About: Pathways Foundation

The Pathways Foundation was created in 2002 to assist young people make a safe and supported transition into adulthood. The Pathways Foundation has led the resurgence of contemporary Rites of Passage Programs throughout Australia.

Rites of Passage Programs are for boys and girls aged between 7-16.  They are carefully designed to bolster self esteem, nurture family relationships and improve life outcomes. This vital time of transition can see boys and girls struggle as they seek to discover who they are in a world that can present them with many external and internal pressures.

They question and seek answers to their sense of belonging, peer relationships, family relationships, changing bodies, identity issues and world events. Their world through smart technology brings so much information and expectation to how each of them should look and behave and in many instances can be further away from who they are in their quest to ‘fit in’ and discover who they are. 


‘Pathways into Womanhood’ and ‘Pathways to Manhood’ Programs have been achieving incredible outcomes for young people and their families for thirty years.  The Pathways Foundation quality assured, cutting edge Programs has seen thousands of young people and their families experience an empowered transition into adulthood and develop connected resilience through self-awareness and leadership.

Research shows that the major impact on a child’s self esteem is the relationship they have with their parents, family, peers and community.   The Pathways Foundation has planted the seeds for the reclamation of our Children’s future.  

As a values based organisation our framework is that of Respect, Responsibility and Awareness for self, others and the environment.  Pathways Programs assist with the prevention of risk taking behaviours, self harm, anxiety, substance abuse, under achievement, bullying, body image and disconnection with themselves, families, peers and their community by building stronger and more supportive relationships through a shared positive process.

Our Programs increase self confidence by giving opportunities to take up challenges and succeeding then celebrating the joy of that.

The teenage Rites of Passage Program are five days in bush locations. It is a camping experience for the boys who attend with their father or close mentor. The girls attend with their mother or close mentor in a bush retreat with accommodation. In both settings a strong diverse community of men or women is woven to support the girls or boys in this most important transition.

The YoungSTARS Program is a special weekend adventure bush camp for boys aged 7-12 and their father or significant male adult in their life.

The Programs provide a safe environment to strengthen and support building healthy relationships with themselves their peers their families and their community. They are able to understand more deeply about what it means to be a healthy young man or woman and understand their own gifts and unique talents they offer the world.  Growing their emotional intelligence is a vital to this transition.

In traditional societies where the village did help bring up the children they invested more time and energy into the Rite of Passage marking the transition from child to young adult than any of the other events that made up the rich fabric of village life. The village knew that their very survival and harmony depended upon having healthy men and women as community members. 

This is an event to help leave the child behind and to celebrate the first steps of the young adult and is Every Child’s Rite. Michael Meade wrote, “If the fires that innately burn inside youths are not intentionally and lovingly added to the hearth of community, they will burn down the structures of culture, just to feel the warmth.”

We know this work makes a difference. Independent market research has confirmed the following significant benefits: increased confidence, stronger more respectful and supportive family relationships, increased respect for women as well as motivation to set goals, finish school and to participate and give back to their community.   

Our Patrons


His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), and Her Excellency, Mrs Linda Hurley, are pleased to be joint patrons of the Pathways Foundation.


Paul Henley – Chair

Trained in England in community development and has worked for 35 years in Australia in the field of youth and family, specialising in men’s and boy’s issues. Other areas of expertise are team development and training.

He has developed and facilitated and led many men’s Programs and groups relating to health & wellbeing. The former secretary of NSW Men’s Health & Wellbeing and is a member of the Australian Men’s Health Forum Inc and is on the organising committee for Man Alive, South coast.

Paul’s commitment for the wellbeing of our young people and families has seen him work in the education system developing strategies for bullying and difficult behaviours.

He is a co-founder of the Pathways Foundation and the Pathways to Manhood Program and has been designing and leading Programs with the Foundation for over 25 years. Paul is a dedicated mentor to many and this ensures his wealth of knowledge and experience is passed on.

If you asked him what his legacy is, it would be the advancement of the mature male.

David Goodrich OAM –  Vice Chair

David Goodrich is a highly skilled international business executive with 30 years of property, infrastructure, banking, technology, defence and strategy advisory experience acquired through executive positions prior to 2003 at Lend Lease Corporation Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited. 

He founded Silver Spirit Partners to advise on two significant property development projects in New South Wales.  Following their completion, he broadened the business’s activities to include advising on a range of strategic transactions and infrastructure projects in the private and public sectors, most recently advising on the negotiations for Australia’s $52 billion Future Submarine Program.

He is a respected strategic advisor and skilled negotiator who has been involved in many important Defence and infrastructure transactions including: Western Sydney Airport, the redevelopment of Darling Harbour and over thirty complex weapons system acquisition and sustainment contracts for the Australian Department of Defence.

He has a strong political and business network and is Defence’s key advisor in relation to all transactions with The Boeing Company amongst the suite of other international aerospace primes.

David has held a range of directorships held over the past 20 years including public and private companies, not-for-profit sector organisations and now advisory boards in the venture capital sector.

He has an honours degree in engineering and a Master of Business Administration and is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow (ethics and leadership).

David has been a supporter of the Pathways Foundation over 15 years as he has four sons who have attended both the Young Stars and the Pathways to Manhood Programs.

Deborah Ely AM – Board Member

Deborah Ely AM has over thirty-five years leadership experience in the arts, education and community sectors in Australia and the UK, including advisory roles with State and Local Government and on the boards and voluntary committees of numerous cultural and community organisations. 

Deborah’s most recent role was as the Chief Executive Officer of Bundanon Trust where she was responsible for a significant national cultural heritage site, a $46.5M art collection and the prosecution of a successful and resilient business model. During her tenure she spearheaded the $33M development of a new art museum, residential learning facility and cultural tourism destination. 

She is known for her advancement of inter-disciplinary practice, bringing the arts, sciences and local voices together, and for her development of creative programs and opportunities which engage First Nations communities, artists and young people. 

She trained in Britain as a painter and art historian and has curated and published widely on modern and contemporary art. She is a Fellow of the University of Wollongong and has worked with tertiary institutions across Australia, the United States, England and Wales.

Leonie Deuis – Board Member

Leonie brings more than thirty five years professional experience and expertise in Program design and delivery for youth, youth at risk, parenting skills, mentoring, community development, alternative dispute resolution, child protection, risk management, leadership training and development in the NFP and NGO sectors.

She is passionate about Rites of Passage and the opportunity it gives young people to make a healthy transition into adulthood and be responsible and inclusive members of the broader community.   She is cofounder and Senior Facilitator and Trainer for the ‘Pathways into Womanhood’ rites of passage Program, Senior Facilitator and trainer for the mothers Program for ‘Pathways to Manhood’ rites of passage Program and the Pathways Women’s Leadership Development Training Program.

Leonie believes by providing young people with the tools, opportunities to reflect and grow their emotional intelligence, feel part of a healthy community where they can contribute into is central to growing inclusive and supportive culture with the values of Respect Responsibility and Awareness for self, others and the land we walk on. 

Martina Sandles – Board Member  

Martina has run her own business for 10years and brings this experience along with nine years of leadership with the Pathways to Manhood and Pathways into Womanhood Programs.

Martina has been a strong and passionate supporter of Pathways and has also supported fundraising efforts with Pathways and for other organsations. She is passionate about the work Pathways does with young people and their families and wants to give back. Martina brings with her an ability for attention to details, her business experience as well as long standing knowledge of the Programs Pathways runs and has been a constant support and volunteer for Pathways for 10years.

Mark O’Donnell – Board Member  

Mark has worked with passion as an educator with younger children in schools and young men and women finalizing their tertiary education, in urban, rural and remote communities of this wide country. It became obvious to him that many of the boys were failing to engage with their learning and indeed the challenges of life.

Mark’s life experience and study has left him with the conviction that young people, particularly boys, seek the transformation of a rite of passage whether planned or not. Ancient peoples did not leave this to chance and nor should we.

Furthermore the narrative our young men receive about their role has become unhelpful. They need direction and good men as role models. Supporting Pathways Foundation provides an opportunity to further contribute to the health and well being of young people.

He has also worked and conducted research as a geologist and environmental scientist but is now currently getting his hands dirty as a farmer on the southern highlands of NSW.

Chris Roe – Board Member

Chris Roe is a multidisciplinary Creative Director who successfully founded his own design and marketing agency 20 years ago.  The agency, Fuel Sydney, has formed long lasting and meaningful relationships with its high-profile clients which is testament to Chris’ authentic and humble approach to deliver results-oriented campaigns.  Chris unequivocally believes that creating a positive culture in the work environment is without exception, the most important asset to any business, and therefore has vast experience in nurturing relationships to help individuals realise their full potential.

In 2014 Chris, together with his wife started the NSW division of Bikes 4 Life, a not for profit organisation that alleviates poverty and social injustice by recycling and restoring discarded bikes. The idea of how the simple gift of a bicycle can not only bring joy to families but dramatically enhance their standard of living, resonated with Chris so he became avidly involved.  Chris has passionately mentored many teenagers through their Duke of Edinburgh Programs which have been undertaken at Bikes 4 Life monthly community workshops.  Chris has also travelled extensively in Cambodia to hold bike maintenance workshops and distribute bikes to the most deserving communities and has seen first hand the positive impact that Bikes 4 Life Programs are having.

Chris’ natural empathy and passion to help people combined with a strong business ethic and creative mind, provide a unique set of skills to our Pathways Foundation board.

Simon Barrett – Board Member

Simon is a Partner with L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consulting firm.

He initially studied Science and Melbourne University, before moving to the UK to undertake a PhD at Cambridge (organic chemistry). He joined L.EK. Consulting in London, and subsequently moved back to Australia in 1993 becoming a partner in 1998.

Over the last 30 years he has advised companies, governments, investors and not for profits on a wide range of strategic, commercial and organisational issues. While his main focus is in the transport sector (rail, bus, ferry, roads, freight, ports, aviation, airports) he has worked across almost every sector of the economy at some point. He leads the firm’s transport and travel practice in the region, and previously held a number of other leadership roles including Managing Partner for Australia (2005-12) and Asia Regional head (2012-15).

When not focussed on family or work, he enjoys a game of tennis, bushwalking, sailing and travel.







To Manhood

To Womanhood

To Youngstars

Returning Young People

Leadership Training

Community Talks

Reading material relating to girls and women

Reading material relating to boys and men and other general reading