Johllene was part of the founding team of the Kokoda Youth Foundation being our first part-time employee back in 2006. In her first 5 years, Johllene experienced every role within our organisation from Association Secretary to Event Manager and even volunteer Youth leader. Johllene has first-hand knowledge of what it is like to take on the ‘Challenge’ having completed the 96km Gold Coast course in 2008 and leading 28 of our Kokoda kids in PNG later that year.

In 2011 Johllene took a break from the Foundation to pursue her own business, enabling her to spend more time with her then young family. Johllene has returned to the Foundation in 2021 as Chief Executive Officer and brings a wealth of knowledge and skills in business management and Government relations. In her spare time Johllene enjoys fishing, boating and spending time with family.

Nikki has nearly 30 years’ experience of office administration and management within the corporate, small business and political environments. She has a wealth of knowledge in developing and implementing systems and processes that enable offices and teams to achieve the highest performance and produce excellent results. In her spare time Nikki enjoys hanging out with her young family going camping, and attending and cheering on their sporting efforts. Most weekends you will also find her down at the local netball courts where she is a passionate advocate for the sport, and volunteers her time as a Coach and is President of a netball club she founded.

Mel has worked in Accounts and Administration in various industries for the past 20 years, with a focus on working within the Sports and Not-for-profit sectors since relocating from Sydney to the Gold Coast in 2016.
Mel loves to spend her weekends on the beach with her family, training in Muay-Thai and is also an Active Volunteer Life Saver.

Nicola arrived at the Foundation after 13 years working within government schools, in IT, communications and marketing. Her role at KYF continues her passion for watching children grow, and sharing their journey of excitement and discovery with a wider audience.

Nicola comes from a multicultural family and has lived and worked overseas. She is inspired by the Foundation’s embrace of people from all different backgrounds and all walks of life.

In her spare time, Nicola enjoys gardening, photography, podcasting and reading texts on child and personality development.


Amy has a natural passion for events and marketing and is also a lover of the great Australian outdoors and enjoys camping and exploring the wilderness. But above all, Amy is driven by a deep desire to help others. She is passionate about making a positive impact in the world and is always looking for ways to give back to the community. Amy also hopes to inspire and empower others to do their best.

Andy has a background in the logistics and supply of equipment for major events in England that include the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. After relocating to Australia in 2005, Andy worked on local events including the Gold Coast 500, Roxy Pro, Splendor in the Grass and Gympie Muster.

In his spare time, Andy is a keen Liverpool FC fan and has mentored young players over the past 20 years to help them work towards their own footballing aspirations. In his spare time, Andy enjoys watching the (English Premier League) football and spending quality time with his wife, 2 daughters and, very importantly, Alfie the family pet dog.

Ben joins the Kokoda team with an extensive background in the tourism and technology sector focusing on operations and training for volunteers. He gets immense joy in delivering the Kokoda Challenge Events and seeing teams push pass their physical limits and achieving their goal together.

Outside of the office you will find him running around after two young crazy boys, is studying to become a certified Youth Worker or listening to the lasted podcast on Military History.

Tara is keen to join the Kokoda Youth Foundation team with a background in Sports, specifically working in tennis for the last 6 years.

She has previously worked at Tennis Australia in event operations and tournament organisation with Tennis World. Tara loves working in events as she loves the excitement that the participants bring at the beginning of the event, and the happiness and joy that they experience when finishing the event. She can’t wait to experience many more in the future!   

 Away from the Kokoda Youth Foundation you will find Tara training for her next triathlon or endurance event and spending time with her friends and family.

Chris, in recent years, has been developing himself professionally and experientially in youth mentoring, rite of passage, men’s work and counselling, and is now a qualified counsellor and youth worker and is certified in rites of passage. In his role as the Youth Program Coordinator – On The Right Track at the Kokoda Youth Foundation, Chris is excited to apply a preventative approach to guide, support, role model and journey with youth while helping them realise their potential.

Prior to embarking on his journey of personal development and education, Chris spent two decades applying his knowledge and expertise in business to start-up and manage numerous businesses, including an Industrial Abseiling organisation and indoor trampoline centres. Chris is a keen surfer who loves the ocean and relishes every opportunity to spend time with his beautiful wife and young adult daughters on our stunning Gold Coast beaches.

Keith has joined the Kokoda team having come from an experienced background in Youth/Community Development with PCYC Working exclusively with Indigenous Communities throughout Queensland with a focus on community development, facilitated through capacity building initiatives, lead to his passion for social inclusion. His desire for personal development with Indigenous youth was enhanced through the development and delivery of the Deadly Duke’s program; a Cultural variant of the internationally acclaimed Duke of Edinburgh Award Australia, to which many honours were claimed. The program gained local, national, and international recognition to where Buckingham Palace was made aware of the young people influencing their community during a NAIDOC Celebration. Their aspiring leadership, return to Country and positive Role modelling lead to some participants having an exclusive engagement with His Royal Highness Prince Edward in recognition and celebration in 2014.

Keith has worked closely with QPS to achieve this outcome and has managed several Indigenous PCYC Clubs within remote and or discrete Communities including Mornington Island, Palm Island and Doomadgee. one of his most memorable times was at Lockhart River where he was invited to travel and camp with the community during the Laura dance festival in 2015.

In 2019 Keith transitioned to Project Booyah to work with disadvantaged and high-risk youth caught in the criminal youth justice system as an alternative strategy to reduce or prevent recidivism and incarceration. Keith Served with the Royal Australian Air Force as an Airfield Defence Guard (ADG) for a period of 10 years where he served overseas including deployment to the Middle East and spent time in Iraq 2005. The structure and discipline inherited as a member of the Australian Defence Force has provided the values utilised to model and mentor youth /community programs. It is this framework aligning with Kokoda Youth Foundation that has seen Keith join our team.


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