MEET OUR TEAM

Our Leadership

THENU HERATH | CEO

Thenu stepped up to be Oaktree's CEO in February 2021, bringing three years of experience in international and community development. Alongside her role at Oaktree, Thenu is currently completing her Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne and working with the World Economic Forum's Global Shaper community. The proud daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, Thenu’s belief in human rights, empathy and justice is unwavering. Thenu envisions a world where governments, civil society and the private sector can come together to provide innovative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time. In her spare time (she promises she has some), you can find her learning to Salsa Dance, re-reading Dan Brown books and defending her South Australian pronunciation of the word 'graph'.

Email: t.herath@theoaktree.org

LUCIE TOLHOEK | Deputy CEO

Lucie started at Oaktree in early 2021, before transitioning into the role of Deputy CEO in October 2022. Alongside this, Lucie is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and working towards her recreational pilots licence. Having grown up in Hong Kong, she is passionate about bridging the divide between youth from different cultures and giving a voice to those with different points of view. Outside of the organisation, you can usually find Lucie trying to get up to the snow for the weekend, or attempting to master her proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.

Email: l.tolhoek@theoaktree.org

MICHAELA JANSENS | Chief Marketing Officer

Michaela has been at Oaktree since 2022. Being able to share Oaktree's stories and experiences so far has been an incredible privilege, one which Michaela is excited to continue as she steps up as Chief Marketing Officer in 2023! Oaktree brings to life Michaela's guiding value that every young person deserves to have the opportunities and resources to shape the world they want to live in. 

Email: m.jansens@theoaktree.org

OSH IDDAWELA | Chief Operating Officer

Osh first joined Oaktree as a Finance analyst in February 2022, spending most of his time in the holy sanctuary of an Excel spreadsheet before stepping into the role of COO. Outside of Oaktree, Osh is currently pursuing a Master of Data Science at the University of Monash and working at the University of Melbourne as a Data Analyst. Prior to Oaktree Osh has volunteered with the Refugee Migrant Children Centre and is passionate about utilising analytics to understand how the identity of an organisation can be transformed to one that is more inclusive, empowering and humane. When he hasn’t accidentally double-booked himself, Osh is hard at work convincing himself that he really could be a barista in an alternate universe or appreciating a Quentin Tarantino flick

Email: oshadha.iddawela@theoaktree.org

AVA REGO | Business Development Manager

Ava (she/her, ‘ah-va’) joined Oaktree in 2021, and after a couple of different stints in Grants and Volunteer Development, she stepped up in October 2022 as Business Development Manager. A current student of international development and politics, Ava is passionate about decolonising development, and creating a world where young people can work together to overcome all forms of structural inequality. When she’s not at Oaktree, you’ll find Ava artistically painting her mates’ nails, avidly watching tv, and nerding out over her music.

Email: a.rego@theoaktree.org

LAWRENCE PHILLIPS | Chief Financial Officer

Lawrence first joined Oaktree in June of 2021 and has since held several roles within the finance team. He is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics at Monash University and hopes to continue his studies in economics at the postgraduate level. Outside of Oaktree he works part-time as a youth worker and has gained experience volunteering on the operational side of several not-for-profits. Lawrence is very passionate about international development and empowering young people to create change within their communities. He strongly believes in Oaktree’s work and is excited by the opportunity to continue making this a reality.

Email: l.phillips@theoaktree.org

SABRINA DONG | Live Below the Line Campaign Lead

Sabrina has recently joined Oaktree to take on role of the Live Below the Line Campaign Lead for 2023. Currently a full-time student studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Global Studies, majoring in Sustainability and Human Rights respectively, Sabrina is passionate about sustainable development and human rights issues that require collective and systemic social change on a global scale. Sabrina is excited to reinvigorate the Live Below the Line Campaign and embrace Oaktree’s new strategy in drawing upon the five lines: Energy, Food, Shelter, Technology and Waste.

Email: s.dong@theoaktree.org

RAINY ZAFIRA | Chief International Partnerships Officer

Email: rainasyia.zafira@theoaktree.org

Ashleigh McNeill | Chief Advocacy Officer

Ashleigh is Oaktree’s 2022 Chief Advocacy Officer, where she focuses her passion for justice with her knowledge of international affairs and governance. She is also an Events Coordinator at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and provides communications for the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees. Ashleigh is undertaking a Master of International Law at the University of Griffith, and has completed a Bachelor of International Studies at the University of Queensland. She was previously the recipient of the Baden-Württemberg Stipendium to study at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany.In her spare time you’ll find Ashleigh planning her next trip abroad or lazing on the beach.

Email: a.mcneill@theoaktree.org

Our Board of Directors

FINBAR PIPER | CHAIR

Finbar is a former Oaktree volunteer, working on campaigns and political engagement in 2016-17. He is now a government lawyer and holds a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. He is an advocate for civic engagement and youth participation in decision-making forums, and was appointed as a Youth Commissioner for the National Youth Commission's Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions from 2018 to 2021.

ELYSE MCINERNEY | DIRECTOR

Elyse is a program manager with a key focus on gender equality and feminist development practice. Her previous portfolios have included projects on employment, gender-based violence, financial capability, women's leadership, regional and international advocacy, coalition strengthening, education, child protection and humanitarian response. She is particularly passionate about  ensuring lived experiences inform program practice and advocacy work.

MANASI KOGEKAR | DIRECTOR

Manasi is an inclusive leader with technical expertise in the areas of gender equality and social inclusion, fundraising, mentorship, team leadership, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, program cycle management, and policy and process development. She is a member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and volunteers her time to support and mentor young women to be our future leaders.

GEMMA COOPER | DIRECTOR

Gemma provides specialist advisory services to the non-profit, for purpose sector. She has led various advisory projects for not for profit organisations, with a particular focus on revenue diversification and agile operating model development. She has also assisted with the development of the conceptual and operational framework for the Principles for Social Investment Secretariat, A United Nations Global Compact Initiative.