Our Board

East Timor Hearts Fund is registered charity and has tax concessions and Deductible Gift Recipient endorsements from the Australian Taxation Office.

 

We are a company limited by guarantee. 

 

Our board is:

Ingrid Svendsen (board chair)
Professor Andrew Cochrane

Bill Appleby 

Dr Brett Sutton

Nick Oats

Nicki Patten (clinical governance committee chair)

 

Dr Vijaya Joshi (development committee chair)

 

Ingrid Svendsen

Board chair

Ingrid Svendsen

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

I’d long been seeking an opportunity to get active with an Timor-Leste cause, as I have great admiration for our “next door neighbours” and know we Australians owe them in so many ways.

In 2010 I had just returned from a holiday to Timor-Leste when I read a story in the Australian newspapers about a cardiologist who undertook pro bono work in East Timor and 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 to be unconscionable 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. We got chatting and it emerged that I wasn’t the only one who sent money. Noel was overwhelmed, with $13,000 flowing in in the first week alone. 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.

 

What does your role entail?

It’s changed over time as the organisation has grown and moved to a more professional footing. In the early days I was involved in recruiting sponsors to assist with travel and other costs and communications activities such as creating a website and social media properties, and securing media attention for our patients. Now, I am the inaugural board chair, so my role is a broad one of oversight of the governance of the organisation. It’s quite a busy role as we are growing rapidly and have a board of eight as well as a CEO and team of volunteer workers.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

Sadly, my paid and unpaid work involves too much sitting in front of a computer, so my therapy is doing anything active. I’ve done eight Oxfam Trailwalkers (100 k fundraising hike), several Murray Marathons (as part of a K4 kayak relay team) and lots of bike events like the Otway Classic and the ATB 250. In 2017 I did the inaugural Trans-Timor Trek for East Timor Hearts Fund, a 150km heart health hike across Timor-Leste. I enjoy voluntary work, and I’m also a member and a past president of the Darebin Parklands Association, a United Nations Association of Australia award-winning environment group.

 

Professor Andrew Cochrane AM

Director

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

In 2014 I was invited to join the board of East Timor Hearts Fund. I have operated on a number of ETHF patients as part of my work in Timor-Leste, which began in 2003, when I was asked to join a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) paediatric cardiac team to East Timor. I visited East Timor for several years as team leader for the small cardiac team (doing a small range of operations without open heart bypass support).

My surgical work exposed me to the broader situation in East Timor. Since 2009 I have become involved in financially supporting the Bairo Pite Clinic and become a member of their board. I visit Dili twice a year for a Board meetings there at which we have a chance to meet staff and look at the infrastructure needs for the clinic. I help to run a fund-raising concert for the clinic.

I also raise funds for the Dili National Hospital through a fund established in conjunction with the RACS.

 

What does your role entail?

I help advise the board on the basis of my knowledge and contact with East Timor, and to help progress the future plans.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

Distance running including Veterans' competition; kayaking, including the annual Murray Marathon; swimming and a range of other philanthropic activities.

 

Dr Brett Sutton

Director

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

I became involved in East Timor Hearts Fund because I had worked on a child health project in East Timor (the TAIS project) from 2008 to 2010 and found the country and people fascinating and delightful. The needs in the country were clearly significant but the desire to improve the health status was great. With my expertise in infectious disease and my experience working closely with the Timorese government and health services, I felt that I was well placed to respond to rheumatic heart disease as a public health issue with the power to transform lives.

After work in Ethiopia, Afghanistan and elsewhere, I knew that fragile countries provided unique challenges but I became convinced through my work in East Timor that anything was possible by supporting Timorese to lead the way in creating the future they desire.

 

What does your role entail?

I hope my skills and experience will bring to the board and clinical governance committee a public health perspective. I’d like to play a part in further strengthening East Timor Hearts Fund’s capacity to continue to explore ways of reaching more Timorese to prevent rheumatic fever and to help protect those who have already suffered from the infection and who need close follow-up to remain healthy. I also hope to act as a useful point of contact with key partners in the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health and in the regions.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

My three children under seven occupy most of my 'spare time', usually involving reading or trampolining or coloured pencils! I do also ensure that I make the most of living in the hills outside Melbourne by exploring the beautiful countryside around our home by immersing myself in the temperate rainforest of the Dandenongs, either on walking tracks or in pruning my back yard!

 

 

Bill Appleby

Director

Bill Appleby

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

Following discussions with the inaugural chairperson, Ingrid Svendsen, I was inspired to offer my services to this organisation for three mains reasons: the compelling charter to improve the health outcomes of the people of Timor-Leste; the challenges and opportunities presented in working across international borders; and lastly the opportunity to assist a relatively embryonic organisation with a mountain of goodwill and terrific aspirations to become the organisation it wishes to become. 

I am driven by a personal objective to care more than others think is wise, to risk more than others think is safe, to dream more than others think is practical, and to expect more than others think is possible. I believe organisations can create enormous value through change and I am passionate about value based leadership and how to influence a “good society.”

 

What does your role entail?

I have joined East Timor Hearts Fund to assist the organisation to grow and deliver on its vision for the future under a framework of Good Governance Principles for an organisation of this reputational standing.

I am a capable executive leader with extensive experience and a 27 year career in health, aged, disability and community services sectors. I have a deep commitment to community welfare and believe healthy individuals and families build stronger,  more capable communities.

My current role is Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Care Victoria, a diverse not-for-profit organisation that supports the vulnerable, provides aid in times of hardship and crisis, and creates opportunities to strengthen the wellbeing and resilience of the Melbourne Jewish community. Originally I trained as a Division 1 Registered Nurse; I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA); a Graduate Diploma Industrial Relations/Human Resource Management; and an Associate Diploma Occupational Health & Safety. Currently I am a Board Member of Leading Age Services Australia - Victoria and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). Previously I served as a Director on the Tweddle Child & Family Health Service Board (VIC) for six years.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

With the spare time I do have, I like to spend it with my family and friends.  I am blessed to have a loving wife and four great kids. We are a typical busy, growing family, like most families these days, heavily engaged in school life, various sports and general local communal life.

I have many interests and have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed good health and been able to be actively involved in various coaching and sports administrator roles with my children’s sports clubs.  Currently, I am a lifesaver and volunteer my summers to Angelsea Surf Life Saving Club doing water safety for the extensive Nippers program they run. My whole family is involved in this endeavour and I believe as parents we create a very good roadmap for our kids by volunteering our time and expertise to various organisations.

Whilst I do not get a lot of spare time, I personally enjoy rowing, golf, motor bike riding, skiing, fishing, cooking, gardening and watching the mighty North Melbourne Football Club play footy during the Melbourne winter months. 

Read more about Bill in this profile in Third Sector.

 

Nick Oats

Director

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

I’ve been involved in programs with the government of Timor-Leste over recent years, through which I’ve met many wonderful Timorese people, and seen a small part of the country. There are so many services we take for granted here in Australia, that are inaccessible to our near neighbours. Getting involved in the fund allows me to contribute to work that truly changes the lives of deserving people.

 

What does your role entail?

I joined the board in May 2017. As a director I plan to chip in on a few areas that could use a little extra support. I’m particularly keen to explore opportunities for the fund to connect into Timorese and Australian government policies and programs.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

Lazy time with my wife, three-year-old son and our dogs is always a pleasure, and I love to jump on my skateboard as often as possible (though with decreasing frequency and increasing bodily pains!).

 

Nicki Patten

Director, company secretary, clinical governance committee chair

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

I had been thinking about using my legal skills and foreign aid experience in an organisation like East Timor Hearts Fund, and then heard about East Timor Hearts fund from a colleague. Always struck by the random quirk of fate allowing me to be born in a country of means with opportunities abounding, I have always been aware of the surplus of riches in some countries and the appalling deficits in others. In a small way, the ethos of East Timor Hearts Fund seeks to address this imbalance.

 

What does your role entail?

I was elected to the board in April 2016, and would like to use my role to develop our understanding of clinical governance over our operations, work to increase capability in East Timor to build medical services and knowhow and continue to build a sense of reciprocity in what we do – hearing and acting on the desires of our East Timorese counterparts.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to travel, particularly exploring the concert halls and art galleries of foreign cities. I also love the alpine and wilderness areas of Australia and New Zealand and am in training (well, mentally preparing anyway) for the Queen Charlotte Sound trek in New Zealand. I have a recent and unexpected passion for life drawing (but it is early days yet!) and have a background in piano performance, so I also have music on wherever I am.  My children keep me pretty busy too as they wend their way through high school, and I have a day job at a community services organisation advising on legal and governance issues.

 

Dr Vijaya Joshi

Director, development committee chair

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

I have had a long association with East Timor, since living there between 2001- 2003. Since returning to Australia I have travelled back to East Timor at least once a year, for both personal and professional reasons. I am passionate about building the capacity of the health system in East Timor, and contributing to better wellbeing outcomes for Timorese people. Through work on the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in Indigenous communities, I realised how debilitating heart disease can be, especially in resource poor or remote environments. When an opportunity to join the ETHF board came up, I thought it would be a good way to support East Timorese people in a very constructive and tangible way.

 

What does your role entail?

I joined the board in May 2017, and my role is still emerging. Based on my professional and personal experience I am keen to assist in developing partnerships with the Timorese government, and to try and broaden the work of the fund. As my ‘day’ job involves business development, I am also keen to spread the work of the ETHF amongst colleagues and business associates. I love the fact that the ETHF has the Run Melbourne team and would been keen to work to get a similar event off the ground in East Timor.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I have three children and I enjoy anything that keeps us active! I particularly like running and cycling, having run the Melbourne marathon (only once – to date!) and cycled in the Grand Fondo. I have taken part in the Katherine Ultra Challenge twice and this year will take on a 5-day hike called the Jatbula Trail from Katherine to Edith Falls, in the Northern Territory.

My children are all avid sailors and so I also volunteer on the committee for the State Minnow Association of Victoria. My whole family enjoys skiing and we try and get to the snow at least once a year. I am very conscious of how lucky we are to have access to such a beautiful natural environment, and with my family, we try to experience a different part of it every year.