Our Australia & New Zealand Team

Donna Hutchison
CEO, Australian Region

With over 15 years of experience in design, strategy, corporate finance and transformation, Donna is a business leader who loves helping people solve complex problems. As CEO of High Resolves Australia, Donna is focused on growing the program to reach more than 50% of Australian teenagers over the next five years. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We are changing the world, one young person at a time. By equipping a critical mass of young people with the skills required to solve complex problems and act in the long-term collective interest of humanity, I believe we can make a difference. 

Rebecca Absalom
Program Director, Regional Victoria

Rebecca is an engaging educator with experience as a team leader developing transitional programs for disengaged young people and mentoring pre-service teachers. Rebecca specialises in participatory learning for disengaged youth and has led programs in Australia and internationally. Throughout her time abroad, she experienced firsthand the power of real-world experiences on young people.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in young people. I believe by empowering the next generation to embrace cultural differences and by encouraging collaboration we can create a positive, more inclusive world.

Ariel Blackman
Program Manager, Wollongong

Ariel has over a decade of experience working with young people as a social worker, providing psychosocial support and interventions to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people; developing trauma-informed intake processes at a crisis centre for homeless youth in Melbourne, case management and advocacy for vulnerable women in the inner city of Sydney, and more recently designing and delivering resilience-focused psycho-educational programs to disadvantaged young people in high schools across Western Sydney. Ariel holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Sydney and was awarded First Class Honours for her original research on Youth Participation and Citizenship. This research is what sparked her passion for the power of young people as active citizens.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

Young people have the greatest potential to be agents of social change. Our programs are engaging, evidence-based, cutting edge, and position young people to really make a difference in the world.

Alisa Cleary
Program Director, Brisbane

Alisa is a highly experienced global educator working in the field with teachers and administrators in Queensland since 2010. Alisa has provided advice to schools and government about incorporating innovative programs into school curriculums, and has supported schools and teachers in delivering cutting-edge programs. She holds a Masters in Educational Studies and Bachelor of Arts (Geography and Economics) from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary Education) from the Australian Catholic University.

 Alisa is passionate about High Resolves because…

I am excited about the transformative power of High Resolves’ educative approach to empowering students to think critically about the global context of their local lives. I believe it is important that students develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity and act responsibly for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. I am thrilled at the part High Resolves can play in making that happen.

Mary Michele Connellan
Program Director, Newcastle

Mary has extensive experience in consulting, legal strategy and developing public policy. Mary is a Teaching Associate at Monash University and holds a Juris Doctor from Melbourne Law School. Mary published “A Gendered Lens for Genocide Prevention” with Palgrave McMillan and has worked in social justice and human rights for over a decade. While completing her Masters in the Philosophy of Citizenship and Ethics at the University of Barcelona, Mary developed improved teaching methods for English language programs in high schools in regional Spain.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in the power of young people to facilitate positive global change.

Allana Duncan
Program Manager, New South Wales

Allana is a High Resolves alum, having participated in the program as a student in 2009. Coming full circle, Allana is excited to work with an organisation that was pivotal in cultivating her passion and interest in social justice. Allana holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Philosophy from the University of Sydney, writing her Honours thesis on the political rights of children. Allana’s previous work experience includes Project Officer and Instructional Designer for HammondCare, a not-for-profit aged care provider. Allana spent her early career working with children in educational settings, as well as holding volunteer positions, working with students at 826NYC and Children of Promise. In her free time, Allana enjoys performing in improvisational theatre.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe that every young person should be recognised as, and empowered to be, a contributing member of their community.  I am passionate about the mission of High Resolves, to encourage young people to be critical thinkers and vocal advocates for the change they want to see in their world.

Daniel Dyer
Program Director, Sydney

Dan grew up in Southern California where regular trips to Mexico and South America opened his eyes to the disparities in wealth between communities around the world. To pursue his passion for social justice and help the poor, Dan got a degree in International Development from Seattle Pacific University where he learned about the globalised world and the ways in which it empowers some and creates hardship for so many others. He has worked for various non-profits that focussed on the development and empowerment of young people and is passionate about creative teaching methods that inspire young people to work for the greater good and help those that are in need around them. 

I am passionate about high resolves because…

To see young people learn something new and realise that they can have a positive impact on the world around them is so inspiring to me. I love being a part of an organisation that truly believes in the power of young people to create change on a local and global scale. 

Mia Garrett
Program Director, Victoria

Mia is a passionate educator and strong believer in its transformative power.  Through her extensive travels and time living abroad, she has developed an understanding of how powerful real world learning experiences can be.  This, accompanied by her love of working with young people, drives her to provide meaningful educational experiences which encourage students to engage in their local and global communities.  Across her nine years of teaching experience in secondary schools she has led international immersion trips, managed social justice initiatives and developed a student leadership program to empower young leaders.  She has a Bachelor of Secondary Education (PE/Health/Science) from Deakin University.

I am passionate about working at High Resolves because… 
I have the opportunity to connect with students through empowering them to lead positive social change.  Their insight, passion and drive to make our world a better place is truely inspiring.  Education and self belief are powerful tools, and High Resolves supports students in deepening both.

Rachel Hinds
National Program Director, Partnerships

Rachel has worked in the education sector in both Australia and overseas since 2007. She has a strong commitment to empowering students to be the leaders of tomorrow and a belief that all young people can make a difference to their own lives. During her time as a classroom teacher, Rachel worked predominately with disengaged and at-risk students and was instrumental in designing and implementing an alternative education program for disengaged students in the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Education from Griffith University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have seen first-hand the impact we have on young people. It is an awesome thing to experience when you see a young person feel empowered to step up and create the change they want to see in the world!

Anna Howarth
Director, Customer Relationships & Delivery

Anna is a community engagement professional, who worked for Microsoft for 14 years, most recently supporting youth and community outcomes, in the position of Microsoft Philanthropies Manager. Prior to this role, Anna was Microsoft Australia’s chief customer advocate in the position of Customer Experience Director. She also led Employee Communications functions across Microsoft, Optus and the Commonwealth Bank.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I am a passionate advocate for supporting Australian youth and I am excited to personally be involved in an organisation that embraces diversity and works with young people to develop inclusive behaviours in our leaders of tomorrow.

Rachel Jackett
Program Manager, Newcastle

Rachel has been working with young people predominantly in the arts and education sector for the past ten years. She spent the majority of this time on the road touring as an actor with theatre in education company, Brainstorm Productions, delivering well-being programs to primary and secondary school students across Australia. Rachel recently spent 18 months back in her regional hometown, Port Macquarie, on the Mid North Coast of NSW as a School Outreach Officer for Charles Sturt University, inspiring students to follow their career goals and aspirations.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We get the privilege of helping to mould, and learn from, tomorrow’s leaders and changemakers who are working to create a world worth living in.

Lee Martin
Director, Curriculum & Impact Australia

Lee has worked at High Resolves since 2010, working in a variety of roles including face-to-face delivery of content to young people and teachers, developing curriculum, and quality assurance and training. He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Sheffield and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in History and Politics from the University of Warwick. Lee worked as a high school history teacher in socially diverse areas of the U.K. and took on the roles of form tutor, Head of Year and Head of Department. In May 2009, government inspectors reported that the history department and its management were “outstanding”.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I have always believed that education is the most effective way of overcoming some of the problems that the world faces today. High Resolves offers me that opportunity by working with young people to develop the confidence, motivation and skills to make our world a better place.

Hannah Morris
Director, Customer Success

Hannah’s passion is working to achieve social justice and the empowerment of young people through education. She has over five years of experience working in the intersection of the education, advocacy, social justice and not for profit management sectors. Hannah holds a Bachelor of International and Global Studies and Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Teaching from Deakin University. An alumnus of the Teach For Australia program, she spent three years teaching English and Humanities in Darwin where she loved engaging her students to think critically about global issues. Hannah’s previous work experiences include a volunteer legal placement with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, Board Director of UN Youth Australia, National Ambassador for education charity One Girl, and President of the University of Sydney Union.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I truly believe that the education of young people is the most important and powerful way we can invest in our future. Helping to create a generation of globally aware, values-driven, curious, and empathic young citizens and leaders is something that fires me up and gives me hope for our society and our world.

Marlina Moussa
National Program Director, Growth and New Hubs

During her time as an English teacher, Marlina’s passion to empower and inspire young people to be positive leaders in the community and globally saw her develop and implement new educational programs and initiatives that increased student involvement and engagement in understanding social issues. She participated in the Make Poverty History Campaign in NSW, which involved meeting with ministers at Parliament House on the issue of foreign aid. Her experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East further fueled her desire to see students become global leaders and citizens who are motivated to make a positive difference, which led her to High Resolves. She completed a Bachelor of Secondary Teaching (Double English major) at the University of Technology Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature and History) at the University of Wollongong where she also undertook a 3-year leadership program, delivering a number of projects for social action, development and change in the University and community.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
What we do is for the greater good. Seeing that achieved by empowering young people to be global citizens is inspiring and exciting.

Sam Newman
Program Director, Gold Coast

Sam is no stranger to culture and diversity having left his leafy, suburban hometown in England as a small child to live in the fast-paced, multiethnic and international setting of Hong Kong.

Growing up as a “Third Culture Kid’ in a city where he sometimes felt he did not ‘fit in’ raised Sam’s awareness about the importance of inclusivity, tolerance and international mindedness.

Sam graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Education and describes educating as his vocation. He places an emphasis on connecting and building trusting, open and honest relationships with students through a holistic approach. Sam specialised in working with at-risk students and he was also responsible for developing and embedding an innovative student and staff well-being programme which covered K-12 in a school with over 1500 students. Sam combined his love for teaching with his addiction to fishing by founding Get Hooked Fishing Camp, with the intent of combining mindfulness with fishing whilst educating the next generation of Third Culture Kids around topics of sustainability, conservation and human impact all whilst developing each student’s understanding of their identity, self-confidence and stress management.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I know first-hand that finding your purpose and identity can be a complicated and constantly evolving process. The High Resolves program, addresses these processes, explores global issues, challenges perceptions, and informs and shapes crucial life skills guiding our next generation to be ambassadors of positive and impactful change.

Brandon Paterson
Program Manager, Sydney

Inspired by his own development and aha moments through attending an immersive, ‘peak experience’, leadership camp in the US as a teenager, Brandon saw the value and impact that non-traditional education can have on a person’s life. Brandon volunteered at this same camp a number of summers in a row, getting the opportunity to lead some activities and group sessions. This planted seeds that one day, he too could become a facilitator and create aha moments for others. After developing his skills through acting studies and performance, Brandon began facilitating behaviour change workshops in secondary schools on behalf of corporate clients.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I want to see a world where we don’t just survive, but we thrive. To do this we need to create a world that works together for everyone, with no one left out. To create this world we need bold, ethical and empathetic leaders who strive not just to propel themselves forward, but who will bring others with them and lead others to do the same. What better way to achieve this, than through immersive education? I see a whole generation of young people resolving to do their part and make a difference.

Carrie Silver
Learning and Development Manager, Australia

Growing up in one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities, Carrie developed a great curiosity about the cultures that surrounded her, which led her to study world religions, modern history and population geography and make the brave leap to move to Australia in her late teens. She has taught history, geography and social and community studies in Queensland classrooms, and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching from the University of New England.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
At High Resolves I have the privilege of connecting with young people and finding out what they are passionate about. Every day brings a new story from amazing young people who inspire me, and I’m excited to see what this generation will do to make the world a better place!

Lauren Swift
Program Manager, New South Wales

Lauren’s passion for social justice was nurtured and fueled through her Bachelor of International and Global Studies from the University of Sydney. With several years of teaching experience in both high school and university classrooms, Lauren combines her love of teaching and facilitation with hands-on experience from the non-profit sector to bring enthusiasm and passion to her job every day.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am fueled by my passion for creating a fairer, more peaceful world, and my deeply held belief that the best way to do this is to raise a generation of young people who believe that this world is possible. I’m passionate about emboldening young people to reach their fullest potential in all aspects of life.

Victoria Tucker
Program Coordinator

With a background in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, Victoria has a passion for understanding people and enabling them to thrive. Victoria loves being a part of creating the best learning experiences for students and is inspired by the powerful personal development that young people go through with High Resolves. She believes that education is the gateway to transformational change; by educating young people on the importance of cultural awareness, social justice and positive leadership, and giving them practical learning opportunities, we are empowering them to step up and be the change they want to see in the world. 

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

We provide students with the opportunity to learn and engage with education that is not typically taught in the classroom, yet is critical to living in the global world that we live in today. I feel privileged to be a part of an organisation that is transforming the way that young people think, feel, and act, which in turn, is having a positive ripple effect on their friends and families, communities, and the world!

Chad Brown
Program Director, Sunshine Coast

Chad grew up in a small town in country Victoria, Australia, and started his first business at just 19 years old. Delivering an innovative physical activity program to Melbourne primary schools, he helped students to not only be more active and healthy, but also to develop critical life skills, such as teamwork, respect, co-operation and dealing with success and defeat.

Chad’s own ‘Peak Experience’ occurred in his early twenties when he travelled to Uganda to volunteer in rural communities through a not-for-profit organisation that had been set up by his parents after their first visit to the country. He is now the Vice President of ‘HUG – Help Us Grow’ and continues to support the amazing work that HUG and the local communities in Uganda are carrying out on a daily basis.

Chad has also spent ten years living, travelling and working abroad, including five years in Spain and five years in the UK. During this time, he worked in a variety of organisations of all shapes and sizes to improve both employee and customer satisfaction through the constant refinement of user experiences. He now applies this real-world experience and knowledge to help achieve the maximum possible impact in his work at High Resolves.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I believe in the limitless power of young people and their critical role in solving the greatest challenges of our time. The opportunity to work for an organisation that facilitates such a powerful movement of global citizens and gives them the skills and confidence that they need to change the world is a humbling and inspiring experience that I’m incredibly grateful for.

Gyan Kumar
Financial Controller

Gyan has over seven years of not-for-profit experience, working for in different roles in operations and accounts.  He has a Diploma in Finance from TAFE NSW and BA Accounting from the University of South Australia. Gyan also has a Post Graduate Certificate in MBA and is a current member of IPA-Australia.  Gyan has been volunteering with PCYC for over 5-years working with youths and currently volunteers at a number of sporting codes, including Little Athletic NSW, soccer and boxing.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I love being a part of a dynamic and diverse team, who have a shared vision and dedication to empowering a generation of young people with the skills and motivation to transform our world for the better.

Emily Vining
Program Manager, Victoria

Inspired by her own time at school and the teachers who surrounded her, Emily aspired from a young age to work in the education system.  She has continued to foster this passion for working with young people through her time teaching in metropolitan and regional Australia.  Emily now recognises and believes in the transformative power of real-world learning and believes that engaging people outside of the confines of traditional subject areas can be extremely powerful in shaping young people’s beliefs and values about themselves and the world they live in.  Emily also volunteers with a peer-based drug harm reduction program and has previously volunteered with a sexual assault service where she facilitated workshops in secondary schools to promote healthy relationships and anti-violence strategies to diverse groups of young people.  She has a Bachelor of Physical Education and a Postgraduate Certificate of Health Promotion from Deakin University.

I am passionate about High Resolves because…

I love working with and learning from young people and I am proud to work for an organisation who recognises the power of youth.  I take great pride in empowering young people to recognise that, together they can drive positive social change towards a more fair and equitable world for all.  

Contact our Australia & New Zealand Team