A pioneer of the youth sector in Australia, Jan has dedicated most of her working life to social change and encouraging young people to give back and invest their talents in their communities and things they are passionate about. In March 2014 Jan received the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney, in recognition of her significant contribution to young people and policy in Australia. In 2012, Jan was named the inaugural Australian Financial Review & Westpac Group ‘Woman of Influence 2012’.
In 2000 she was awarded membership of the Order of Australia for services to children and young people and in 1999 received a fellowship for leadership and innovation to the Peter Drucker Foundation in the US. Jan is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014). Before joining FYA, Jan was Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia, which aims to increase the impact of the Australian social sector.
Prior to this, Jan founded the CREATE Foundation, the national consumer body for children and young people in out of home care. Jan has contributed to the establishment of many social change organisations in Australia and served on a wide range of Boards.
She is currently Member, RMIT College of Business Industry Advisory Board; Chair, Melbourne Social Equity Institute (University of Melbourne) Advisory Board; Member, Malthouse Theatre Board; a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) and Patron of Vanish and Children’s Ground.