Our Chief Executive Officer

Our CEO brings a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector

Christopher John commenced as YFS CEO in July 2023. He brings 17 years of experience as a CEO in the not-for-profit sector. Prior CEO roles include Bloomhill Cancer Care Ltd, Prince’s Trust Australia Ltd, United Synergies Ltd (now YouTurn Ltd) and Lifeline Hobart Inc (now Lifeline Tasmania Ltd). Christopher was also a Non-Executive Director with PeakCare Queensland and Suicide Prevention Australia Ltd.

Christopher’s commitment to reducing social disadvantage and improving quality of life aligns with YFS’ vision, purpose and values.

Christopher has a Master of Management (Community) and is a GAICD member.

 Our Board 

On the YFS Board are business and community leaders from the greater Brisbane region.

Philip Beresford



Philip has 30 years’ global experience working for several large corporations within the investments and technology sectors. As an executive he has been charged with the development and implementation of strategic growth strategies, and has advised organisations on product development, organisational structure and change programs.

Philip is an experienced non-executive director and brings to the Board a focus on strategy, organisational structure, risk management and corporate governance.

Cher Bartlett

M.Laws, B.Laws, B.Bus

Cher graduated from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2005 with a Master of Law. She also holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Business from Southern Cross University. Cher is currently the Head of Legal – Upstream & Development at Origin Energy. Cher’s previous roles at Origin Energy include Senior Corporate Lawyer and Corporate Lawyer – Planning and Environment. Cher is passionate about the law with solid experience as a trusted legal advisor to senior executives and leading a team to deliver high quality and cost-effective legal solutions.

Special responsibility
Risk and Audit Committee

Helen Weissenberger


Helen has 35 years of experience as a finance and governance executive working in the following profit and not-for-profit sectors - manufacturing, health, education and the arts.

She has 20 years of experience as a non-executive director in the not-for-profit sector and brings expertise in financial management, strategic planning, board governance, stakeholder engagement and leadership development to the YFS Board. She is passionate about building authentic connections with all key stakeholders.

Special responsibility
Risk and Audit Committee

Patrick Turner

Deputy Chair
B.Laws, B.A. (Hons), MAICD

Patrick is a Senior Associate in employment and industrial law at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Occupational and Discipline Law Committee. Patrick has previously worked for the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service and a former Deputy Premier.

Fiona Murcott

B.A. (Journalism and Government), Grad.Dip. Professional Communication (Public Relations)

Fiona has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, stakeholder engagement and journalism, and has been running a successful Brisbane public relations consultancy since 2004. She brings to the YFS board marketing expertise in both the private and not-for-profit sectors, including in the areas of business and marketing strategy, communication campaigns, fundraising and sponsorships, social-impact assessment and management, stakeholder and community engagement, and government and media relations.

Special responsibility
Social Enterprise Working Group

Simon James


Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Business, FAICD

With a background in healthcare, community services and sports management, Simon brings to the YFS Board 12 years of executive leadership experience and six years of Board experience as a non-executive director in the profit and not-for-profit sectors. He has taken on executive roles with the Brisbane South Primary Health Network, Open Minds, HOCA and two of Australia’s largest hospital operators.

Special responsibility
Property and Investment Working Group

Peter Forday

Peter Forday has 15 years experience in direct service delivery and more than 30 years on not-for-profit boards and on strategic advisory committees.

He is well respected across community and government sectors for his commitment to human rights, social justice and community cohesion. Past roles include Logan Youth Justice Manager, MultiLink’s CEO, Dream It Up Director and Logan Chamber of Commerce Life Member. In addition to his current community roles, Peter operates a small boutique consultancy with a particular focus on leadership, change and stakeholder engagement.

Janelle Thurlby

Janelle has had a long career in Queensland Treasury, with responsibility for complex policy areas including communities, housing, justice and intergovernmental relations. Within Treasury she advocated for greater collaboration between government agencies and the social sector. She was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding contribution to financial management and planning.

Janelle brings to the Board experience in policy development, budget reporting and stakeholder management.