Dr Jane Wilson FAICD has had a varied and successful career. She is a trained physician, a financial analyst and a professional company director. She has spent more than 20 years at the board tables of some of Australia’s most exciting companies and has been at the frontline of research and innovation.
A deep satisfaction for facts, figures and problem solving, led Wilson go on to study medicine at the University of Queensland. Early on, she became aware of the inefficiencies and inequities of healthcare, its governance issues and the politicisation of public policy. Wilson knew that while “there were many good doctors already improving individual lives”, there was a “bigger picture”. She hoped to make a difference for patients by changing and improving the system in which she was working.
With this bigger picture in mind, Wilson travelled overseas where she was accepted into Harvard Business School to complete an MBA, graduating in 1987. Wilson was the Business School’s second-ever graduate with a medical degree – an unusual academic combination at the time. Today, hers is a well-trodden path, with Harvard now offering a combined MD-MBA program for the next generation of leaders in medical business.
Upon returning to Australia, Wilson pursued a career in business, finance and banking, working at McKinsey & Company, Macquarie Bank and later at Wilson HTM Investment Group. It was there in her work as an analyst working on initial public offerings that she was exposed to the work of boards and a network of experienced directors who were interested in her unique skill set.
“I relish working with innovative ideas and emerging technologies with the potential to change people and communities.”
Wilson’s first board appointment was to the Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation, where she used her expertise to help drive medical research into better clinical and commercial outcomes. This quickly translated into a long line of high-profile directorships and chair appointments to listed medical and biotech companies including, Sonic Healthcare Ltd a Top 50 ASX-listed medical diagnostics company and the world’s largest international provider of pathology services.
However, Wilson’s board appointments extend well beyond “commercialising” medical research. For over a decade, Wilson served on a number of councils and advisory panels for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and between 1995–2000 she was on the board that oversaw the corporatisation of the South East Queensland Electricity Board into Energex Ltd, then Australia’s second largest energy retailer and distributor.
One of her proudest, and most challenging achievements was her time as inaugural chair of Horticulture Australia, where she oversaw the merger of two industry bodies into Australia’s second largest agricultural body, providing research and marketing services to over forty commodity groups.
Always motivated by the power of education and the potential of emerging ideas, Wilson returned to her alma mater in 2006, first on university boards commercialising research, then on the Senate, as Deputy Chancellor and now most recently, as Acting Chancellor.
In 2012, in recognition of her efforts and her contribution to business and the wider community, Wilson was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence.
Despite a full schedule of non-executive directorships, Wilson shows no signs of slowing down. She credits her successful career journey to her ability to “keep an open mind and to seeing emerging trends.”
“It is something I live by,” she says. “Always looking beyond what is in front of me has led me to pick up and run with some amazing opportunities in my career.”
“I’m looking forward to what’s next. I relish working with innovative ideas and emerging technologies with the potential to change people and communities. I view the speed at which change is happening as an opportunity, rather than a threat. It keeps me on my toes.”
- Guardian, Future Fund
- Non-executive director, Sonic Healthcare Ltd
- Deputy Chancellor, University of Queensland
- Finance director, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
- Non-executive director, General Sir John Monash Foundation
- Non-executive director, Opal Aged Care Ltd
- Member, Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council
- Member, Arts Investment Advisory Board (Queensland)
- Non-executive director, BUPA Australia Ltd
- Non-executive director, Universal Biosensors Inc
- Non-executive director, CathRx Ltd
- Chair, IMBcom Ltd
- Non-executive director, Australian Institute of Company Directors
- Inaugural chair, Horticulture Australia Ltd
- Non-executive director, Energex Ltd (formerly SEQEB)
- Member, Conoco Australia Ltd Advisory Board
- Non-executive director, National Archives of Australia Advisory Board
- Non-executive director, WorkCover Queensland
- Member, Premier’s Smart State Council (Queensland)
- Non-executive director, Bligh Ventures Ltd
- Non-executive director, Protagonist Ltd
- Member, Queensland Biotechnology Task Force
- Non-executive director, Agen Biotech Ltd
- Member, Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation