The Inspire Youth Australia Foundation is a South Coast founded initiative that was inspired by the youth of the Shoalhaven region and the need to support them into work, education and to become community minded citizens. The region has large areas of disadvantaged youth and a very high youth unemployment level. A handful of inspiring, local leaders have collaborated their ideas in order to assist and encourage our youth to achieve their goals.



John Lamont

John Lamont has been involved in regional development with a strong focus on youth for 20 years, both in his current role with Regional Development Australia Far South Coast and as Chair of the TAFE Southern Advisory Board.
He is the driving force and Managing Director of NowChem. This organisation has grown from a family run business to an organisation now employing over 70 people. John ensures the organisation is always learning and constantly changing and has a large number of employees in both training and further education. John ensures a strong focus on developing and bringing youth from school directly into the workplace. This is clearly demonstrated by the organisations newest link to the community, the “Inspire Youth Australia Foundation”. John has won Illawarra Business Leader of the year, a member of the Illawarra TAFE board and is the policy leader at the Shoalhaven Business Chamber.

Brian Norwood

Brian is a long-term, Shoalhaven resident and has raised his two children within the region. Brian realises that not all local youth are given the same opportunities that his children had access to and wants to make a difference. Graduating from The University of Wollongong in 1988 with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accountancy, he began working in the Shoalhaven region and eventually set up his own practice, Brian Norwood Accounting Pty Ltd, in 1994. As well as being a local business owner, Brian is also a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants and is a Registered Tax Agent.

Katrina Norwood

Katrina was raised in the Shoalhaven area, as were her two children. She attended a local high school as a youth and has worked within the community as Office Manager at Brian Norwood Accounting since 2000. Katrina is an active board member of the Shoalhaven Education Fund and is passionate about youth and creating opportunities for their growth and development


John Lamont

John leads the SCYLF program and talks on volunteering as well as presenting various workshops. John encourages all local youth to speak up, become leaders and implement social change where they can. John’s strong business influence ensures all participants receive life skills information from various employers in the Shoalhaven region.

Lauren Beaufils

Lauren is a 24-year-old business professional that works as a Business Marketing Coordinator at NowChem and is a passionate youth development advocate. She was recently selected to be a delegate at the International Young Leaders Assembly, representing Australia at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, and US Congress at Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. She graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2013 with a Bachelor of Commerce and has been heavily involved in youth leadership development in both the Shoalhaven and globally. Alongside John Lamont and a hard-working SCYLF committee, she has helped relaunch and coordinate the South Coast Youth leadership Forum for the past 2 years. Lauren has traveled to regional Thailand in January this year as a Youth Mentor in the first GVN Foundations’ Global Youth Ambassador Program. Lauren was also the recipient of a Young Achiever Highly Commended award at the Illawarra Women Business Awards this year.

Colin Salisbury

Colin is Founder and President of Global Volunteer Network (GVN) and now the Co-Founder of The Bamboo. GVN, an organisation that places volunteers in communities where contributing their time and energy can affect change. In the last 15 years GVN has placed over 22,000 volunteers. Born and raised in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, Colin has a Masters in International Development and has become one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Colin also has a passion for online marketing – as a consultant he has raised over 50 million dollars for organisations in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. Colin has extensive experience in fundraising, organisational management and leadership development.

Nicola Panopoulos

Nicola is currently studying a Bachelor of Public Communication majoring in Public Relations, paired with the highly competitive Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney. Alongside this, she works part-time as a Specialist for Tom Ford Beauty. Nicola first attended the conference after being elected School Captain of Nowra Anglican College in 2013 and jumps at the chance to come back and facilitate each year since.

Avalon Bourne

Avalon has worked in youth leadership and development for 8 years. 5 years ago she took her first job overseas and hasn’t stopped traveling since. Avalon has lived and worked in 9 different countries, facilitating, coordinating and training in youth development. When she graduated from International Relations at University, Avalon saw a gap in the way young people were being taught to understand their role in the world. Believing that young people are the key to widespread global change, at 22 years of age Avalon founded Sonder Youth – a social enterprise dedicated to training a generation of young people to create the change the world needs to see. Avalon now designs, coordinates and presents youth programs to young Australians with Sonder Youth. In 2017 Sonder Youth designed and presented the SCYLF curriculum.


Christie is a small town girl with big dreams. Growing up in Gerringong, Christie understands the importance of community action in regional towns. Christie was crowned 2018 Kiama Showgirl, placing her in a position of youth advocacy in her local community. With this position, she has been able to spread messages that are important to her – the essential nature rural and regional communities, gender equality and equal access to health. Christie graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2016 with Distinction from a Bachelor of Exercise Science. Her passion now lies in becoming a doctor, with hopes of completing a Doctorate of Medicine. In the meantime, she spends her time working at the University as a teacher, tutor and mentor for Anatomy and Human Sciences subjects, volunteering for a variety of causes and playing representative basketball for the Shoalhaven Tigers.

Christie Arthur SCYLF Inspire Youth Kiama Showgirl Portrait

Shanyn King

Shanyn and her family have lived in the Shoalhaven region for the past 20 years. She enjoys working with young people and watching them develop into innovative thinkers of the future. Ensuring that all of our youth are given every opportunity to help them reach their goals is also a passion for her. Shanyn has Certificate of Nursing, a Post-Graduate qualification in Intensive Care Nursing and a Post-Graduate qualification in Health Policy and Management. She has held a variety of clinical and management positions in all areas of public health over the past 30 years and is currently the Co-Director of Division Critical Care in Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

Christian Avasalu

Christian is a South Coast local heralding from Ulladulla with strong interests for leadership and outdoor education.
He completed his schooling years at Nowra High School and is now studying a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education at the University of Wollongong. As a past attendee and mentor at SCYLF for the last 5 years, he has a strong passion for the youth and development of the region, with the belief that both are strongly entwined.

Elisha Petrie

Elisha is a 25-year-old tour guide, ocean lover and adventurer from Brisbane. She’s always been a traveler. Her parents took her around Australia for a year when she was 5, then again when she was 8 and home-schooled her and her siblings along the way – think times tables with coconuts on the beach! In her teens, the family began taking them to Asia, she and her sister then moved to the UK to work and travel Europe together and she now lives in Asia as a tour guide with a pretty cool company – Bamboo.
In amongst this, she completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Marine Biology and Eco-Tourism and worked up to three jobs to fund her passion for travels. When she isn’t traveling or uni-ing, her days are spent trying to surf, going on camping trips and volunteering with various social and environmental projects.
She has a strong passion for the environment and tries to share this with the people she meets and through social media platforms like Instagram. She definitely can’t wait to meet you all!

Britney Bierton

In October 2016, Britney was fortunate enough to attend the South Coast Youth Leadership Forum, which gave her the necessary skills, opportunities and confidence to grow into the young leader she is today. Britney believes one of the most beneficial concepts of SCYLF is young people leading young people – this allowed her to truly connect with her mentors and grow from the experience.
Through the connections she made at SCYLF, she became a Business Administration Trainee at NowChem and 9 months in has become Shoalhaven’s Trainee of the Year! SCYLF was a truly life changing experience and she has now been given the opportunity to return to again, this time as a mentor, and can’t wait to give back and help nurture more youth into the leaders she knows they have the potential to become.

Alice Liao

Alice has been working with youth for the past several years in the education sector. She has taught high school social studies in the U.S. and is currently on a two-year sabbatical to pursue her passion in empowering young leaders to grow and develop themselves as change makers in our community. Alice wants her students to understand the importance of history and how it can be used to take on the challenges of the future, as well as understand the past. She firmly believes that when young leaders are given the opportunities and the right tools, they can succeed at anything. Alice has lived and worked in the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Thailand.

Alice Liao SCYLF South Coast Youth Leadership Forum speaker

Will Watterson

Will Watterson is a campaigner and social entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in international development, global education and youth work. He was CEO of Global Poverty Project NZ for 4 years, and acting CEO of Global Poverty Project Australia for a year. During that time he built up both organisations to be industry leaders in securing public, business and political commitments to ending extreme poverty. Will specialises in building creative campaigns and initiatives that connect everyday people to the important issues of our time in ways that empower them to be part of the solution.
Will currently facilitates Advocacy, Education and Public Engagement at Fairtrade New Zealand

Will Watterson SCYLF South Coast Youth Leadership Forum speaker