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A woman and a man standing next to each other. The woman wears a green sleeveless dress and has short hair. The man wears a plaid jacket and collared shirt. He is wearing glasses.

Born and bred country Queenslanders join our Board

March 2024

We’re driven by a love of country at John Villiers Trust (JVT)  and we work with people who have the best interests of country communities at their heart.

This month, two born-and-bred country Queenslanders, Fiona Maxwell and Douglas Bates, have joined the JVT Board, bringing with them a wealth of professional and personal experience that will guide better outcomes for the children and young people of rural, regional and remote Queensland.

As new members of the JVT Board, they’ll be part of JVT’s work supporting organisations that are building better, fairer, more resilient communities in Country Queensland.

As well as their knowledge of life in the bush, Fiona and Douglas have extensive professional expertise to support JVT’s strategy and governance.

About Fiona Maxwell

Fiona Maxwell is currently the Queensland Executive Director for FareShare, Australia’s largest charity kitchen, and Deputy Chair of DVConnect, a statewide domestic violence crisis service for Queenslanders.

She brings deep expertise in philanthropic strategy and governance, which she has developed during her 20-year career devoted to social-sector leadership.

Fiona was the CEO of Brisbane Powerhouse, the Queensland Manager for Philanthropy Australia, and the Executive Director of the Next Wave Festival for youth arts.

She holds a master’s degree in arts administration and has shared her deep expertise in philanthropic strategy and governance by serving on industry peak bodies and grant-making committees throughout her career.

Born in Townsville, Fiona grew up in Winton, Brisbane, Mt Isa and Cairns. She said this has contributed to her desire to ensure more is done to create opportunities for young people in regional Queensland.

‘I am excited by the potential of The John Villiers Trust to be impactful in the lives of young regional Queenslanders, but also aware of the challenges faced by such a geographically-vast state.

‘Given the disparity between country and city kids, the opportunity we have is to level the playing field a little: we want to improve the access country kids have to the opportunities and support they need,’ Fiona said.

About Douglas Bates

Douglas Bates is a legal practitioner and company director with over 35 years’ experience in legal services.

Douglas is currently Director of FIIG Holdings Limited, a public unlisted company specialising in corporate bonds, and a senior consultant at Hamilton Locke.

Douglas was the Executive Chairman of FIIG for 20 years, a barrister at the Queensland Bar for 18 years, and a solicitor in Brisbane, London and Hong Kong.

Raised in Roma, Douglas said his family is still on the land near Roma and this helps him stay attuned to country people and their experiences.

‘Having grown up in the bush and continued my association with regional Queensland ever since, I understand the unique difficulties for families in regional and remote Queensland and specifically for children and youth.’

‘With so much of the philanthropic sector focused on the South East Corner of Queensland, it is so important to increase the voice of rural and remote communities to ensure they have the services and opportunities they need to prosper,” Douglas said.

Douglas holds a Bachelor and Master of Laws and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The appointments of Fiona and Douglas came after a rigorous selection process, which attracted 55 excellent applicants.

We welcome Douglas and Fiona to the JVT team! 

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