The Youth Focus Board performs essential governance and strategy functions for the organisation. We have been deliberate in our recruitment of talented, committed and passionate Directors with complementary skill sets. It’s important to us that each Director brings with them not just corporate acumen and commercial experience, but also an understanding and alliance with our organisational values: compassion, commitment, integrity and a ‘client-first’ focus.
A partner at Herbert Smith Freehills’ Perth practice, David specialises in takeovers, equity capital markets and general corporate acquisitions, as well as reconstructions and disposals.
David has worked for HSF in its Melbourne, London and Perth offices and is a member of the national advisory team. David is lead lecturer in the Perth Mergers and Acquisitions Course run by the Financial Services Institute of Australia and is one of the facilitators at the AICD Company Directors course.
Chief Executive Officer & Director
As the Chief Executive Officer of Western Australia’s leading youth mental health agency, Youth Focus, Mr Papakotsias is committed to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for young people.
Since joining Youth Focus in January 2019, he has embarked on significant reform to diversify the organisation’s programs, expand its reach and provide comprehensive wrap-around services for young people across the state.
Originally trained as a psychiatric nurse, Mr Papakotsias has significant experience in leadership roles, particularly across the mental health sector, and has actively advocated for improved mental health policies and programs for much of his career.
In his previous role as chief executive officer at Neami National, Mr Papakotsias steered the organisation through significant growth, increasing the business from two staff – himself and a part-time administration role – to a workforce of more than 1000 supporting 9000 people across five states.
He worked at Neami for 27 years providing community-based mental health services, helping people to improve wellbeing and live independently. Neami is now one of Australia’s largest and most successful specialist mental health non-government organisations.
Mr Papakotsias served as a director of Housing Choices Australia, a national provider of affordable housing, since 2011 and has held the position of chair since 2014.
In addition, he was a director of Mental Health Australia from 2011 to 2018 and the chair of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee between 2014 and 2018.
Mr Papakotsias holds a Graduate Diploma of Business (Health Services Management) from RMIT University and has attended three residential leadership programs at Harvard Business School.
He has also served on numerous other Boards including One the Line, VICSERV (now called Mental Health Victoria) and Mental Health Coordinating Council.
Dean Hely is the Managing Partner of Lavan. He is also the lead partner of Lavan Commercial Advice and Litigation Group.
Dean Hely was admitted as a partner of Lavan’s predecessor firm, Phillips Fox Perth, in November 1999. He was deputy managing partner of that firm and then of Lavan from 2002 to 31 January 2013. Dean became managing partner of Lavan on 1 February 2013.
Dean has over 25 years’ experience working in corporate reconstructions, insolvency and commercial litigation. He has worked on numerous major company reconstructions including The Croesus Group, Bulong Operations Ply Ltd, The Mead Group and the merger between StateWest Credit Society Ltd and Home Building Society Ltd.
This experience, together with Dean’s work in general litigation; his work for insolvency and reconstruction firms such as McGrathNicol, KordaMentha, Pitcher Partners, Taylor Woodings and Deloitte; and with financial institutions like Westpac Banking Corporation, St. George Bank, National Australia Bank Limited, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Bank of Queensland Limited, Suncorp and other large financiers, has provided Dean with extensive experience in litigation and general corporate matters.
Fiona Lander is a Partner with Deloitte Australia, working in the Public Sector Consulting area.
She was previously an Executive General Manager with Perth Airport where she had responsibility for a range of functions over time. Prior to this, Fiona held a range of Senior Executive roles in human service portfolios in the State Government for over a decade.
Fiona has a strong interest in suicide prevention and lead the Office for Youth Affairs for many years. She worked closely with the then Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention, piloting community and peer support programs in regional Western Australia and conducting research into Aboriginal youth suicide prevention and men’s help-seeking behaviours. More recently, her role in the Department for Child Protection encompassed policy and practice, with a focus on vulnerable children and young people.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science), an Executive Master of Public Administration and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Fiona holds a number of non-executive director Board positions including Vice President at Meerilinga Young Children’s Foundation and Governing Council Member at South Metropolitan TAFE.
As Chief Executive Officer, Paul Larsen oversees the management of Arc Infrastructure’s (formerly Brookfield Rail) network across the southern half of Western Australia.
Paul is passionate about rail in this State, and is committed to positioning Arc Infrastructure to secure an exciting future for its customers, employees, shareholders and everyone affected by how well the railway performs. He joined the company in 2003 and held several senior commercial positions prior to taking on the leadership role in April 2008.
Paul has since led the transformation of the business with more than $2 billion invested by Arc Infrastructure to deliver an upgraded and modernised railway that has supported a 113% increase of tonnes transported on the rail network. This achievement was recognised by the international rail industry with the 2014 award for corporate innovation and excellence.
Phil is currently an Associate Director in the Taxation division of BDO WA.
Prior to commencing at BDO, Phil had spent 26 years at KPMG in Perth, the last 17 years as a partner.
Phil has a Bachelor of Business from Curtin, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is also an Accredited Mediator with the Resolution Institute of Australia. He is a member of CPA Australia and a Certified Tax Adviser with the Taxation Institute of Australia.
Phil has a resounding empathy with the Youth Focus mission, being a father to six children and having seen most things that raising teenagers can bring.
He also rides a bike and has completed 8 Hawaiian Rides for Youth. He is currently Chairman of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth Organising Committee and is a Director of Dismantle Inc.
If you are in an emotional crisis and require urgent support, please contact:
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you are looking for more information and online support, please refer to the following online resources: