Our Staff

The staff are the conduit that brings together the service partners, volunteers and young people, providing our suite of programs that change the lives of many young Australians. They have a collective of skills, experience and passion going beyond the call of duty in each of their roles.

 Heath Ducker - Chief Executive Officer

Heath is unique as he brings to Youth Insearch both his experience as a participant in the program and professional expertise. As a teenage participant in the program, Heath was empowered to throw off the shackles of an almost Dickensian childhood. One of 10 children of several fathers, Heath lived in abject poverty, in an old run down housing commission home. At age 11 he was sexually abused by his best friend’s father. The young people at Youth Insearch inspired Heath to overcome his own difficult background.

Heath completed University, and became a lawyer at Gadens Lawyers (a top 10 Australian law firm). He then worked as an Advisor to the Attorney General of NSW. His other work includes: Trek Leader (2IC), Kokoda Trail, with Adventure Kokoda; Lawyer/Researcher, at the South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre, India; Trainer, Public Speaking & Leadership, with AMM Enterprises; Professional Public Speaker, at conferences such as then Prime Minster Julia Gillard's Social Inclusion Conference, the Young Minds Conference, the Australian Family Law Conference, and RYLA.

His achievements include: an Australian Leadership Award, from Davos Australia; Author, A Room at the Top, Random House Australia (his autobiography with forward written by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd); Panel Member, on Q&A, on the ABC; Profile, on Australian Story, on the ABC (introduced by then Prime Minister John Howard); the Rotary Youth Leadership (RYLA) and Service Above Self Awards; and audiences as a teenager with the Prime Minister John Howard and Premier Bob Carr to discuss Youth Affairs. Heath has also served as a Director on charity boards such as Aunties  & Uncles. Heath commenced as CEO in 2012.


 Stephen Lewin - General Manager  

After a 19 year career with the NSW Government, Stephen Lewin has taken up the position of General Manager of the Youth Insearch Foundation. With an enduring commitment to creating public value, Stephen has focused his study and experience on creating organisational change through transformational leadership. Stephen has led teams overseeing the management of Disability Group Homes, Home Care Services, Case Management and Clinical Teams. Stephen is passionate about creating leaders by supporting lasting change in people’s lives. Providing the framework of support to enable our most vulnerable to become leaders of tomorrow.

  

Jennie Linton - Program Manager

Jennie started working in community services 15 years ago and after 5 years focused on Youth Work. Jennie attended the Youth Insearch program with her clients 10 years ago and was so impressed she continued to support and attend weekend programs. Jennie became a Youth Insearch Adult Leader in 2013 and has taken up a vital role as Team Leader on many of the Weekend Workshops.

Jennie has continued to study over the last 10 years completing, Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Community Services Management, Diploma of Youth Work, Advanced Diploma of Business Management, Cert IV in Training & Assessment, Cert IV in Youth Work, Cert IV in Community Services. Jennie is a qualified Counsellor and was instrumental in founding the Western Downs Youth Hub. Jennie was appointed as State Coordinator of Queensland in September 2015 and then to National Program Manager in 2016.

Tiffany McManus - Community Coordinator 

 New England, NSW

 Tiffany McManus Profile PictureTiffany comes to us from the job network sector, where she has been helping young people overcome the barriers to employment. Tiffany became involved with Youth Insearch as a support adult, assisting young people from the job network to access the Youth Insearch program from Narrabri. 

 

 

 

Sharon Schofield - State Coordinator 

 Victoria

Sharon was responsible for setting up Youth Insearch in Victoria in 2005.  Sharon has worked and volunteered for Youth Insearch for the last 12 years, she has a Diploma in Community Services Work as well as completing Youth Insearch Leaders Training in 2007. Prior to coming to Youth Insearch she worked in Marketing and held a the position of Personal Assistant to the Telstra Regional Manager for Victoria for 8 years.

In Sharon’s spare time she volunteers as the Publicity Officer for the Gippsland Branch of  Make-A-Wish Australia and also volunteers at Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program where she supports young people in Police Interviews where they don’t have alternative support. Sharon’s is married to Paul and they run their own plastering company and they have three sons and three grandchildren.

 

 

Maree May - Community Coordinator

Gippsland, VIC

Maree May is new to working in the community services sector, after raising four children with her husband and working different jobs to fit around her family including running her own café, she decided to find a job that with more meaning.

Maree completed a Diploma of Community Services Work. Commencing at Youth Insearch in a first year work placement. Maree loved Youth Insearch so much she stayed on as a volunteer. On completing her Diploma  Maree was offered a position at Youth Insearch. Maree has been an Auswim instructor and coached junior netball.

 

 

Sharyn Kuhn - State Coordinator

Queensland

Sharyn has worked in the community sector for over 14 years and initially found her calling as a volunteer crisis phone counsellor. With a strong sense of social justice and further study she affirmed her desire to work with marginalised and/or disadvantaged people. Sharyn then accepted a role with an organisation that specialised in working with individuals and families to reduce the harms associated with alcohol and other drugs misuse and mental health.

Sharyn has extensive experience in operational and project management and was previously responsible for a portfolio of diverse programs, staff, volunteers and students across regional and remote area’s of QLD and NSW. Sharyn joined the Youth Insearch team as QLD State Coordinator in July 2016.

 

Heather Cummings - Community Coordinator

Wide Bay Burnett, QLD

For the last ten years Heather has been working in organisations supporting and assisting young people and their families who are struggling with issues affecting their lives. Heather has completed a Certificate IV in Education and a Certificate IV in Counselling. Heather has worked extensively with children in the Queensland education system with both mainstream children and children with learning difficulties in primary schools.

Heather is married and has three sons. She is passionate about her community and the wellbeing of young people.

  

Andrew Phelan  - Community Coordinator 

Darling Downs, QLD

Andrew joined Youth Insearch as a teenage participant and went through the Youth Insearch Leadership program. At a young age he assisted with the running of weekend programs, support groups and promotional activities. His involvement with Youth Insearch had such a dramatic impact on his life-path and it empowered him to attempt the kokoda trail, travel solo throughout 20+ countries and to start several successful entrepreneurial enterprises.

Andrew has now bought his life-experience and passion for empowering our youth back to Youth Insearch to provide the support and direction that changed his life to other young people of the Darling Downs.

 Rita England - Senior Accountant

Rita England is a CPA qualified Accountant and has more than 10 years experience in the Not-For-Profit sector, mainly in the Aged Care Industry.  She has held senior financial accounting positions with Kincare, Anglican Retirement Villages, Anglicare and has undertaken some contract work with HammondCare.  

Rita's experience lies in financial reporting, system implementations and obtaining efficiencies through efficient use of electronic systems.  While Rita is looking to reduce her workload she is keen to use her financial and management accounting skills to provide back to the community through adding value to Youth Insearch. 


 

Wandy Tung - Senior Administration Officer

Wandy joined Youth Insearch at the end of June this year, bringing with her over 10 years of accounts experience. Having completed a university degree in Social Work in 1986, Wandy mainly worked with young people for a few years in Hong Kong.

Wandy appreciates the opportunity of working with an organisation that supports young people.