Chief Executive Officer
Linkz CEO Shona Cools founded the organisation in 2008 after working across a range of different social policy areas including youth services, housing, education and Indigenous employment. She has extensive experience managing and implementing a full range of programs and projects and has spent time living and working in remote Indigenous communities inWestern Australia and the Northern Territory.
Shona has completed a range of tertiary qualifications including a Bachelor of Psychology, a Masters degree in International and Community Development and a Masters degree in Professional Education and Training.
Shona’s commitment to working with Indigenous communities, and in particular Indigenous youth, has been recognised through awards and accolades such as her selection as a 2009 Foundation for Young Australian’s (FYA) Young Social Pioneer and as a delegate at the 2020 Youth Summit. Shona also sits on a number of Boards and committees including the NT Youth Interagency Taskforce and Youth Tree (not for profit volunteer based organisation) and has worked as a consultant on a number of projects focused on the engagement and development of remote Indigenous youth.
National Program Coordinator
Ashton joined Linkz in late 2009 as the Regional Coordinator for Western Australia. After completing Linkz placements in Binjari, Laramba and Papunya she decided the big smoke wasn’t all that exciting and relocated to the East Arnhem community of Galiwin’ku where she spends most of her time working with the local Youth, Sport and Recreation team and enjoying island life.
Ashton has completed a degree majoring in Community Development and is undertaking further study in Art Therapy.
Karina stumbled upon LINKZ in 2010 whilst undertaking an anthropology intership in Central Australia and has since been involved in two central desert programs as well as working as the Queensland Volunteer Coordinator. Karina enjoys introducing new volunteers to the remote community experience and believes that promoting cross-cultural communication and positive interactions is the way to a brighter Australia. Karina has studied anthropology, history and creative writing, and currently works as a primary school teacher in south-east Queensland. Her remote community advice – don’t let suspicious spider bites go untreated…!
Shannon first encountered Linkz in 2011 and has since participated in two Odyssey programs in the Katherine Region, working in Binjari and Rockhole communities. She has studied history and socio-legal studies and has previously worked on projects aimed at Indigenous artists. She is looking forward to strengthening the NSW Linkz contingent and introducing new volunteers to the fun and rewarding experience of working in a remote community.
Chloe jumped on board as the Victorian Coordinator in 2012 after completing a Linkz Odyssey placement in Kalkarindji and Daguragu. She has always has an interest in Indigenous affairs and has been involved with a number of youth-oriented organisations in Melbourne including the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and the Centre for Multicultural Youth. She is currently completing an Arts/Science degree, specialising in Australian Indigenous Studies, Spanish and Marine Biology. Her remote community experience – being part of the “Backstreet Mob” – is something she hopes to share with future volunteers and the wider community.