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Student Gets the Top Job at YMCA

Monday, 27th March 2017 at 8:35 am
Wendy Williams
Community not for profit YMCA NSW is getting a fresh face for the company with an 18-year-old student appointed to CEO – for a day.

Monday, 27th March 2017
at 8:35 am
Wendy Williams



Student Gets the Top Job at YMCA
Monday, 27th March 2017 at 8:35 am

Community not for profit YMCA NSW is getting a fresh face for the company with an 18-year-old student appointed to CEO  –  for a day.

Matt Roussis, who is currently studying project management at Sydney University, is set to head the organisation on Monday 3 April as part of the YMCA’s CEO For a Day initiative, which coincides with National Youth Week.

YMCA associations across Australia will see CEOs “step down” to allow young people aged 18 to 30 lead the organisation and have their say on youth issues and programs.

Roussis, who will get to chair an executive leadership team meeting, meet with staff and partners and provide input to senior management on current and future youth programs and policies, told Pro Bono News he was excited to “have more of a say”.

“I am so excited for the opportunity to be CEO of the YMCA NSW for a day. Not many 18  year olds get to lead a much-loved movement like the Y,” Roussis said.

“I am looking forward to upholding the organisation’s core values while having my own say and providing suggestions about how YMCA NSW can further improve opportunities and experiences for young people.

“I’m also excited to dress up a bit, look a bit fancy.”

Roussis secured the top job through his position as the current YMCA NSW Youth Parliament youth governor elect and a participant of the 2016 YMCA NSW Youth Parliament.

“From that they have offered me a lot of opportunities,” he said.

“I was part of the New South Wales immunisation coalition, where we discussed why immunisation in schools is so important.

“They’re looking to get me another day with Gladys Berejiklian, the premier for New South Wales, so that would be a bit like premier for a day.

“They just called me one day and said: ‘Hey, you’re cool, come be CEO for a day.’ I was like: ‘That sounds awesome.’

“It’s cool that I get these opportunities just to further my leadership skills and develop as a whole person… not many people get to do this, it is very exciting for me and my family.”

Roussis is also a campaigner against domestic violence as a White Ribbon Ambassador and is passionate about health and fitness, including mental health.

He said he already had some ideas about how the YMCA could further help the youth of New South Wales.

“They already do a great job I believe, but I want to maybe suggest a few things about developing the health and wellbeing of the youth in terms of fitness and diet,” he said.

“They do cooking classes already, maybe we can have some ideas to further that.

“I really have a passion about the connection between fitness and mental health so I want to maybe suggest a program to further improve that and make that more accessible for the youth of New South Wales.”

He said CEO For a Day was a great initiative that could help show young people what was possible.

“I think it is great because it gives the youth an opportunity to actually get an experience in such a high level role at such a young age,” he said.

“They might feel intimidated to go into that industry just because they feel like they can’t make it, but if they see that it is achievable, I did it for one day, so why can’t I work towards that, you believe it is an achievable dream perhaps to be CEO one day, or to be a in a high position, or just to work in a national company like the YMCA which is a well-known, successful business which helps many people around Australia, especially the youth.”

Acting YMCA NSW CEO Karen Twitchett said they were very excited to welcome Roussis as CEO.

“This great initiative reflects the YMCA’s belief in the power of inspired young people, like Matt, to positively impact our community,” Twitchett said.

“I am looking forward to learning about what matters to Matt, his friends and peers and supporting him to make a difference.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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