Student Engagement Officer
From some of our amazing partners and speakers here at Youth Leadership Academy Australia - here’s some of the future-making ideas we can’t wait to share with students all over the country in our 2022 event series.
From the woman who has interviewed the likes of Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Billie Jean-King, and Condoleezza Rice, Holly Ransom knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a world-class leader and decision-maker. She says it’s all about keeping your eyes on the horizon - on the highest goal - and acknowledging that no journey to greatness will come without some discomfort. People who seek to push for change will encounter resistance from the status quo, and the only way to overcome these challenges and obstacles is to lean into them, accept the temporary discomfort they may cause, and to keep moving forwards. Holly doesn’t take no for an answer - coming onto stage with the message for young people that if you walk past injustice, you tell the world it’s okay. A passionate visionary and advocate for positive social change, we can’t wait to welcome Holly to our 2022 event series.
Nasir Sobhani is a comeback king - emerging from rehabilitation for drug addiction, he turned his whole life around with the help of his family, dedicating himself to the art of barbering. Now, Nasir spends his free time on the streets of Melbourne, offering fresh cuts to homeless and disadvantaged individuals for free. He’s a believer in the fact that a fresh cut can mean a fresh start - a life-changing opportunity for every person. His organisation, The Streets Barber, is encouraging Australians to step outside of their comfort zone and make more meaningful conversation - looking past the immediate perception of a person and understanding that each human has a purpose on this planet. Breaking barriers, fostering connection, and crushing stigma, we’re super excited to hear Nasir’s story at our upcoming events.
Ronni Kahn saw the impact of food waste firsthand when working in the events business. Concerned at the contradiction of tonnes of food being wasted in a country where five and half million people experience food insecurity every year, Ronni garnered support from her community and industry to lobby governments to change policy surrounding food disposal, and increase the types of food which could be rescued by charities to share with those less fortunate. Over fifteen years later, her organisation, OzHarvest, is working to halve food waste in Australia by 2030 by redirecting it to a good cause. Ronni understands the impact communities can have when they come together around a common problem they identify. Notably, her industry background in events meant she was able to refocus an entire sector on the path towards an impactful goal - ending poverty and combating environmental degradation. As Australian Local Hero of the Year, Ronni is harnessing the power of committed communities of volunteers and changemakers to alter the course of history and combat waste.
Hunter Johnson is supporting young men through a new era of masculinity through his organisation, The Man Cave. He’s a firm believer that our biggest strengths are in our vulnerabilities - and that meaningful communication, connection, and emotional intelligence are indispensable skills of the 21st Century. Encouraging young men - and everyone - to have frank, honest, and open conversations about mental health, privilege, and respect, Hunter is helping to build a future of equal opportunity and support for all young people today to thrive in. The Man Cave is prioritising genuine human relationships in a fractured society, and building a healthy culture of masculinity, and we can’t wait to have Hunter repping emotional intelligence and connection at our 2022 event series.
Daniel Flynn is running Australian social enterprise and personal care brand Thankyou with a big goal in mind - flipping consumerism on its head to end extreme poverty through the power of consumer choices. Thankyou’s No Small Plan aims to get world product leaders Unilever and P&G to partner with their brand in channelling profit from product sales into local projects around the world which lift people out of poverty. Building a company which aims to radically change business as usual from the age of 19, Daniel knows a few things about aiming high and dreaming big. Having run successful campaigns to get 7-Eleven, Coles and Woolworths to commit to stocking Thankyou products and contributing to their community projects, he understands that big ideas get you places, and that only the most ambitious and actionable plans will be able to change deeply broken systems. We’re so excited to hear Daniel’s knowledge at our 2022 events soon.
Marcus Wong has a gift for photography and filmmaking, capturing unique human experiences through his art form. But he’s also a passionate humanitarian - and an amazing example of using your talents and passions for social progress. Spending extended periods in Uganda, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, among others, Marcus creates moving documentaries to uplift the voices which so often go unheard. His ethos is that you can't care about something you've never seen - and thus that media has a crucial role in humanitarian movements. Marcus epitomises ‘Ikigai’ - or ‘the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for’. We can’t wait to hear his incredible stories of bringing his talents to the social impact space at our 2021 events.
Mitch Wallis has endured the most testing challenges of mental illness and is in a continual process of healing. He says that some of the key factors in his recovery have been having the space to be radically vulnerable - to speak the truth of how he was feeling and how he was coping, and in turn, being able to be understood. He’s been working with his organisation, Heart On My Sleeve, to empower people to have difficult mental health conversations, with an aim of intervening early to treat mental illness and ill health. The organisation is changing the way Australians view mental health - by helping them be real with what they feel, build authentic connections, and removing internal barriers which prevent people from seeking mental health support. We’re super excited to welcome Mitch in our 2022 event series to encourage young people to choose courage in speaking truth to their stories, and bravely wearing their hearts on their sleeves.
Founding Youth Leadership Academy at just 15, Wil knows that grit and determination can move a young person to accomplish extraordinary things. Wil believes that age is only a barrier if you believe it to be - and that young people offer limitless potential for growth and a unique opportunity to offer their perspective to the world. Growing YLAA to an audience of oevr 10,000 students in four years, at the age of just 19, Wil offers inspiration and insight to young people everywhere that if you are passionate and determined enough to defy expectations and accomplish your dreams, nothing can stop you. Wil will be leading our 2022 event series around the country and we're super excited to be able to share his story and inspiration with all of our students.