Board Chair Profile

Title: Chair of the Mercy Health Boards

Board Chair Profile

As Chair of the Mercy Health Boards, Virginia Bourke draws on significant experience in law, corporate governance and consultancy, as well as active involvement in community organisations.

Virginia joined the Mercy Health Boards in 2016 and is a member of the Mercy Health Corporate Governance, Remuneration and Nomination Committee and the Mercy Health Quality Committee. Virginia is a lawyer and consultant in private practice with a breadth of corporate governance and commercial experience. She has served as a director of several not-for-profit organisations including a term as a Director of Mercy Health from 2008–2014, and as a member of the Mercy Health Human Research Ethics Committee. She is currently Chairman of St John Ambulance Victoria and Director of St John Ambulance Australia. Virginia is also a Member of the Boards Appointment Committee with the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and an Advisory Board Member for the PM Glynn Institute at Australian Catholic University.

Virginia has broad legal experience, previously working as General Counsel for the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and as Special Counsel in the Employment Law group at Minter Ellison Lawyers. Virginia brings a community perspective to role as Chair of the Mercy Health Boards, informed by her long involvement with local parish, school and not-for-profit organisations.

“I am proud to be part of the Mercy story. For me there is immense appeal in the story of Catherine McAuley: a visionary, yet practical woman, whose leadership style was based on warm relationships with those around her. I believe one of the strengths of our Boards is the diversity of its members, particularly its gender diversity. I aim to contribute not only my professional skills, but my real life experience and my perspective as a woman involved in many aspects of community life.”



Diploma Company Directors Course, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2010

Certificate IV Training & Assessment, Swinburne University, 2007

Master of Arts, Department of Literary, Visual & Performing Arts, Monash University, 1997–2001

Admitted to practise as barrister and solicitor of Supreme Court of Victoria on 1 March 1993

Bachelor of Arts/Honours Degree Bachelor of Laws, Monash University, 1987–91


Directorships and community appointments

Director, Mercy Health, 2008–14 and 2016 – current

Chair, St John Ambulance (Victoria) Inc, April 2017 – current

Director, St John Ambulance (Victoria) Inc, 2012 – current

Director, St John Ambulance (Australia) Inc, April 2017 – current

Advisory Board Member, Australian Catholic University PM Glynn Institute, 2016 – current

Chair, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea, Professional Standards Consultative Panel, 2015 – current

Member, Boards Appointment Committee, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, 2015 – current

Director, Wellsprings for Women Inc, DandenongChair, Human Resources Sub-committee; Member, Presentation Sisters Victoria Governance subcommittee (towards PJP structure) May 2008 – July 2014

Director, St Vincent’s Mercy Private Hospital2010-11 (Mercy Health nominee prior to sale of joint venture share in 2011)

Last reviewed November 26, 2018.