GEM Founding Director & Global Chair
Angé Weinrabe has worked with young adults who were labelled as disenfranchised and “difficult” by the mainstream systems for the past twenty years. Angé found most of these youth to be extremely bright young creatives. Her work has been to provide informed decision support to these youth, as well as to engage with various institutions, and public and private sectors, to re-connect these young people with others who are like-minded.
Over the years of working with individuals, Angé found that the young person’s inner voice had either been silenced over time, or that it remained unexpressed, leading this person to feel frustrated and anxious at critical time points in their lives. Taking this key aspect into account, Angé developed the GEM Model, which ensures that these young individuals – who are seeking the support – gain it at the right time and feel safe during this process, in order to start re-connecting with their local community.
As an outcome of the GEM Model, skills and psychosocial support services have been provided to young people, enabling a vast number of individuals to flourish in their lives (relationships, employment, and study). In Angé’s experience, creative young people are at times misunderstood – by their parents, their teachers, and also by the society around them. Young people, especially creative young adults today, are more stressed than ever, mainly as they are not taught more about resilience and require simple support mechanisms to guide them in their overall decision-making.
This “æffective” and community supported, meaningful approach fuels Angé’s dedication to assist young people at a vulnerable stage of human development. Holding an Arts (Adv.) Hons. Degree in Philosophy, The University of Sydney, and a Masters in Philosophy from the Brain and Mind Centre, Sydney Medical School, Angé researched and published an hypothesis that dysregulated emotion (mainly anxiety) impairs decision-making in youth (it works the other way too, impaired decision-making leads to anxiety).
Angé is currently enrolled in a PhD, still at the University of Sydney. She aims to explore and in turn understand the critical role of ‘Culture’ when investigating the two main explanatory models of addiction – the Medical and Social Models. Translating and applying her academic research, as well as applying the empirical outcomes of GEM’s programs and tools (music), Angé’s long term aim is to align with WHO 2030 goals in order to ambitiously help to target Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) and its projected thirty-year effect on the health sector and global economy, and with the WHO 2004 (Affective Interventions and Policies) goals. This in order to meet the WHO’s call to find innovative ways to address the Prevention of Mental Disorders.
Importantly, Angé’s Vision with the GEM brand is to eventually bring free, effective, and accessible decision-support products and services to young people globally, putting them back in charge of their lives.
GEM Chief Executive Officer
Samuel Werrett holds a BA Commerce, University of Sydney, and is a proven commercial business manager with specialisations in accounting, finance, great coffee, and conversation. After graduating in 2014, Sam saw an opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of business and opened an espresso bar in Chatswood. Starting from just a concept, “The Steam Engine” is a successfully operating business with a mobile business component, and acclaimed Australia’s 15th Top Cafe by beanhunter.com in 2017.
Sam has worked at The Galileo Group in the property development team where he guided projects from inception to completion and learnt valuable skills in research, feasibility and analysis, and project management. Sam leads GEM to thrive in the current business environment.
Sam also directs My Sound Technology Pty Ltd, GEM Connect’s sister company, created to develop affordable and effective music as health intervention. With entrepreneurial and active roles in these companies combined, Sam supports his peers and other youth worldwide.
GEM Operations & Curriculum MANAGER
George Ioannides is a passionate advocate for young people’s health, mental ill-health prevention and intervention, and social justice and human rights. As a youth health worker and educator, he has experience in mental health, community development, group facilitation, tertiary education, research, and healthcare. He also has a number of accreditations in the human services sector and provides consultation services for lived experience co-design in the mental health and LGBTQIA+ services sector.
George has previously worked for not-for-profit batyr as its youth mental health program support coordinator, as a practice administrator for headspace’s youth health clinics, as a telemedical administrator at Telstra Health (ReadyCare), and as a lecturer, tutor, and researcher at the University of Sydney in the academic fields of comparative studies of religion, cultural studies, and history.
In addition to volunteering in LGBTQIA+ community work, and holding a Certificate in Youth Mental Health and Technology from Orygen, George is about to complete a Master of Social Work (Qualifying) at the Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP) in May 2021.
GEM Connect Pty Ltd wishes to give special thanks to all those youth volunteers and paid contractors in Australia and abroad who have helped build the GEM brand since its start-up, and who have supported their peers in the process.