Dialog Box


Announcement of new Chairperson

Last year, HeartKids Chair, Jan McClelland AM, announced her intention to step down as Chair and a Director of HeartKids in 2022, unfortunately for HeartKids, as Jan will be sadly missed by all on the Board, CEO, managers and staff. 

After six years as the inaugural Chair of HeartKids Ltd, and having helped develop, achieve recognition of and secure Federal Government funding for HeartKids as the national charity delivering much needed information, education, support, advocacy and research services for people impacted by congenital and acquired childhood heart disease across Australia, Jan felt it was time for her to hand over to a successor who could lead HeartKids in its next stage of growth and development. Jan has since been working with the Board to ensure HeartKids is well prepared for the change and to plan an orderly transition to the next Chair. 

Following an extensive search process to identify a suitable successor, I am very pleased to announce that Elizabeth Foley will be joining the Board of HeartKids as its new Chair on Monday 4 April 2022. The Board is looking forward to working with Elizabeth who brings exceptional and highly relevant skills and experience to HeartKids. This includes extensive experience in health research and patient support organisations, the fundraising sector and stakeholder engagement with senior political and bureaucratic levels of federal and state and territory government. 

Elizabeth has extensive experience as a CEO and board member across a range of sectors, including financial services, digital innovation, health and medical research and professional services industries. 

Elizabeth is ambitious to see Australians who have congenital heart disease or who develop heart disease as children lead fulfilling and healthy lives. 

At the same time as welcoming Elizabeth to the HeartKids Board, I would like to sincerely acknowledge the dedication and tireless work of the inaugural Chair of HeartKids Ltd, Jan McClelland AM. 

Under Jan’s leadership, we have successfully integrated six small state-based organisations into one sustainable national organisation, respected for its influence and positive impact on the many thousands of children young adults and adults with CHD and childhood heart disease across Australia. Jan played a leading role in the development of the National Strategic Action Plan for Childhood Heart Disease and the acquisition of funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health for implementation of key focus areas of the plan. These include development of the first ever Australian Standards of Care for CHD, a framework to ensure all Australian patients and families affected by CHD receive excellence in comprehensive cardiac care, implementation of a digital strategy to improve access to information and education for consumers and health professionals, and programs and services to support young adults in their transition from paediatric to adult care. Jan also played a leading role in achieving over $20M of Commonwealth Government funding for research into CHD, through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). 

Reflecting on her six years as Chair of HeartKids, Jan said: “It has been a great honour and privilege to be the inaugural Chair of HeartKids Ltd. I have really enjoyed working with my fellow Directors, CEO and staff of HeartKids as well as the many members of our broader HeartKids community including volunteers, clinicians, researchers and supporters. They generously give their time, expertise and support to assist children, young adults and adults with congenital and acquired childhood heart disease lead fulfilling and healthy lives. I feel very proud of our work together in developing and gaining recognition of HeartKids as the national organisation delivering much needed programs and services to more than 65,000 children, young adults and adults with congenital and acquired childhood heart disease across Australia. Together, we have provided a strong foundation for the future growth and development of HeartKids. 

While I will be sad to leave HeartKids, I know I will be leaving the organisation in strong hands under the leadership of Elizabeth Foley, the new Chair, and the Board, as well as the CEO, the senior leadership team and our talented and dedicated team of staff and volunteers. I look forward to seeing the future successes of HeartKids in the years ahead.” 

Please join the Board in welcoming Elizabeth to HeartKids and in very sincerely thanking Jan for her exceptional work and outstanding achievements, since she joined the HeartKids Board in 2016.

Kindest Regards

Jayne Blake

Deputy Chair HeartKids Ltd


Read Elizabeth's Bio here  

05 April 2022
Category: News
Tags: aboutHeartKids, boardofdirectors, chairperson, heartkidsboard,