner office - meeting with members of YMCA Victoria's Board and senior leaders to work on staff and volunteer engagement strategies. Peter Burns, YMCA Victoria's CEO, will be covering Anthony's Lifeguard shift at the pool!

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Danielle Sayers and Tayla Falconer ​

YMCA Grampians Region has appointed two young CEOs for a Day on Friday, March 31, Tayla Falconer and Danielle Sayers - both 18 years old. Tayla is passionate about health and fitness in young people and wants to see a change in obesity levels in the next generation. Danielle has a passion for children's safety and will be developing a project around education our children, staff and parents/caregivers about road safety. Go girls!​

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Maddee Knill

Maddee is 19 years old and she ha​s been involved with the YMCA for a number of years. She first participated in Youth Parliament in 2014, then returned as part of the volunteer Taskforce in 2016 and 2017.​

"I would love to see what it is like to be a CEO. The title is always something that seems out of reach as it is generally a male dominated field. I would love to achieve the confidence to continue to aim high," Maddee said.​​

Appurva Raaj, YMCA SA’s Youth Parliament Youth Governor, h​as been appointed as the Minister for Youth in SA as well on the day.​​

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Megan Shellie

Megan is the Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, a newly established committee to be the youth voice of the Y. She is really passionate about improving the lives of young people, through education and employment. 

Megan said "I'm very honoured and excited to be YMCA Canberra Young CEO for the Day. The YAC is particularly focused this year on three key areas, reducing the cost of living for young people, addressing climbing rates of young people suffering 'social and study' related stress and giving young people the employment and job skills they need for 21st century jobs.  I'm using the opportunity of CEO for a Day to spread the word about YAC, the work we're doing, the opportunities this presents for staff at the Y and of course, the experiences our staff have of working with young people, and in many cases being young people themselves!"

"The opportunity to be CEO for a Day is more than just sitting in a comfy chair and lobbying for better snacks in the staff room. It's an opportunity to engage in the future of the YMCA, and speak about the issues that matter, to help our young people," Megan said.



Premier for the day - Catherine Bio.jpg ​​​

Catherine Cassells, YMCA Brisbane’s Youth Parliament Youth Governor, has been appointed Acting Minister for Youth for a Day in Brisbane.


Amanda Gailiss, Y​​​MCA Victoria's Youth Parliament Youth Governor will shadow the Victorian Minister for Youth Affairs in Melbourne.

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Raaj, ​​YMCA SA’s Youth Parliament Youth Governor, has been appointed as the Minist​e​​r​ for​ Yout​​h in Adel​aide.​
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