Our staff

Stuart Thomson

Chief executive officer

Ingrid Svendsen

 

How and why did you become involved in East Timor Hearts Fund?

A late-night Facebook message from a former World Vision colleague alerted me to the great work that East Timor Hearts Fund is doing and that it was looking for a new CEO. I immediately followed ETHF on Facebook and was excited to see the great passion and drive of volunteers, staff and supporters in making a real and lasting change in people’s lives. I wanted to be a part of it. It’s a perfect fit, as I have lived in developing countries including East Timor, am a trained nurse and have a very close personal experience with heart conditions.

After a number of conversations and interviews I was lucky enough to be offered the position. I am excited and humbled to be leading this fantastic organisation.

My motivations in seeking the role are personal as well as professional. Several years ago my family and I unsuccessfully tried to bring a four year old relative of my Tanzanian-born wife to Australia for heart treatment. Sadly, she passed away before we could arrange help.

This shook our family and shakes me today that an easily treatable condition can result in so much tragedy.

The contrast with the treatment my own young son received when diagnosed with a heart murmur was stark. It’s a tale of two countries, only one hour’s flying time from each other, that such a twist of fate can occur. I want to contribute to ensure that this injustice becomes a thing of the past.

 

What does your role entail?

As CEO I lead the overall day to day operations of ETHF. The organisation has a fantastic group of volunteers who really are the heart of ETHF. My job will be to build the fundraising and staff numbers while maintaining the great heart of volunteers this organisation has built over the years. The combination of a small group of highly skilled employees combined with a strong base of committed volunteers will be a formidable force in tackling heart disease in East Timor. I am looking forward to leading this transition so that we may mend more broken hearts together.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I am a very committed father of two small children. After years of living and travelling all over the world I am happy to be closer to home and being a good role model for my kids. Beyond work and trying my best to be a good dad, I love a good movie or to get away to the beach for a few hours for a swim, snorkel or surf. I do enjoy a good potter in the garden if given the chance as well!

 

View Stuart's video message here.

'The contrast with the  treatment my own young son received when diagnosed with a heart murmur was stark.'