About Us

As an initiative of HeadQuarters Australia, The Man Cave empowers a generation of boys and young men with the social and emotional skills to lead a life of connection, purpose and positive impact.

The Man Cave is a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence program for boys and young men. Through workshops, camps and keynotes we explore healthy masculinity, respectful relationships and gender equality to better support the successful transition from boyhood to adulthood.

We fundamentally believe that instead of crisis management and band-aid solutions, we must focus on developing social and emotional strategies that become life-long tools for boys and young men.

By teaching boys and young men to take action when they’re feeling lonely, by protecting and cultivating self-esteem, by developing interpersonal skills, it is possible for our boys and young men to not only build resilience but develop the social and emotional skills to lead a life of connection, purpose and positive impact.

Our Youth Won’t Just Survive, They Will Thrive.

The Team

Hunter Johnson

CEO, HeadQuarters Australia

Hunter Johnson is CEO of HeadQuarters Australia (HQ). Hunter has a diverse background in emotional intelligence, youth leadership and social entrepreneurship. Through this work, Hunter has facilitated youth-work programs with over 10,000 young Australians across the country. Previously, Hunter has worked in the FYA Innovation Team, leading their incubator program for Australia’s brightest social entrepreneurs; Advisor to the Nexus Youth Summit, a global movement of over 2,500 young philanthropists collaborating to fast-track social change; and Co-Founder of Kids in Philanthropy, which has raised over $300,000 for other kids in need. Hunter is a 2017 Finalist in the Leadership Category of the Victorian Young Achievers Awards and a nominee for the 2017 Young Australian of the Year Awards.

Jamin Heppell

Director of Programs, HeadQuarters Australia

Jamin Heppell is Director of Programs at HeadQuarters Australia (HQ). Jamin has always been passionate about leadership, mental health and wellness having founded Game Changers Australia, which has trained and supported over 2500 young leaders to reshape sporting culture with a particular emphasis on improving mental health. Also, Healthy Communities Australia, a fitness company that improves the wellness of parents so they can live positively influence their children. Jamin has received $130,000 in funding from the State Government and $30,000 from VicHealth to support these initiatives. Jamin was a 2016 Finalist in the Leadership and Well-being Categories of the Victorian Young Achievers Award.

Matt Defina

Head of Program Design

Matt Defina is Head of Program Design at The Man Cave. Having completed a Master of Organisational Psychology in 2017, Matt is responsible for designing and delivering ethically-sound and evidence-based programs. Matt has been involved in designing and delivering similar programs at PwC, Business Olympian, Pitcher Partners, Beyond Story and Hockey Victoria. His research to date has focused on understanding the balance of gender attributes required to be an effective modern leader and how to reduce burnout and increase engagement in organisations. This research has equipped Matt with a strong understanding of how social and gender roles impact human behaviour and how to positively influence human behaviour at a systematic level. Matt is constantly finding ways to push himself beyond his comfort zone and has Scuba Dived around the world and trekked to Mount Everest Base Camp.

David Verdugo

Partnerships Manager
David Verdugo is our Partnerships manager at The Man Cave. Having worked with organisation such as Success Integrated, Game Changers Australia, Doxa, Employment Plus and many more, David has made an impact on a wide range of people from all demographics. David’s passion for working with young people started over 7 years ago as an educator and speaker in the health and fitness industry. David realised that many of the challenges adults are going through can be prevented with the right education to young people and has since dedicated his efforts in the service to tackling these challenges. David has worked with over 140 schools across Australia, reaching over 45000 young people with his seminars and workshops.

Errol Tyson

Digital Media & Communications Manager, HeadQuarters Australia

Coming from a background in social change filmmaking, Errol has worked extensively in the Campaigns and International Engagement sector at Oaktree. Independent projects that Errol has worked on include the Nepal Nonfiction Visual Storytelling Festival, producing & directing a documentary surrounding mental health in the workplace, and involvement with Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.  In addition to video production, Errol has also led local programs for YMCA Victoria Youth Services, including community & school based skateboarding events and clinics.