Scholarship recipient announcement

The Australian Scholarships Foundation and the Harvard Club of Australia are delighted to announce Deborah Attard Portughes and Patrick Reid as the recipients of the Harvard Club of Australia Ferris Family Fellowship in 2022. Deborah Attard Portughes is the Chief Executive Officer of the Women and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF), and Patrick Reid is the Chief Executive Officer of IRT Group which supports older Australians.

At a time of increased demands on the not-for-profit sector to support their communities these fellowships allow recipients to build skills in strategic decision-making and build international networks, studying at the prestigious Harvard Business School.

On receiving her award Deborah Attard Portughes shares, “My ultimate goal is to make a profound and positive difference to women and infants’ health globally. Through this course I hope to gain global perspective for local problem solving to ensure WIRF is globally renowned and a sustainable business.”

“This Harvard program represents an incredible opportunity for Deborah and WIRF,” notes WIRF, Chair Tony Walsh. “It will help Deborah continue to improve her skills via peer critique of WIRF’s strategic objectives to enable the transition of WIRF to an organisation with a national and global focus. This in turn has the potential to save more lives and make life better for women, infants, and families in WA, Australia and across the globe” he said.

“During ongoing reform and Covid challenges the aged care sector is experiencing scenarios that would have once been considered improbable or impossible,” says Fellowship recipient Patrick Reid who in addition to his role CEO role with IRT Group, is the Chairman of Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute.

“This intensive week at Harvard will enable myself and IRT to walk away with an action plan of peer reviewed strategic perspectives, practical frameworks, and leadership skills – an experience and opportunity no business leader could refuse,” said Mr Reid.

“Our board feels that Patrick has the drive and experience to apply the insights and lessons learned from the Harvard team into effective transformation for IRT,” says IRT Group, Chair Mike Halloran. “This step change will produce concrete solutions that truly address the needs of older Australians in our communities.”

Harvard Club of Australia, scholarship Award Luncheon, 6 June 2022. (L to R) Patrick Reid, Louisa Graham, Deborah Attard Portughes, Lisa George.

“We are extremely proud to work with the Australian Scholarships Foundation and the Ferris Family to offer these scholarships again in 2022,” said Lisa George, Chair of the Harvard Club of Australia’s Non-profit Fellowship Program. “It is crucial for leaders to have the skills to be able to step up and create organisations that can thrive in times of immense change. This Harvard Business School experience offers recipients an invaluable chance to reshape their organisations in unprecedented times.”  

“Our yearly surveys show 93 per cent of our scholars acknowledge improved job performance following their studies, yet 33 per cent of not-for-profit staff do not have access to a designated training budget for future study,” says CEO of the Australian Scholarships Foundation, Louisa Graham.

“More than ever, we need to support the professional development needs of not-for-profit leaders, and we would like to acknowledge the Ferris Family and Harvard Club of Australia for their generous ongoing contribution to build sector capability,” says Ms Graham.

Harvard Club of Australia Ferris Family Fellowships recipients will attend the highly regarded six-day course Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management in July 2022 at the Harvard Business School, Boston, United States. These studies will assist them to examine their missions, develop new strategies and improve the effectiveness of their organisations.

Australian Scholarships Foundation is a charity focused on delivering training and professional development opportunities to the nation’s charities and not-for-profits.


Media enquiries 

Please contact Australian Scholarships Foundation communications lead, Leona Spencer on
mobile 0419 167 946 or [email protected]

You can find information about the Australian Scholarships Foundation’s aims and impact here.