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For over 60 years, the Heart Foundation has been the trusted peak body working to improve heart disease prevention, detection, and support for all Australians. Since 1959 we have funded research projects worth over $670+ million.

We are leading the fight to save Australian hearts

Whilst our work has had a major impact on the survival rates of those suffering a heart attack and those living with heart disease, we will not be satisfied until it is completely eradicated. Coronary heart disease is still Australia’s number one killer, taking 50 lives every day.

To help us realise our vision of an Australia free of heart disease along with the teamwork and passion of our supporters and generosity of millions of Australians act to make a difference in the fight against heart disease by:

  • Funding high-impact research, supporting emerging and leading heart health researchers
  • Working to improve heart disease prevention, detection, care and support for all Australians
  • Advocating to governments and industry for increased funding and resources for heart health
  • Building community awareness about living a heart-healthy lifestyle. We do this through public health awareness campaigns, accessible information and resources 
  • Supporting health professionals in their work to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage heart disease. 

Vision, Mission, Strategy


Our Vision

Towards an Australia free of heart disease.



Our Mission

To reduce heart disease and improve the heart health and quality of life of all Australians through our work in Risk Reduction, Support, Care and Research.


Our Strategy

Our Connecting Hearts strategy is set to strengthen our connections. 


Happy Heart

Our Values

Our values represent how we have evolved, and how we wish to continue working into the future. They guide the way we work together.

  • STRONGER TOGETHER: We believe in the power of unity, as we are strongest when we work together. We support each other so we all feel appreciated, by showing respect, leveraging diverse backgrounds, talents, perspectives, and resources.
  • MAKE A DIFFERENCE: We are proud of our history and our achievements; we use our past successes to guide the future. We work with evidence to be a trusted voice on heart health – when the evidence changes, we change with it.
  • CHANGE THE FUTURE: We are courageous and think big, but we don’t ignore the details. We promote creativity and innovation in our thinking and actions to continually increase our reach and impact.
  • BUILD CONNECTIONS: We build genuine connections with our community, stakeholders, partners and customers.  We strongly believe that what we do every day is for the benefit of others.
  • ACT WITH INTEGRITY: We are honest and take responsibility for our actions. We value the opinions of others and always assume positive intent. We enhance our trusted reputation through the responsible and transparent use of donor funds.

A personal note from the Chairman

Chris Leptops AM

Chris Leptos AM

There is perhaps nothing more important for the Board than choosing the person to lead and manage our organisation. We are entrusting that person with our brand, our reputation, our culture, and our balance sheet – in other words, with everything.

We are a highly supportive and hard-working Board, and we are diligent about staying on our side of the governance line. In return, we expect a high degree of candour from the CEO and other executives.

The CEO position will be an immensely rewarding role, but it will also have unexpected challenges. We transitioned from a federated legal structure (with nine separate entities), to a unified governance structure with one Board, just a few years ago. We are now able to tackle public health issues that we could never do under a fragmented model.

We are in a strong financial position, but the journey to being the benchmark public health organisation in Australia is still ahead of us. We rely largely on the generous support of our donors, commercial partners and the Australian community to fund our research and our work, rather than rely on governments. Our cost of fundraising is too high – this is a tax on our donors and our research community.

We strive to be the pre-eminent voice on heart health matters – everything from preparing guidelines for practicing clinicians, to supporting both novice and world-class researchers. The scope of the Heart Foundation’s work is quite broad – some would say too broad, and others would say not broad enough. Our focus on indigenous heart disease is quite narrow, even though indigenous Australians across the entire top-end suffer disproportionately from heart disease.

We also know that we can’t do it alone - we work with government agencies, medical research institutes, other for-purpose organisations, volunteers and donors, to achieve optimal public health outcomes. Our stakeholders are numerous and demanding, and are in every State and Territory. Our teams are ably supported by our Local Advisory Boards and the external members of the various Board Committees.

I haven’t met every staff member in the organisation, but everyone I’ve met has impressed me with their drive to improve health outcomes for the Australian community. It is hugely motivating to work alongside these people.

Being the CEO is an important job that requires close engagement with our national regulators, and collaboration with our global peers. It’s also a partnership with the Board – as all of us at the top table need to be ambassadors, donors and relentless advocates for the Heart Foundation.

Case Study - Board Risk Management

Case Study - Board Risk Management-1

The role

Chief Executive Officer

The purpose of this role is to lead the Heart Foundation to ensure that the Heart Foundation delivers on its strategic priorities and objectives.

Key areas of accountability to ensure our success:

  • Provides dynamic and strategic leadership across the Heart Foundation
  • Ensures that the Heart Foundation meets all regulatory and fiduciary requirements, supported by appropriate internal protocols and processes.
  • Leads and directs the management and staff of the Heart Foundation to achieve the organisation’s strategic plan and to achieve optimum heart health in our community
  • Provides advice to the NHFA Board and supports the good governance of the Company.
  • Engages with current and prospective major donors (corporate, private philanthropists, Trusts and Foundations).
  • Is accountable for the Heart Foundation’s communication and representation with external parties including government, media, donors and supporters, other stakeholders and the general public.
  • Advocates and represents the organisation nationally and internationally.
Jump Rope for Heart 1


For a confidential discussion about the position please contact Kate Wheeler or Pauline Gates of Fisher Leadership on 1300 347 437

Applications close 17 January 2022

Apply now

Click ‘APPLY FOR THE POSITION’ clearly quoting reference code NHFgce0721.

Address your cover letter and resume to Kate Wheeler or Pauline Gates of Fisher Leadership.

Applications close 17 January 2022

Indicative Timeline

  • Fisher Leadership interviews and candidate discussions:  week commencing 29 November 2021 to 17 January 2022
  • Shortlist finalised: week commencing 24 January 2022
  • National Heart Foundation Selection Panel interviews: week commencing 31 January 2022 - 7 February 2022

Stronger together | Make a difference | Change the future | Build connections | Act with integrity