ICfE Youth Council

ICfE Youth Council Logo designed by Aaron Healey

The Illawarra Centre for Enablement (ICfE) proudly presents its inaugural Youth Council.

To develop a leadership mindset and leadership capabilities of youth in the Illawarra, ICfE’s Founder and Principal, Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey formed the Youth Council in March 2021.

Diann will work with the Youth Council on youth projects that involve critical and courageous conversations; research and analysis, and communication about regional issues affecting Illawarra’s youth; recognising youth and their achievements, and on youth projects with other organisations.

Focusing on leadership development for purpose driven impactful change, the Youth Council will learn foundational leadership knowledge and skills, including stakeholder engagement and strategic communication, and be individually and collectively coached and mentored to implement their learning and develop their unique strengths.

As ICfE values, respects and seeks to give agency to underrepresented youth from diverse backgrounds, the Youth Council comprises several diverse youth based in the Illawarra.

New members who join the Youth Council Executive are offered 3 months provisional membership. Pending a full Council vote with Diann, Provisional Members are invited to become permanent members of the Youth Council Executive.

Youth automatically become a General Member of the Youth Council when they attend a YC youth event. General members are updated of future events.


Tristan James, Cooper Taber, Julia Messore & Ben Healey

Youth Council History

Youth Council Members 2021 to 2023


Hi, I’m Alvin. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wollongong. If I were to say where I’m from, I’d say I’m an ABC, Australian Born Chinese, but this wouldn’t be a great summary, as although my parents are Chinese, they were born and raised in Malaysia, adding another layer to the cake of ancestry comprising my cultural identity. To put things simply, I’m an Australian. 

I believe that having a strong cultural identity, and a great sense of belonging are both very important aspects of being an individual, and I’d like to share that with the rest of Australia. Right now, we face many issues including, but not exclusive to these, that our youth are struggling with today. Many marginalised groups are suffering, facing exclusion from society, and lacking a feeling of belonging that we all should have. 

Although you and I might believe in these ideals, there are many who don’t. To make a change, is to have a say, and I hope that we can all work together to tackle these issues and make Australia a more inclusive society, where we can accept each other for who we are.

“We are one
But we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We’ll share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian”

The Seekers – I am Australian


Ben Healey

Hi, I’m Ben. I’m currently in my third year of the Bachelor of Psychological Science at the University of Wollongong. Initially, I did 2 years of Engineering at the University of Wollongong (UOW), but felt that I would be more suited to studying psychology, as I am more interested in understanding and assisting people. I became a Volunteer Lifeline Telephone Crisis Supporter to learn about the challenges people of different ages and backgrounds face and how to best assist them. I completed the Lifeline training course and am currently in stage 3, doing shifts of four hours per fortnight on the phones, supervision and further mandatory professional development. I have volunteered with UOW Pulse and have participated in ocean clean-ups, assisting students through wellness activities, as well as helping with various events held at UOW. My work reflects my ability to lead and be a team player using emotional intelligence to inspire and help others excel.

Ben Healey is the 2022 NSW Regional Youth Taskforce member representing the Illawarra Shoalhaven region, advising the Hon Benjamin Franklin, NSW Minister for Regional Youth.


Tristan James

Hi I’m Tristan. I’m a proud Dharawal Man from the Wollongong region. I am currently in my third year of the Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wollongong. I hope to graduate at the end of 2022 and be employed in the renewable energy sector. I have completed multiple Engineering internships. I am currently working part time at a café local to Wollongong and playing AFL for the Wollongong Lions in my spare time. I am passionate about the local Indigenous community and have been a part of the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre (WIC) since I started university, completing my first mentoring program as a part of the WIC and UOWx this year. I have also been a part of the Indigenous programs, IAES (Indigenous Australian Engineering Schools) where I was introduced to many Indigenous peoples in the Engineering sector, and met with major companies doing work with the IAES. CareerTrackers is another First Nations program I am a part of, which has enabled me to gain employment in Jacobs, an Engineering consultancy firm in North Sydney. This has further contributed to my professional development as I have attended their yearly consult with over 2500 business members. Some of my hobbies include playing team sports, chess and watching the AFL.

BEN JOHNS (Honorary Advisor to Youth Council)

Ben Johns joined the Council in 2021 and in 2022 became an Honorary Advisor to the Youth Council.

Hi, I’m Ben. I’m currently employed with the Flagstaff Group in their Fine Food division as a Production Supervisor. I was promoted to this role in November 2021, having been in the role of Production and Delivery Assistant Leading Hand since July 2020. Prior to that I was Support Worker for the Flagstaff Group SLES ( School Leaver Employment Service) program. I am currently undergoing my Certificate 4 in Leadership and Management with the Australian College of Higher Studies and have completed my Certificate 3 in Individual Support (Disability). Some of my achievements are learning basic Auslan (Australian sign language), overcoming all different challenges during the early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, resuming learning musical instruments, completing work/life goals and overcoming barriers with having a verbal disability (verbal dyspraxia).


Julia Messore
Julia Messore

Julia Messore joined the Youth Council in July 2022.

Hi! My name is Julia, and I am a 22-year-old Uni student.
I have recently completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science/Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology) at the University of Wollongong, which I began in 2018. Currently I work in the field of administration, while simultaneously volunteering my time in the mental health sphere. Completing two degrees which uniquely focus on the development, structure and functioning of mental health and society has fuelled my interest in working with young adults. I have expanded my knowledge and skills through working with Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM), which is an evidence-based program taking place in schools around
Australia which helps students actively engage in topics of mental health through role-play and student-led discussions. I’m also a proud volunteer for Inclusee, which is focused on providing companionship for senior citizens to help reduce loneliness and isolation, while also increasing their social connections and experiences. Volunteering at Hashworth Psychology has also allowed me to develop my counselling skills, as I am a co-facilitator for their DBT programs aimed at individuals with borderline personality disorder. My path has helped me develop a passion for helping individuals, especially youth and women, in accessing the mental health care they deserve. The Youth Council is a fantastic program which will allow me to make a positive difference in the lives of those struggling with mental health issues, and to create lasting change.


Cooper Taber
Cooper Taber

Cooper Taber joined the Youth Council Executive in November 2022 and is our newest Provisional Member at this stage.

Hi, My name is Cooper, I’m 19 and I am from Kiama, NSW.

A few months after I was born, I was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia and had to have a liver transplant when I was 9 months old. I have since had another transplant when I was 14 and in year 9.

I have a big interest in Marketing and business management and I’m looking to be starting a clothing brand in 2023 alongside being an active member of the Youth Council.

I have been a big advocate of giving a voice to the young people of the Illawarra and I look forward to working together with the young community and the Youth Council.


Cellina Zayya joined the ICfE Youth Council in June 2022.

Cellina Zayya
Cellina Zayya

Hello! My name is Cellina and I am 22 years old. I am currently in my fifth year of completing a Bachelor of Economics and Finance/Bachelor of Laws in UOW, expecting to graduate at the end of 2022. Alongside studying, I also work with a financial services expert to assist Australian Financial Services Licensees with their s 912A obligations and to overcome compliance challenges. Recently, I also completed a legal internship at a law firm in Sydney. Although expanding my skills and advancing my career professionally is important to me, empowering others is something I have always been passionate about, particularly those who are less advantaged and those who have had their rights infringed upon. In high school, I was President of Amnesty International and would also tutor refugee children as part of the S.C.A.R.F Mentorship Program which I found very rewarding. With my parents fleeing the war in Iraq, I feel very fortunate to have been able to grow up in Australia with access to education and healthcare and I feel a strong need to give back. Although many issues exist in our society today, I believe that both education and the use of our voices are two very powerful tools to create positive change. Joining the Youth Council is an outstanding platform to implement those tools and to enable youth, women, men, and underrepresented individuals from all backgrounds in the Illawarra to live a purposeful and happy life. 



Amar Sultan

Amar Sultan is a foundational Member of the Youth Council Executive and an Alumni of the Youth Council since November 2022. She served as the Youth Council’s Administrator from March 2021 to December 2022. Amar joined the Youth Council when she was in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of International Studies degree at the University of Wollongong. Amar her degree and will be graduating from UOW in 2023. Amar alongside her studies worked in different areas of the legal field, as she has a keen interest in affecting positive change in the lives of individuals from all walks of life. Coming from a culturally diverse background, she continues to be passionate about recognising and bringing to light, issues affecting people of diverse and marginalised communities.


Ishan Datar

Hi I’m Ishan. I am a graduate from the University of Wollongong with a Master of Business (Management & Innovation and Entrepreneurship). I also have a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and a Diploma in Business Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management. I have worked in different industries like Energy Auditing, Marketing, Facilities Management and in a research centre. My idea to build a decentralised automated closed loop system for growing food, value creation and enabling people to start micro-businesses, got selected into a pre-accelerator program at Catalysr. For the past year I have  been working on a new energy management start-up which assists SMEs to save utilities by about 12-20% using Artificial Intelligence and Smart devices. This also assists businesses in implementing UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. I had tenure at iAccelerate, Wollongong as a part of the “Grow” program. I am also interested in Supply Chain Management, Operations and Philosophy.