Our People

“We are capable of incredible feats, but they won’t come without focused effort, living our values, consistent feedback, and expert guidance.”

 

The Team

Hunter Johnson
CEO

“Hunter would you just stop talking in class?!” These were familiar words for a cheeky teenage Hunter, who once received twenty-seven detentions in Year 9. Despite his non-conformist nature, Hunter grew up in a family that always encouraged him to be useful and get up to something that matters. It took Hunter a little time to work out what was important to him but in 2014, alongside his best mate, he co-founded The Man Cave and has since channelled his passion and energy into the organisations success.

With a background in emotional intelligence, facilitation, and social entrepreneurship, Hunter has worked with tens of thousands of young people across Australia and is constantly inspired by their audacity and brilliance. Hunter’s work has led him to speak around the world including presenting at the United Nations, Government House, the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Town Hall, Graduation Ceremonies and various Universities.  Hunter has been recognised as a Finalist for the 2020 Young Australian of the Year Awards (VIC), listed as one of Harper’s Bazaar’s “Visionary Men of 2019”, named a 2018 Queen’s Young Leader by Her Majesty The Queen, and 2018 Winner of the EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Southern Region).

Joel Lazer
Head of Operations

BA (Creative Writing) (Hons) / LLB (Hons) 

Inspired by his Jewish tradition which implores him to make a meaningful difference, Joel has always had a deep desire to effect systemic change where it is most needed. Prompted by the rise of the #MeToo movement, he noticed that while many men were not living up to their potential – harming others and themselves – there was hope for change if we worked effectively with a new generation of boys and young men. 

Joel brings to his role rigorous training in commercial law, years of experience in educational program design, youth leadership and human rights, as well as strategic judgment, humour, perseverance, curiosity and an unyielding commitment to evidence-based practice.

He was awarded the Ron Castan Young Humanitarian Award (2019), won’t play table tennis with anyone who calls it “ping pong”, and has published a few poems that, so far, no one has noticed (except his mother who thinks they’re outstanding).

Matt Defina
Head of Programs

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, Media & Communications)
Graduate Diploma of Psychology
Masters of Psychology (Organisational)
Registered Psychologist (Organisational) (PSY00020208607)

Growing up between adventures in the beaches, bush and suburbs of Victoria, Matt has been driven to seek out wholesome and challenging experiences from a young age. Inspired by endless trips skiing, scuba diving, hiking and traveling, Matt has always been driven to find the potential in himself and others and to create environments where people can flourish. Through The Man Cave, Matt now wants to give young men experiences that will expand their view of what is possible in life, for themselves and in their relationships with others.

While Matt initially worked in corporate consulting, his desire to contribute directly to social change and lead a values-aligned life lead Matt to throw in a promising business career and take up a full-time role at The Man Cave. Now a registered Psychologist (Organisation), Matt used his studies to gain knowledge and skills in ethical psychology practice, gender stereotypes, leadership, and how to create organisations and communities that bring out the best in people. 

Always up early and drinking a good cup of coffee, Matt has continued to seek out new challenges and has trekked to Mount Everest Base Camp, completed a 10 Day Vipassana silent meditation retreat and recently completed his first Ironman Triathlon in just over 10 hours.

Al Green
Manager of Facilitator Development

Coming from a strong background in drama, Al values and focuses heavily on creative, experiential training to explore and understand the human condition. He honed his skills through 7 years at The Reach Foundation as a Facilitator, Trainer and Culture Leader, working with over 40,000 young people across Australia and creating and delivering hundreds of workshops. His experience also spans keynote presentations, MC’ing and facilitating workshops from graduate programs to CEOs in the corporate space exploring authentic leadership and positive organisational culture.

In his spare time, Al hosts a creative performance space in a blanket fort, is the 2012 Australasian champion of Wall Ball and has an ongoing interactive sound project focussed on lucid dreaming.

Katie Mcloud
School Engagement Coordinator

Katie has an extensive background in retail and the realities of delivering outcomes that genuinely meet customer needs.

More recently Katie has applied those skills to the not-for-profit sector through her stakeholder engagement role at ShareGift Australia where she built strategic relationships with top ASX-listed companies and a number of major charities.

Katie is a mother of two teenage boys. Originating from a family of all girls, Katie experiences every day of motherhood as a revelation. As a parent, Katie has direct experience helping her boys navigate the complexities of high school and adolescence.

Katie is a curious seeker of new information, with a personal interest in global politics and global equity. She reads broadly and enjoys indulging in a good crime novel.

Angelica Avila-Lemos
Programs Coordinator

Angelica is passionate about effective communication, operations and customer care. She has come into The Man Cave after running her own Zumba Fitness business for 9 years in school and community settings. She studied health promotion at university and strongly believes in prevention over cure – one of the many reasons she is passionate about the work The Man Cave does. Angelica enjoys being creative about how to ensure program coordination is effective and rewarding for the boys, teachers, parents and the team at The Man Cave. Angelica can speak Spanish, loves salsa dancing, dogs and personal development courses.

Dan Datnow-Jamieson
Operations Coordinator

Daniel is an energetic creative who loves to solve a good problem with a smile. He has a background directing brands in the music industry, covering communications, creative direction, design, operations and event management. When he’s not in the office, you can find him at home in the studio recharging his batteries and working on his next gig.

Daniel feels a strong calling to the work of The Man Cave, openly acknowledging the positive impact such a program would have had on his own time at school. When The Man Cave put out the call for a Communications Manager in May 2019, Daniel saw the perfect opportunity to give back to others by combining his interests and experience for this value-driven cause.

During his tenure as Communications Manager, Daniel discovered a passion for designing and creating data-driven systems that enhance the everyday functioning of our organization. As of January 2020, Daniel has naturally shifted his focus to the role of Operations Coordinator, where he is responsible for developing the backend systems that facilitate our growth as we expand our work and impact more young men in Australia.

Georgie Mason
Programs Evaluation Assistant

Georgie is passionate about working with young people and building trusted relationships. These interests have led Georgie to volunteer and work with diverse communities across Australia including as a Residential Mentor at Yiramalay Studio School – a rural Western Australian boarding school for Indigenous students as well as working as a support worker for teenagers with disabilities.

Georgie’s love for teaching, sport and the ocean have also led her to continue volunteering as a Starfish Nipper trainer, teaching young people with disabilities beach safety and surf life-saving skills.

Outside of work, Georgie loves spending time with her family and friends, travelling most recently through Europe and deepening her knowledge of Psychology – a favourite subject at school and her major at University.

Rose Hartley
Research & Impact Coordinator

Coming from a diverse background in social change work and psychology, Rose is energised by businesses that are shifting us towards a more emotionally conscious, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable world. She has a colourful background including working as a junior strategy consultant, co-founding her own preventative mental health program for Year 12 students, working at the United Nations Headquarters in water justice, and creating documentaries in Asia. She is currently the Artist in Residence for the City of Yarra where she is expanding her practise in film photography. Rose is a voracious reader and spends ample time in the garden.

Sam McCully
Chief Assistant to the CEO

PhD from the Academy of Life

Sam has only a vague recollection of going to school but does recall she was keen to wrap up high school and get on with life. Jump forward 30 (and some) years and aside from her significant background & experience as a personal/executive assistant, Sam spent much of her early career in the not-for-profit sector working in services for children/young people, people with a disability and for women.

Known for her high attention to detail, Sam is highly organised – a scheduling & logistics guru – and not only works to ensure our CEO is where he needs to be, when he needs to be there, she also supports the TMC team when extra help is needed.

In her spare time, Sam LOVES to travel – with a long bucket list of countries yet to be visited, Sam will stop at nothing to tick off the list whenever she can take the time to get away.

Meet our incredible facilitators.

These guys are on the frontline delivering programs with hundreds of boys each week.

The Board

Michaela Healey
Director

Michaela is a founder of the International Women’s Forum Australia, a member of Chief Executive Women and Vice President of Berry Street, Victoria’s leading provider of care and support for children who have experienced trauma or family difficulties. She was previously Group Executive, People Communications & Governance at the National Australia Bank Group, responsible for people, leadership, culture, corporate responsibility, government affairs, communications, legal and governance.

Michaela was also a founding director of ShareGift Australia, a not-for-profit that enables shareholders to convert their shares into cash for tax deductible donations to a charity of their choice, and an advocate in the establishment of the Big Issue Homes for Homes initiative. As a mother of a teenage son and a director of Berry Street, Michaela is aware of the pressures and challenges young men face and the importance of the development of skills to navigate life. After many years in board rooms Michaela now seeks to spend more time out in nature on her stand up paddle board or in her vegetable garden. Michaela is also an aspiring apiarist and yogi.

Ian Ward-Ambler
Chair

Ian contributes widely to the community, and carefully considers each role before accepting. Mission alignment for him is imperative but it’s also about ensuring he can make a contribution (and learn much in the process!) In addition to Chair and Board Director at The Man Cave, Ian is Deputy Chair, Voyages Indigenous Tourism (Ayers Rock Resort) and Chair, Mutitjulu Foundation; Trustee Director and Investment Committee member, CBA Group Superannuation Fund; Board member and Chair, Finance and Audit Committee at Trinity College; Council Member and Chair, Investment Management Committee at Melbourne Grammar School; Advisory Board Member, Indigenous Leadership, Excellence and Achievement Program (I-LEAP) at Melbourne University; and Director, Foundation Five Nine.

Ian is also an executive coach.

Ian spent much of his career in Finance, retiring in 2012 from Goldman Sachs, as Head of the Asset Management Division. He is the former Chair of Hands on Learning and former Vice Chair of ANROWS. Ian is a family man, married with four children. His passions include travel, golf and enjoying life to the fullest.