HIghway Foundation was founded in the midst of the first Melbourne COVID lockdown in August 2020. At that time, Lela McGregor was overwhelmed by the need for her services in helping people adapt to a new way of working and life. People were starting to ask big questions and they had the time to explore that. Many people had lost their sense of direction in their life and were incredible restless and frustrated. Suddenly, she saw her clients were younger and were desperate to make sense of their lives. She found there was nothing around that can support young people in building self awareness, self efficacy and most of all meaning and purpose. It was not enough to just support a few kids, there needed to be a scaleable solution.
As she shared this with her colleague Dr. Tan-Chyuan Chin, an award winning Youth Wellbeing and Engagement Researcher at The University of Melbourne, they both realised there was an incredible need for an organisation that could support young people in their life journey, not just young people in crisis. Supported by the overwhelming demand for Lela's services backed by the research findings of Dr. Chin, Highway Foundation was established to meet the needs of young people today.
To that end, Dr Chin left her academic position in the middle of the pandemic and joined Lela to establish Highway Foundation supported by the founding philanthropists Dr. Matthew Egan and John Higgins AO who also agreed to be the Chair of the Board. (Well its's good to have someone keep Lela and TC on the right track).
Exactly one year later we are finally launching. We have worked entirely remotely. We have hired our Highway Facilitators, contractors, software developers and our staff all online. We have created a community of passionate people who want to drive a new path in youth wellbeing.
An organisation is only as good as its people.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
John Higgins AO
John’s passion is to see young people thrive. This is evidenced by his tireless support for health, education and positive psychology. He has always believed that if you can just catch a young person right when they need it you can change their life and their trajectory.
For that reason he is excited about Highway Foundation. John is respected and recognised for his distinguished service to the community through philanthropic contributions to education, cultural, social welfare, child cancer support organisations, and to business. John brings over 35 years of impeccable business experience. John is the Chairman of the Higgins Group of Companies, a privately owned business that invests and runs companies in Australia, Europe and North America with an increased focus on Medical Research in Cancer and Traumatic Brain Injuries.
At the University of Melbourne, John funded the Gerry Higgins Chair of Positive Psychology and is also the Chairman of the Centre of Positive Psychology, now one of the leading wellbeing teaching and research centres in the world. John assisted the establishment of PESA (Positive Education Schools Association), IPEN (International Positive Education Network) and was the underwriter of the most successful 2019 World Congress of Positive Psychology in Melbourne which was held for the first time out of the North America boasting over 1,600 delegates.
He is a Life Member of the National Gallery of Victoria, as well as serving on its Foundation Board. He has also a Director of Camp Quality, a National children’s cancer charity for the past 14 years.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
MAPP MMKTG BBUS GAICD
Lela has experience first hand in the positive transformation of young people when given the space to be truly heard. She is excited to lead an organisation that can build inspirational and meaningful relationship for young people to find their way.
Lela is a consummate all-rounder. She is an international positive psychology coach, wellbeing educator and scientific-based wellbeing program designer, Lela has held numerous senior global corporate roles across a range of industries including Healthcare, Arts, Automotive, Hospitality, Property and Not-for-Profit. Her extensive international experience in leadership, finance, marketing, corporate strategy, culture management, community and youth engagement has allowed her to understand what drives performance and what makes people thrive. From coaching and mentoring professionals, teaching wellbeing to organisations, creating positive school programs now taught in 300 schools in 11 countries to delivering diversity and wellbeing programs to over 250,000 students annually – her passion is to drive positive outcomes for young people.
PARTNERSHIPS AND SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR
Dr. Tan-Chyuan Chin, PhD
PhD (PSYCHOLOGY), PGDip (PSY), GDip (PSY), BSc
Dr. Chin’s research has led her to follow her heart. She is passionate about applying her research in the real world. She believes Highway Foundation’s innovative model will provide relevant services to fill a gap in the market that her research has uncovered. She is excited to work with local councils, governments and organisations to make real world impact for youth today.
Dr. Chin is an award-winning researcher who has done extensive work across the interdisciplinary fields of education, psychology and wellbeing science. She has held an academic position at the University of Melbourne for the past 9 years. TC has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, as well as 18 commissioned reports for Local and State Government departments in Australia. She has worked with over 300 learning communities to assess wellbeing using mixed methods such as online surveys, focus groups and interviews. TC's work with schools and youth organisations has reached well over 90,000 young people across 6 countries in the last 4 years. She has also worked with Tennis Australia, AFL Academy and ArtsReady.
TC has developed five novel measurement tools across the interdisciplinary fields of music psychology and wellbeing. Collectively, her work highlights the use of innovative yet considered approaches to measuring and understanding complex concepts such as music engagement and wellbeing. At The University of Melbourne, TC developed and led the implementation of The Wellbeing Profiler, a wellbeing needs analytical tool, which was recognised for its value as Research in Action (Finalist of the VicHealth Awards in 2017) and excellence in engagement (Winner of the Australian Financial Review in 2019 for the Higher Education Awards for Community Engagement).
Nathan Hugh Roberts
Would you like to get
inspired about your life?
Join a Highway session today.
If you would like to explore what’s going on
for you today, then just jump on! You will be
welcomed to a safe, warm, non-judgemental
space where you can be yourself and uncover
what is important to you.