Deborah Attard Portughes, Chief Executive Officer, Womens and Infants Research Foundation

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Deborah Attard Portughes is the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Women and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF).  Deborah was a recipient of the Ferris Family Fellowship – Harvard Club of Australia in 2022.

Deb is a Senior Executive with experience in strategic planning, development and management of national not for profit organisations. Deb was previously employed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) for over 13 years and was instrumental in taking the organisation from a small WA operation to a National organisation with fundraising offices around Australia, the USA and UK. She also secured HRH Prince Charles as AWC’s first Patron.

Deb started her career in Malta where she had the privilege of working with the late Prof Edward DeBono and teach his Creative Thinking techniques. For 7 years Deb served on the board of POWA institute for creative thinking, here in Australia, this institute is based on Edward deBono’s thinking methods.  Deb also worked as a family and commercial mediator and was an executive producer of a current affairs television program.  She currently serves on the board of two not- for-profit organisations, The Raine Study and Freeze Frame Opera.

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Ferris Family Fellowship - Harvard Club of Australia (2022)

My ultimate goal is to make a profound and positive difference to women and infants’ health globally. Through this course I would like to equip myself with tools that will enable me to:

  1. Ensure WIRF is globally renowned and a sustainable business;
  2. See all our ambitious research projects have access to adequate funding;
  3. Rollout our world first and innovative programs nationally and globally;
  4. Bring a global perspective to local problem solving;
  5. Strengthen my leadership skills by engaging with international peers;
  6. Develop the agility to take WIRF in any direction required at any given time; and 
  7. Give back to my peers through sharing my experiences and knowledge.

I am an avid learner and my goal is to form real connections with a diverse range of people.  I aim to learn from them (Facilitators and peers) and leverage those learnings for application back at work.  Attending an esteemed institution such as Harvard will afford me a truly unique opportunity to learn from the best.

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