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Bravehearts appoints new CEO

October 31, 2017

IT’S a new quest for former UniQuest Senior Director Wilma James, who has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at Australia’s leading child protection organisation Bravehearts.

Ms James brings a wealth of corporate nous and impeccable leadership qualities to the role, following an executive management position at UniQuest, the commercial arm of The University of Queensland.

She has also has an adept understanding of Bravehearts’ vision, having served as Deputy Chair on the Bravehearts Board since 2015 and as a Non-Executive Director and member of its Executive Research Advisory Panel since 2010.

Bravehearts Founder and Chair Hetty Johnston AM, says Ms James has a record of achieving outstanding commercial outcomes and a demonstrated commitment to protecting children from sexual assault.

“Bravehearts will benefit greatly with this dedicated and super capable woman, working with the leadership team to drive new growth opportunities, as we strive toward our vision to make Australia the safest place in the world to raise a child,’ says Mrs Johnston.

“Wilma brings to the role strong leadership and sharp business acumen, where she will oversee around 70 staff Australia-wide. While her diverse background in research management, legal and project management is perfectly suited to the role, they say passion cannot be taught, and this is one of the great strengths Wilma shares with many in our amazing team.”

A business graduate of Monash University, Ms James has been with UniQuest since 2008, most recently as Senior Director in its Expertise Commercialisation & Contract Operations Divisions.  Prior to that, she was Business Manager for a Division of CSIRO where she managed a large portfolio of contract research projects.

She also has experience working in the legal industry as a commercial paralegal for a national law firm and practice manager of a number of niche commercial law firms.

“My background in senior commercial leadership roles has prepared me well for the challenge that awaits and I look forward to working with the senior leadership team at Bravehearts,” says Ms James.

“Bravehearts has been very near and dear to my heart for many years and when this opportunity arose, I didn’t hesitate. The opportunity to continue the stellar work Bravehearts does to educate, empower and protect, presents a remarkable challenge.

“Working with the incredibly inspiring Hetty Johnston was a major drawcard and it was also important that the Bravehearts Board gave me their blessing, and that support has been overwhelming.

“With experience managing diverse stakeholders across industries, government and the private sector, I look forward to implementing and delivering strong outcomes for this powerhouse child protection organisation.”

During her time at UniQuest, Ms James led a portfolio of over 4000 industry-funded projects with up to 500 projects per annum worth more than $100M with direct reports of teams of up to 20.

“There are a number of exciting partnerships on the horizon and I’m looking forward to helping to strengthen existing corporate relationships with organisations – those that share the Bravehearts Mission to prevent child sexual assault in our society,” she says.

“My background in the commercialisation and success of innovation and technology-centric products and services will help to create new opportunities as we continue to create child-safe communities around the country.”


Media contact Jason Oxenbridge – 0448 028 291 or

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