Introducing Board Members and Farewelling Conrad Guerra

Farewell to Conrad Guerra

Conrad joined the Youth Opportunities Board at founder Peter Marshman’s request “back in the Burns for Blinds days”. Conrad was instrumental in setting up our finance and governance structures in the very beginning. Conrad left the Board due to other work, family and philanthropic priorities but, six years ago, Peter asked him to come back “just for 12 months!”. Suffice to say we have been very grateful for this extended service and commitment by Conrad to our cause. Conrad is a life member of Youth Opportunities and says: “It has been my pleasure, I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s good to see a strong board going with young blood to take it forward”.

Thank you for your support and generosity over the years and we wish you the very best for your future!

Welcome to Tamsin and Nick!

Tamsin Simounds

Tamsin is the co-founder of The Edge leadership communications, specialising in aligning leaders and leadership teams with an organisational message and helping them to communicate effectively. She has also spent over a decade working within the leadership team of South Australia’s leading medical imaging provider, Dr Jones and Partners. The Edge have also chosen Youth Opportunities as their charity of choice, and have already provided us with valuable probono PR services. Tamsin specialises in leadership, behavioural and communications strategy, and she’s known for helping some of Australia’s top leaders and organisations lead with influence and communicate with impact.   

We asked Tamsin some questions to get to know her better!

How did you connect with the cause at Youth Opportunities?

I first connected with Youth Opportunities Chief Executive, Erin, on LinkedIn through mutual interests. I enjoyed following her content and was delighted to meet her in person at the Newday Conference. I asked Erin to tell me more about Youth Opportunities and she told me a powerful story of change from one of the graduates. It was a story about a student who stood up at a graduation and said something like: “I’ve realised that I’ve been a bully to others up until now.” This level of self-awareness and self-reflection at fifteen years old is a game changer. That was when I knew I needed to get involved somehow. 

What inspired you to come and join us?

I’d been looking for a way to make a meaningful contribution outside of my paid work, and it was important to me that it was something well aligned with my values and philosophies, in an area where I could use my strengths, network and skill set to really make a difference. In our work at The Edge, the underlying mission is to unlock the potential in Australia’s emerging leaders and unleash it to the world. And when I attended my first graduation ceremony locally in Strathalbyn and saw firsthand the shifts in these students, I realised Youth Opportunities is all about that. It’s a perfect fit.

What interests you the most about our programs and services?

Talent, leadership, intelligence, and the capacity to make a positive impact doesn’t only lay with the people who have the resources, both in terms of internal resources and coping mechanisms, but external and financial resources, to bring it to life. The difference Youth Opportunities can make by levelling the playing field and providing opportunity, direction and hope to those, who may not have otherwise had it, is extremely exciting. Not to mention the need to shine the light on life skills and mental wellbeing at a time when the statistics on mental illness in young people are quite alarming.

We work with 15 year olds to be the best they can be – if you were to give advice to your 15 year old self, what would it be? 

So many things. To stop worrying so much about what others thought. To spend more time connecting with and getting to know the people around me. That my greatest learnings would come from my greatest failures, to drop the desire for perfection, think bigger, and have a go. That the problems and thought patterns that I thought were unique to me weren’t. To become curious about the world around me and the people in it, without judgment. To learn, not for the sake of ticking boxes, but for growth, awareness, and possibility. To aim for alignment over achievement. 

Nick Chigwidden

Footy legend Nick Chigwidden is a long-standing supporter of Youth Opportunities, and remembers meeting Peter Marshman in the early days through 5AA. Nick has many friends involved in Youth Opportunities and has attended most of our major events over the past few years. Nick is passionate about giving back to the community, having recently retired as President of Glenelg Football Club. Nick currently owns and runs a business in allied health, Physio Extra, with his wife.

How did you connect with the cause at Youth Opportunities?  

I was made aware of the great work Peter Marshman and the YO team have done for many years supporting and developing young people experiencing disadvantage, through attending YO events. I have been especially moved by the graduate presentations at these events sharing the challenges they have had growing up, and how the program has positively impacted their lives so much.  I know many great people that have been involved with YO over the years and was keen to try and support YO myself and get more involved.

What inspired you to come and join us?  

The opportunity to be involved with a wonderful organisation that can have such a major impact on young people’s lives, not only for just a moment of time, but the ability to change their whole direction and purpose in life for the better.

What interests you the most about our programs and services?   

I would really like to understand more about the processes, challenges and support required to change the mindset of these young people that, at times, can come from very troubled backgrounds to then graduate from the program as confident young adults with clear direction. I appreciate there may not be a 100% success rate all the time, and results will vary, but the skills these kids are being taught are invaluable.  

We work with 15 year olds to be the best they can be – if you were to give advice to your 15 year old self, what would it be?

It would to believe in yourself, work hard, show respect and take the road less travelled.

You can view the full YO Board here.

Categories: Parents and Caregivers, Supporters