Our People

Founders

Melissa & Peter McGuinness

In 2012, Melissa and Peter’s son, Jordan, caused the deaths of four innocent young people in a car crash in which he also died. He was speeding and under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.

In 2017, Melissa was invited by the Queensland Police Service to address a SAVE Day Road Safety event. Since then, YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety has been engaged by schools, councils, police and community organisations around Australia to uplift young people as advocates of changed driving behaviours.

Melissa was formerly an experienced Operations Manager. Peter operated a Strategic Development Consultancy and is an alumnus of the SCU MBA Program and Business School. Together, they manage and administer YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety.

The McGuinness’ have two daughters, Montana, 18, and Kitty, 11.

Board of Directors

David Bliss

David is an extensively experienced educator – currently Principal of St Andrews Lutheran College on the Gold Coast and formerly Executive Director of Lutheran Education Queensland.

He is a member of the Queensland Council of Teachers Board and the Independent Schools Queensland Board. David is an acknowledged authority on contemporary practice in corporate governance as a graduate of the prestigious Company Directors course of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Leanne Smyth

Leanne holds a Bachelor of Laws from Sydney University and is currently Manager Legal Quality Assurance and Compliance at IAG Insurance.

She has professional specialisations in Compliance, Governance, Quality Assurance and Risk Assessment. Leanne has a career interest and personal commitment to building safer communities.

Kaylee Farrington

Kaylee is a marketing professional with strong executive experience in the not-for-profit, higher education, sport and infrastructure sectors.

Kaylee is professionally qualified with a Bachelor of Communications from Bond University and she is a committed volunteer for several community and social causes. She also brings the perspectives of personal experience with road trauma to her role as a non-executive director.

Todd Cole

Todd holds Bachelor Degrees in both Commerce and International Business. He is an accredited Financial Analyst, Planner and Advisor; and an Associate at Wilsons Advisory.

Todd’s expertise in governance, budget & forecasting oversight, and financial probity is invaluable to auditing, independence and due diligence. He is active in Youth community engagement and has a genuine personal investment in youth road safety.

Ambassadors

Georgie Gardner

Georgie is one of the country’s best known and most popular television presenters, anchoring Channel Nine’s 6pm bulletin on Friday and Saturday nights, and formerly host of Nine’s hugely popular breakfast show, TODAY.

She studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, completing an associate diploma in performing arts and majoring in media performance.

Georgie is passionate about charities relating to young people and in addition to her role with YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety, is an ambassador for Red Kite, School for Life, and the Raise Foundation.

Georgie is mother to Bronte and Angus, and along with her husband Tim, they reside in Sydney.

Georgie says of YOU CHOOSE:

“Throughout my years in journalism, one of the most heartbreaking and recurring issues we report on is road trauma – especially youth fatalities.

I continue to be saddened by the far-reaching consequences of bad choices and poor driving habits on our roads. That’s why I was so profoundly moved when I met Melissa McGuinness and learned of the personal back-story behind the founding of the YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety programme.

It is raw and relatable, particularly among young people. YOU CHOOSE goes beyond changed driving behaviours. It’s fast becoming a social movement which taps into the potential of the next generation to be the first to shape a real shift in attitude. It’s an opportunity for young people to act personally among their peers to measurably reduce the road toll….

Reckless driving isn’t luck. It’s choice. And we can all play our part in saving lives by being strident with the message ‘Own the Choice Own the Outcome’.

I’m deeply inspired by Melissa and Peter’s mission to enact change in the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy. She is an exceptional woman and in my role as ambassador I’m motivated to help keep raising awareness about the YOU CHOOSE programme and encourage our precious young people to change driving behaviours.”

Wil Massara

One of the most driven, energetic, gifted and visionary 18-year-olds in Australia, Wil is CEO of Youth Leadership Academy Australia.

YLAA seeks to build a positively sustainable future through youth leadership by running events around Australia which are designed and executed by youth, for youth. These transformative leadership curricula include State Youth Leadership Conferences, School Programs and Community Engagement Programs.

Wil is a keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and youth advocate/consultant to the likes of the Bendigo Bank and the Magic Moments Foundation. He is the recipient of several awards, including the ‘Regan Hillyer International 2018 Young Philanthropist Scholarship’ and ‘WA Youth of the Year Finalist’.

Wil on YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety:

“As a teenager who has just received my licence, I am well aware that while all young drivers know what reckless driving is; few of us truly appreciate the consequences of poor choices on our families and the families of others. 

Throughout my years of schooling, we have had many lectures regarding safe driving habits that might stick for the short term. But what Melissa, Peter and YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety programs do so incredibly well, is to create real lasting impact on students which has a ripple effect throughout our communities.  

YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety programs do not lecture students, they empower students with a desire to be ambassadors of better driving behaviours. 

Melissa and Peter have invested much time and energy into creating a program that is actually saving lives and I am honoured to stand by the YOU CHOOSE Youth Road Safety team as an ambassador.”

Book the program

Together, we can reduce youth road trauma with immediate effect. Book YOU CHOOSE at your school or club today.