We’re an organisation run entirely by passionate young volunteers under the age of 26. There are over 350 people around the country in roles – doing everything from running educational sessions for school students, to creating cutting edge communications, managing our finances or legal requirements or overseeing our corporate engagement. We wish we could list them all, but here are some of our core team!
CEO – Viv Benjamin
Viv’s work with Oaktree over the years is nothing short of inspiring. In 2007, Viv was the National Director of the Make Poverty History Zero Seven Road Trip. It was at this event that Kevin Rudd made the historic commitment to increase aid to 0.5% of national income, which became both Labor and Liberal bipartisan policy for years to come. At 19 years old, Viv founded and directed End Child Slavery, a national initiative which lobbied major chocolate companies certify their products as Fairtade and slave-free. In 2010 she was National Director of the Make Poverty History Road Trip, one of the largest youth antipoverty campaigns in Australian history with one thousand young people from every Federal Electorate joining the cause. Since 2006, Viv has sat on the core decision-making group of the Make Poverty History coalition. Since 2008, Viv has been a Director on the Boards of the Oaktree Foundation and Mustard Leadership Australia. Viv is completing a double degree in Law and International Politics at Monash University.
Deputy CEO – Claire Harman
As Deputy CEO, Claire manages the internal operations of the organisation to ensure we are working towards our strategic vision. Claire is responsible for coordinating our education initiatives, state branches and volunteer experience. Claire is passionate about working with young volunteers, and has recently worked as Director of the University of Melbourne Summer School, a program that aims to provide affordable and equitable education access for students who are from schools that are disadvantaged or under-represented in the Victorian tertiary system. Claire was also President of University College and sits on the College Council.
Chief Financial Officer – Caroline English
As Oaktree’s CFO Caroline is responsible for the organisations financial management and risk management. Caroline has recently graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Commerce and has worked as an intern at accounting firm PwC in the summer of 2010-11. Caroline has volunteered as an english teacher in China in 2008 and in northern Thailand in 2010 as spent two years as the treasurer, then vice-president of UN Youth Victoria. She is passionate about social justice and development as well as the administrative side of working in the not-for-profit sector. Caroline is also the inaugural recipient of the Boston Consulting Group fellowship, awarded to one young women on the Oaktree executive team.
General Manager of Overseas Projects – Jess Jacobson
As General Manager of Overseas Projects Jess oversees and directs all of Oaktree’s international development work in East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and South Africa. She is also responsible for selecting new development initiatives and all our monitoring and evaluation. Before stepping in to this role Jess founded Oaktree’s Tasmanian branch, and was an incredible State Director throughout 2010 and 2011. Jess was the winner of the Southern Cross Young Achiever of the Year Award for Community Service in 2009 and manages a School and Orphanage in India.
General Manager of Live Below the Line – Daniel Lewis-Toakley
At 21, Dan Lewis-Toakley is Oaktree’s General Manager of Campaigns, overseeing Live Below the Line, and all of Oaktree’s public-facing advocacy and communications work. Since becoming involved with Oaktree in 2009, Dan has held senior roles within the campaigning and youth programs portfolios, including managing Oaktree’s university engagement nationally. Dan currently sits on the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY Steering Committee. Prior to his involvement with Oaktree, he held a number of leadership roles at Melbourne High School, and senior roles within the Monash Law Students’ Society.
General Manager of The Roadtrip – Nina O’Connor
As General Manager for the Roadtrip campaign, Nina oversees the strategy, team and operations of Oaktree’s major political campaign, The Roadtrip to End Poverty. The campaign will see over 1000 Ambassadors journey across the country, and over 100,000 Australians put their name to the movement to end poverty. Nina is passionate about the power of young people to achieve political and social change, and about seeing Australian political leaders live up to their responsibilities to the world’s poorest. Previously, Nina led Oaktree’s People and Culture strategy and founded the South Australian branch of the organisation.
ACT State Director – Sarah James
Passionate about people Sarah has been involved with social justice issues most of her life. Inspired by the 2010 Make Poverty History Roadtrip she became the founding director of an arts exhibition in Bendigo celebrating people’s visions for change that is now run annually by other young people in the community. Sarah has been involved with Oaktree since the End Child Slavery Campaign and in 2013 was a participant in the Our Generations Challenge program and the media, advocacy, and politics manager for the ACT Roadtrip to End Poverty. In April 2013 she became the ACT State Director. Currently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at ANU Sarah combines her passion for people and development with her actions and belief that as young people we can end extreme poverty within our lifetime.
NSW State Director – Hilary Viney
Hilary has been actively involved in the fight to end extreme poverty since her first experience with Oaktree as an Ambassador on the 2007 MakePovertyHistory Roadtrip. She was Social Justice Captain during her final year at school before spending her gap year travelling through Egypt and Europe, and working with a community HIV/AIDS project in Kenya. Returning home, Hilary joined Oaktree as a Schools4Schools Mentor before taking on the role of NSW Roadtrip Manager. Completing her final year of a Bachelor of Economics, Hilary is passionate about the power of young people to create social change, and their potential to be the drivers of economic opportunity and growth both at home and in developing countries.
Queensland Director – Nikki Bartlett
Nikki’s passion for humanitarian issues stems from her parent’s commitment to volunteer work, emphasis on travel and welcoming of all people into their home: regardless of race, culture or religion. As a result of this, and after receiving the ACT Board of Secondary Studies Social Justice Award in 2007, Nikki embarked on a gap year, volunteering in a small town in Tanzania. Working alongside community members who were empowering others through education, Nikki returned to Australia inspired to make a difference in a tangible and immediate way. Currently completing the final year of her Development studies degree, and leading the Oaktree branch in QLD, Nikki is aligning her passion with deliberate action on behalf of the world’s poor and inspiring a new generation to take up the fight.
South Australia Director – Now hiring.
Tasmanian Director – Robert Hortle
Rob has been involved in social justice and international development since he was 7, when his family spent more than two years volunteering on a remote island in Tonga. He’s has been with Oaktree Tasmania since its genesis in 2009, when founding Director Jess Jacobson used packet-mix muffins to lure new volunteers to meetings on her lounge room floor. After volunteering as Operations Manager for the Tassie leg of the 2010 Make Poverty History Roadtrip and Facilitator with the first ever Tasmanian Generate program, Rob took on the role of Tasmanian Director in July 2011. In 2012, Rob was a joint winner of the Human Rights Week Tasmania Youth Award for his work with Oaktree and The Big Issue’s Community Street Soccer Program. Rob is currently completing an Honours thesis on the aid modality ‘general budget support’ and its relevance to Australia’s development relationship with Indonesia.
Victorian Director – Hugo Lamb
As the Victorian Director, Hugo is responsible for a volunteer base of over 100 young volunteers. He believes passionately in the ability of young people to shape their futures and in doing so, shaping the future to end extreme poverty. Hugo has lived in Thailand, Burma, The United States, Former Yugoslavia and Switzerland and worked on projects in remote communities as far flung as Romania, Czech Republic and Morrocco. Hugo has recently graduated with a Masters in International Politics, and is also the founder and director of the Gilmore Society, a non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank of dedicated young professionals.
Western Australia Director – Simon Bunstead
Simon’s passion for ending extreme poverty follows his commitment to address injustice and help those in need. Prior to joining Oaktree he worked with young people while completing a Bachelor of Engineering and realised the important place they have to bring change to the world. After graduating and working in his profession he saw the impact that advocacy had in support of Australia’s foreign aid. Driven by his passion for empowering young people as today’s leaders and the potential that advocacy has for bringing large-scale change to poverty he joined Oaktree. As the Western Australia Director, he believes that young people will lead the movement to end poverty in our lifetime.