The Scarf Team Lauren Stokes Projects and Pathways Manager (Team Lead) Stepping into the workforce 21 years ago, Lauren firmly believes hospitality is not just a job, but a part of who she is. Starting out slinging popcorn and ice creams at the local cinema, working her way through restaurants, cafés and pubs, Lauren found her niche in the Specialty Coffee industry. She jumped at every chance to learn something new, moving beyond her role as a barista to explore roles in customer service, sales, importing, logistics, operations and training. Lauren’s position as the Victorian Training Manager at Five Senses Coffee was instrumental in creating a connection with Scarf in early 2021, and she continued to volunteer beyond her role at Five Senses until officially joining the Scarf Management team in mid-2022, in a newly created leadership role - Projects and Pathways Manager. While leading the Scarf team and day-to-day operations, Lauren will be helping the organisation return to regular programs and Scarf Dinners after the disruptions of the pandemic. She'll also be keenly focussed on maximising new trainee opportunities while strengthening employment outcomes for graduates. As the hospitality industry reignites, Lauren believes it is an amazing time of opportunity for Scarf to engage with Scarf Dinner venues and other potential future employers, to share the incredible skills of our graduates and create strong and supported pathways for equitable employment. When she's not at work, you’ll find Lauren sharing a pastry or exploring a new park with her toddler Gus, enjoying delicious food and wine with friends, taking family road trips to the beach and always drinking coffee! Travel has always been a massive part of Lauren and her partner's life and she’s most excited about introducing Gus to new places, people and cuisines. Lauren works works Tuesday - Thursday. Email: [email protected] . Neil Baxendale Program and Wellbeing Manager Neil’s first job was in a family owned hotel in a seaside town in the North of England, and since then he’s worked in cafes, breweries and plenty of pubs (including supervising an East London pub during the 2012 Olympics, which he reckons was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting). Not content to just play the hospo game, Neil has also facilitated programs which helped young people in prison change their behaviours and lead more positive lives. After gaining a Diploma in Criminal Justice Studies, Neil worked as a Probation Officer in the UK, and then in Australia as a support worker for an outreach program, enabling adults to reintegrate into society after leaving prison. Neil was a volunteer restaurant mentor during Scarf seasons in 2014 and 2016 (and a keen diner during other seasons) and in August 2018 we were thrilled to welcome Neil to the team. The Program and Wellbeing Manager role sees Neil wearing a number of hats at Scarf (and he really, really loves a hat, as we discovered during our 2020 Zoom workshops!) Neil plays a crucial role in recruiting and then supporting trainees through our 10-week Seasonal Programs so they can reach their goals, and helps to make sure that all Scarf staff and volunteers are working within our Trauma Informed, Resilience Building framework which prioritises trainees' safety and wellbeing. Neil's also responsible for co-creating and delivering our Skill Up with Scarf and Tasting Plate short courses, running job readiness group workshops and one-on-one sessions with Scarf graduates as they transition from the program to ongoing employment. Neil connects with others in the community sector to share ideas and resources and ensure that Scarf is part of a sector-wide approach to breaking down employment barriers for people from asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. And when any potential employers come knocking, Neil is always keen to chat to them about connecting Scarf graduates with jobs. Neil prides himself on fostering trainees’ strengths, building their confidence and providing really practical support with resumes, job hunting and job applications, interview skills and the like, in order to make employment more equitable for our talented, resilient and motivated graduates. Neil works Monday - Thursday. Email: [email protected] . Mir Bugti Restaurant and Training Manager Mir joined the Scarf Community in 2016 when he graduated from the Autumn Scarf ’16 seasonal program at Rupert on Rupert. Since then, he’s worked in hospitality in front of house roles at different venues, most recently managing the renowned Super Ling in Carlton. Food, wine, beer and all fermented juice are passions of Mir’s. He firmly believes in sustainability and supporting local businesses. Arriving in Australia in 2012, Mir initially settled in Perth and subsequently moved to Melbourne in 2015. Mir loves exploring Australia and what it has to offer. His highlights include visiting country Victoria, enjoying the amazing offerings in Hobart, exploring the outdoors in Cairns and playing tourist in Sydney. On his days off Mir doesn’t mind watching movies based on true events or stories. He calls Melbourne home but will always be a West Coast Eagles supporter. Despite keeping very busy with work, Mir has remained engaged in the Scarf Community, working at multiple Do More Than Dine events, speaking on a panel during GROW Assembly ’18, and volunteering to mentor new graduates during Scarf Turns 10! Mir was excited to join the Scarf management team in August 2020 as our Restaurant and Training Manager and since then, he's firmly established himself as a core team member who provides inspiration to new trainees. Mir is responsible for a number of elements in Scarf Programs, from supporting with trainee and mentor recruitment, planning and running training sessions, designing drinks lists for Scarf Dinners (and working closely with our generous beverage sponsors) and facilitating accredited certificate training for the young people who take part in our programs. During Scarf Dinners, Mir sees that trainees are well supported while they gain hands-on, paid work experience - a crucial aspect of breaking down some of the employment barriers which have previously existed for our participants. Mir works closely with our volunteer trainers, mentors and partner restaurants, and draws on his strong front-of-house experience to ensure all diners have a wonderful night out when they attend Scarf Dinners. Mir works Monday - Thursday. Email: [email protected] . Hannah Brennan Co-founder and CEO Hannah is a hospitality professional, Typsy mentor, Swinburne Multimedia (Media Studies) graduate and occasional freelance writer with a soft spot for limericks. Before starting Scarf, she worked in restaurants, bars and events for 10 years, meeting lots of talented and inspiring workmates and mentors along the way. After volunteering with the refugee community in Fitzroy, including editing The Social Studio's *bespoken, a newspaper providing a voice to marginalised members of the community, Hannah co-founded Scarf with Jess Moran in 2010. Hannah was a mentor in Scarf’s early programs, and looked after marketing and communications for three years, before becoming General Manager in 2013 and then CEO in 2020. She firmly believes in the power of social enterprise to allow young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections needed to break into employment. Hannah's role sees her focussing on partnerships, funding, evaluation and communications to help Scarf become as impactful and sustainable as possible. She also spends a bit of time gently reminding people that Scarf is not an acronym! In our case, it’s just a warm, comforting show of support and an expression of culture. On her non-work days, Hannah enjoys spending time with her wife Tara and their daughter Maggie (who is one, and loves cucumber, dogs and Mickey Mouse), walking, cooking lasagna, and listening to her favourite podcast, We Can Do Hard Things. Hannah also sits on the Scarf Board and works Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Email: [email protected] . Caroline Brosnan Finance Manager Caroline is an experienced Chartered Accountant who's spent over 10 years working with non-profit organisations. She's passionate about helping for-purpose organisations manage their financial operations and strategy in order to achieve the greatest social and organisational impact. Caroline came on board as the Finance Manager for Scarf at the start of 2022 to assist with financial reporting and compliance activities. She loves surfing, running, travelling to new places in her van, and hanging out with her rescue dog Frankie. Caroline works at Scarf on Monday afternoons. Email: [email protected] .