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Who We Are

With over 250,000 supporters, we are Australia's largest youth-run international development organisation.

You are here because you believe what we believe: that it's not okay when young people are shut out of decisions that threaten a just future. When Cambodian girls are forced to sacrifice their dreams because they can’t afford school fees. Or when our government shuts down aid programs that save lives.

We are hundreds of volunteers, alumni, campaigners, student ambassadors, donors, and thousands of everyday Australians who believe in a world where all people have the opportunity to thrive.

We are young people leading, demanding and creating a more just world.

Our values

Our values guide the work that we do.  They reflect who we are, who want to be and what we strive to achieve.

  • Human rights 
  • Long term solutions
  • Impact
  • Integrity
  • Humility
  • Diversity

Our Behaviours

  • We think big
  • We put the impact of our movement first
  • We embrace change
  • We're humble

Meet our leadership team

Our leadership team have a wealth of experience and are skilled speakers.

LOOK NO FURTHER - WE'VE GOT THE PERFECT SPEAKER FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT.

Not only are these young leaders passionate about ending poverty, but they have incredible (and moving, and hilarious) stories to share about change, movement building and the power of young people. All are leaders within the organisation, and have a wealth of leadership and facilitation training.

Here's the best bit - all speaker fees go directly toward enabling Oaktree's impact both domestically and abroad!

Meet our Board of Directors

Shani Cain

Chief Executive Officer
Contact: s.cain@theoaktree.org

Shani commenced in February 2019 and has formerly worked in international development, refugee settlement and the climate crises for organisations such as CMY, AYCC and the Red Cross. She has a double degree and a Masters of Humanitarian Assistance from Deakin University. Shani is dedicated to working in direct crises response and sector innovation to help society’s most vulnerable people. She is passionate about female and youth empowerment, sustainability, and equality. In her own words, she is "someone who loves life and believes in the ability to change the world". Outside the four walls of Oaktree, Shani teaches yoga, walks her dogs Obi and Finn and attempts to camp and hike her way around Australia.

 

Sylvia Soo

Head of Finance and Operations
Contact: s.soo@theoaktree.org

Sylvia first joined Oaktree in 2016 as Oaktree’s first Diversity Manager, to help ensure that Oaktree is an inclusive community where everyone can thrive. In 2019, she stepped up as the Head of Finance and Operations. She has a Bachelor of excel spreadsheets and numbers (aka Commerce) from The University of Melbourne, and has previously worked in professional services. When she’s not crunching numbers and working tirelessly as a part of a movement where young people are leading and creating a more just world, she can be found kickboxing, attending book club, and annoying Kurt.

 

Kieu Gavin

Head of International Engagement
Contact: k.gavin@theoaktree.org

Kieu first joined Oaktree in 2018, volunteering in the Policy and Advocacy team before stepping in as Head of International Engagement. She has championed youth empowerment in the aid program through policy, political engagement and sector advocacy. Kieu loves working alongside inspiring young people in the Asia-Pacific region to bolster meaningful youth leadership, and believes that young people are key to enacting sustainable visions for a more equitable world. When not at Oaktree, Kieu can be found studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics) at the University of Melbourne, reading the ever-growing stack of books on her bedside table, and waiting for the Bombers to finally win another Premiership

 

Kurt Callaghan

Head of Community Engagement 
Contact: k.callaghan@theoaktree.org 

Before Kurt stepped in his current role of Head of Community Engagement, he was Oaktree’s longest-running volunteer. At 18 years old, Kurt started volunteering at Oaktree in 2014 as a Community Leader on the End Poverty Road Trip. Six years and six roles later, he’s still here because of his passion and commitment to seeing a world where all young people thrive. When he’s not working hard at creating meaningful opportunities for young people across Australia, Kurt can be found elegantly rollerskating, working on his yearly Survivor application, and annoying Sylvia. 

 

Our partners make our work possible, and strengthen our impact.

Each of these organisations help to enable and grow our work.

 

       

The work of the following photographers is featured throughout our site:

Woodrow Wilson

Sarah Pannell

Lewis Best

Kieran Peek

UC Photography