Our People

Our People

Youthtown is committed to making a difference to the lives of all young New Zealanders. Helping the country’s youth realise their dreams is what drives our organisation and motivates our team.

Youthtown Inc. is a Charitable Incorporated Society. Its governance is administered by an elected Board with a Chief Executive Officer, Paula Kearns appointed by the Board who undertakes the overall management of the day to day operations and ensures the strategy is implemented.

The role of the Youthtown Board is the setting of our strategic direction and the overall governance of the organisation.

A Sub Committee of these experienced and dedicated Board members is responsible for managing grant applications and distributing funds on a monthly basis.

Youthtown’s gaming operations are headed by General Manager of Strategic Growth - Gaming, Ross Savage an experienced and capable industry professional.

Our dedicated gaming team works throughout the country under Ross’ leadership to support Youthtown gaming venues.


Paula Kearns – CEO

Paula brings a wealth of experience and skills to her role as CEO of Youthtown. She has worked in a large variety of organisations and served on many charitable boards.  Her background includes 16 years as a chartered accountant, including experience with two of the big four CA firms, in public practice and latterly in leadership and governance roles. 

Most recently, Paula was the CEO of Canoe Racing NZ from 2010 to 2012, which leads and delivers the successful Olympic sport of sprint kayaking.  Canoe Racing NZ is well known for the success of kayak legend Ian Ferguson as New Zealand's most medalled Olympian.  The sport has been in the media spotlight with Lisa Carrington capturing Olympic gold and the hearts of the nation after winning the K1 200m in London.

Paula has been a Trustee and the Chair of the Audit, Finance & Risk Governance Committee of the ASB Community Trust since 2009. She will resign this government appointment in order to take up her new role at Youthtown. The ASB Community Trust is an independent grant making organisation with a $1 billion investment portfolio supporting the work of not for profit groups in Auckland and Northland.

Paula is currently a board member and the Chair of the Audit & Risk board subcommittee of NZ Football. In 2008 she was acting CEO of NZ Football, the national organisation which leads, inspires and delivers football in NZ.

Former roles also include acting CEO of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association. She has also served on many not for profit boards - NZ Sculpture Onshore Ltd (2007- 10), Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association (2006-08) and United Soccer 1 (2007-08). Paula is a Past President and playing member of the Takapuna Football Club and also enjoys family time with her three children.

Email: Paula@youthtown.org.nz


Ross Savage – General Manager of Strategic Growth

Ross, our General Manager, comes from an extensive background in gaming regulation and was a senior Manager with The Department of Internal Affairs. He was responsible for the regulation and monitoring of New Zealand’s Casinos.  Ross has worked in the charity gaming sector for several years and for the past 8 years has worked directly with Youthtown in the management and oversight of the gaming trust.

Email: Ross@youthtown.org.nz


Paul Fleet – Territory Manager, Northern

Paul is our representative for the Northern Region, he has been in the hospitality and gaming industry since 2000. He worked for the gaming machine manufacturer Aristocrat before moving to the charitable sector, where he has held various positions from compliance and operations to his last position of General Manager of a gaming trust.

Email: paul.fleet@youthtown.org.nz