Farewell with pride, gratitude and optimism

Farewell with pride, gratitude and optimism

It has been my great honour and privilege to be a part of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and to serve at its helm for the past nine years. Our exceptional team has achieved some incredible things in that time.

We’ve asked bold and relevant questions about the world, its opportunities and impact on young people—how they’re living, learning and working. With the New Work Order research series FYA has led the national conversation on how to equip young people with the skills, knowledge and mindset to succeed in the future of work. These reports have reinforced the need for our systems to invest in enterprise education, transferable skills and new models of work. Demonstrations of this research are visible in FYA’s initiatives past and present such as $20 Boss, Worlds of Work and Innovation Nation. And the exciting partnership with South West Institute of TAFE has established a pathway to see our research in action in regional Victoria. 

We have continued to show Australia that young people can and should be involved in the design of the systems and policies by backing those who are making a difference in communities, business and public life. We amplify their voices on the issues that matter to them. FYA’s Young Social Pioneers program has backed more than 300 young people to bring their ideas for change to life, and our social enterprise, YLab has established a strong client base across the government, business and for-purpose sectors and identified the importance of including young people in the design of systems change. 

I believe FYA will continue to value, support and prioritise the energy and experience that young Australians have to make real change, and that the organisation is well positioned to back them to create the world they want to live in. 

Over the past few months, the FYA Board has completed an executive search for a new CEO. FYA’s current COO, Olivia Hilton will take on the role of Acting CEO with the support of the FYA leadership team, until an announcement is made by the Chair in early 2020. 

I am thrilled to be taking on the role of co-Convenor and Chair of a bold new education initiative under the FYA umbrella called Learning Creates Australia (LCA), while also undertaking some advisory roles and new start-up ventures. This initiative has been in development for the past 18 months with Paul Ramsay Foundation, Nous Group, YLab, The Impact Assembly at PWC and Melbourne University. More information will follow in 2020 when LCA is formally launched. 

On behalf of the FYA Board of Directors and our staff, interns and volunteers across Australia, I thank all our partners, collaborators, supporters, and co-investors – especially the extraordinary young people from across the country that I have had the opportunity to meet, know, mentor, champion, grow and learn with. I am a better human and profoundly more aware for having worked with you all.

Thank you also to nine year’s worth of smart, dedicated team members, two phenomenal Boards and three FYA Chairs: Mark Paton, Robert Milliner and now, Sam Mostyn. I am immensely proud of the work we’ve done together and am forever grateful for your backing, support and trust. 

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season wherever you are. I hope you are able to surround yourself with people you love and who love you. I look forward to our paths crossing again in 2020.

Jan Owen AM