Jan is a highly regarded social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author who has spent the past 25 years growing Australia’s youth, social enterprise and innovation sectors.
In 2012 she was named Australia’s inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence; in 2014 she received the Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney; and was awarded membership to the Order of Australia in 2000. She is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014).
Jan is the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and YLab, the global youth futures lab. Her lifelong mission is to unleash the potential of young people to lead positive change in the world. Jan’s enlightening, challenging and entertaining presentations are pragmatic as opposed to idealistic, with the aim of transforming the way society talks about and engages with young people – from treating them as a problem to be solved to recognising that young people are contributing to and driving social change.
Jan Owen’s recent presentation to the Australian Business Deans Council was one of the highlights of our meeting. In sharing FYA’s research showing there has been a fundamental shift for young people, Jan challenged our members to think hard about how business schools are adapting. Her energetic, humorous and challenging presentation generated thoughtful discussions not only in her session, but the ideas she seeded carried through our later sessions. It was clear her insights prompted many of our members to re-frame their ideas.
Professor Alison Sheridan | Head, University New England Business School
A unique mix of cerebral power, innovative thinking and kindness makes Jan Owen a powerful speaker and a pioneer in the area of entrepreneurship.
Farah Mohamed | Founder and CEO, G(irls) 20
As our keynote speaker Jan delivered a seamless overview of FYA’s current research-based insights through an engaging narrative backed with high quality presentation. Jan also facilitated a panel discussion with a range of student perspectives and voices which anchored the presentation in a series of authentic experiences that grounded the discussion. Engagement Australia was impressed with the professionalism with which FYA imparted at every step in the process and which was a major factor in the success of the forum itself.
Ben Roche | Chair and President, Engagement Australia
Without a skerrick of a note, Jan took us on a journey that persuaded each of us of the urgent need for a whole new mindset on work. From the minute Jan arrived at the podium, her warmth and engaging presence had the audience enthralled as she shared her insights with us. There was no sense of bleakness – rather one of hope – as Jan enabled our students to imagine the world of future work that they want to create. Quite frankly, it was one of the best talks I’ve heard in years.
Lindie Clark | Academic and Programs Director – Professional & Community Engagement (PACE) | Macquarie University
(Jan is) doing a seriously fantastic job of effective and contemporary ‘influencing’ and advocacy on the future for young Australians… Many others are stuck in the same old same old ways of doing and presenting things and they don’t work very well if at all anymore.
David Thompson | CEO, Jobs Australia
Jan is available to present on the below three topics:
The Foundation for Young Australians’ New Work Order report series has explored the significant implications of a changing world of work upon young Australians. In this presentation, Jan Owen discusses how we can reconceptualise our approach to the future of work to support young people to develop the skills and capabilities that they need to navigate and thrive in the future.
There are 4.3 million young people in Australia today, and by 2053 this is predicted to rise to 6.3 million. Our young people are our greatest untapped resource – brimming with ideas to drive change, but not in the driver’s seat. So how do we unleash their potential?
Jan Owen is relentlessly optimistic about the capacity and willingness of young people to contribute to and drive change to craft the world they want to live in. With an entrepreneurial streak that sparked early on, Jan credits a teacher with great timing who backed and invested in her. Today, as FYA’s CEO, Jan Owen endeavours to help young Australian’s not just survive, but thrive.
Compiled by the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen AM, the Future Chasers is a collection of stories from young Australians of courage, imagination and will.Find out more