Board director and co-founder
In 2010, I had just returned from a holiday to Timor-Leste when I read a news story about a cardiologist who undertook pro bono work there. The story was about the plight of two teenage girls whose lives were at risk because of a lack of funds to bring them to Australia for heart surgery.
It seemed unconscionable to me that a kid the same age as my own son could die from an eminently fixable heart condition, so I tracked down Dr Noel Bayley to send him money. It turned out, I was one of many, many donors that week. With my background in media and communications, it became clear that my skills would be worth more than my money. Along with Glyn Palmer, the then CEO of St John of God Warrnambool, Noel and I established East Timor Hearts Fund.
In 2012 the organisation incorporated, and I became the inaugural board chair. I have led the process of developing and delivering two strategic plans that have seen the professionalisation of our organisation and the expansion of our work. It is incredibly satisfying to have built the capacity to sustainably continue our surgical and screening programs, while at the same time supporting the Timorese to tackle the root causes of poor heart health, with projects in areas like preventative health, research and practitioner and community education.
It’s been rewarding to have had the opportunity to lead the organisation through its foundation years. It’s exciting to think about what the future holds for East Timor Hearts Fund.