ABOUT SO BRAVE
AUSTRALIA’S YOUNG WOMEN’S BREAST CANCER CHARITY
The So Brave Project began as an idea. Founder, Rachelle Panitz, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 32, having just given birth to her son 6 weeks earlier and with a 3 year old daughter. Breast cancer turned her family and professional life upside down and she decided that when she was better she would harness this setback and help empower other women. As a young mother diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after the birth of her son, Rachelle wanted to create awareness that breast cancer can happen at any age, with or without a family or genetic history. More importantly, she felt very isolated, confused and frustrated with the lack of medical support and information about the risk of breast cancer and in diagnosing young women.
She founded So Brave after a chance meeting with internationally renowned bodypaint artist Wendy Fantasia and the project has gone from strength to strength. In January 2017, after nearly twelve months’ work and nearly 50 creators and participants, So Brave Ltd successfully became its own legal entity and charity, with a clear message and focus on young women diagnosed with breast cancer. So Brave is recognised as raising awareness that #youngwomengetbreastcancertoo and fundraising for breast cancer research.
Our first Calendar, launched in August 2016, began with amazing media publicity and successfully raised $70,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Centre for Personalised NanoMedicine. Our first Calendar featured the stories and breathtaking images of young women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before 40 years of age in iconic and beautiful locations in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast.
Building on this success, So Brave spent the first half of 2017 travelling over 16,000km bringing the project to regional and remote women across Australia, in its year of regional focus. In partnership with the McGrath Foundation and with the support of many wonderful McGrath breast care nurses, So Brave brought our once-in-a-lifetime bodypaint and photoshoot days to women across regional and remote Australia; from Mackay in far north Queensland, to Phillip Island, Nullawarre and Warrnambool in Victoria and over to Coffin Bay and up to Alice Springs and many places in between. In 2017, our fundraising efforts supported the McGrath Foundation and in 2018, we were so excited to be able to donate $35000 towards their efforts to provide Breast Care Nurses to women across the country – particularly in regional and remote Australia.
2018 continued to establish So Brave as Australia’s Young Women’s Breast Cancer Charity. We finally expanded our reach to cover all Australian states, with our first Tasmanian and Western Australian So Brave Model Ambassadors. In 2018, in recognition of the loss of Nyrie and Ria, we made two legacy donations to the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Foundation in their honour.
In 2019, So Brave expanded our mission into high schools, focussing on our mission to educate and advocate for young women to be their best health advocates and for the next generation to be #breastaware.
Since 2016, 48 young women diagnosed with breast cancer before they were 40 years old have participated in our Model Ambassador program from across Australia. Our signature program was complemented in 2019 by the addition of our online group for young breast cancer survivors – So Brave CONNECT.
We will continue to support our investment in breast cancer research and look forward to building on our successes year on year and raising awareness of breast cancer diagnosis in young women. We look forward to continuing to grow as an organisation and change the conversation for young women.
So Brave Board
Founder and Managing DirectorRachelle has a passion for life, and after her own breast cancer diagnosis in January 2014, she, like all our So Brave Model Ambassadors, found it very difficult as a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Following nearly 18 months of treatment – surgery, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy and hormone therapy, Rachelle wanted to raise awareness and funds, in the hope of making an easier path for the 900 young women under 40 years of age that are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each year.
So Brave’s first calendar was delivered in 2016, and in 2017, her small private enterprise, transformed into an Australian National Charity, registered nationwide. Rachelle has surrounded herself with a talented board, supportive advisors and an amazing creative team to form So Brave Ltd in 2017. As the Founder and Managing Director of So Brave, Rachelle hopes that all young women will become #breastaware for life.
Arthur is an experienced company director who currently holds three board positions in addition to Chair, So Brave Board. Within those boards he has played a leading role in leading strategy development and reporting, a merger and integration, and has led the
recruitment of a new CEO on one of the Not For Profits.
Arthur has over thirty years of experience as manager, business owner, and consultant who works across a wide range of
business sectors, including mining, health, engineering, oil and gas, construction, and not-for-profit. During his 35 years
of running and growing his own businesses and working with other organisations to deliver their targets, he have focused
on the critical elements of strategy, people, systems, and finance. He bring the skills of clear strategic thinking honed
across many sectors over many years. Arthur has also worked closely on the leadership teams and Board of Leukemia Foundation Queensland and Leukemia Foundation Australia over the past 30 years.
Arthur is also involved in the development of strategy for a start-up which is growing in the international market from their
Australian base. Arthur holds an executive MBA, and has recently enrolled in the MSc in Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (HEC Paris) as well as AICD Directors Course and AICD Directors Nexus development program. Arthur’s professional role frequently involves working with boards, managing directors/ CEOs in strategy development and advice.
Arthur brings experience, skills, and professional background, a wide perspective to So Brave and explains his interest in So Brave comes from a strong sense that there is so much we can do to improve the life of those who have been diagnosed with cancer (in this case Breast Cancer) via advocacy, support programs, information, and better treatment.
Non-Executive Director and Company SecretaryVirginia is a corporate finance lawyer based in Brisbane, Partner of Mills Oakley and is team leader of the Corporate Advisory Team. She specialises in mergers & acquisitions, corporate reconstructions and capital market transactions.
Virginia also routinely advises clients on corporate governance issues, including ASX Listing Rules and Corporations Act requirements. She has extensive experience in fields encompassing infrastructure, telecommunications and energy & resources.
She is recognised in Doyle’s, Chambers and the Legal 500 for her expertise in corporate law and M&A.
Virginia has also been recognised by peers in Best Lawyers (published by the Australian Financial Review) for last 5 years running in the area of Governance/Corporate.
Samantha is an accomplished leader and strategic professional developed over 25 years predominately in the child and family, community, health and not for profit sector. Samantha is well known for her strength in leading people and shaping organisations to maximise their delivery to community.
Samantha joins the So Brave Board as a Non-Executive Director, passionate about supporting women in all aspects of their life, health and well-being, and particularly those experiencing vulnerability. Samantha is an experienced Board Director and has particular expertise in clinical and operational governance in diverse environments, including child and family services, family law, homelessness, child protection, working cross culturally, clinical psychology, health and community environments. Samantha has experience in strategy development, delivery of high quality client services, and exceptional people and leadership skills.
Samantha stands out for delivering and implementing large scale and high level change programs in collaboration with other executives. Samantha is regularly involved in sharing her expertise through executive coaching.
Samantha is a registered Psychologist, holds a Bachelor of Laws, an MBA and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Non-Executive DirectorLaura joins the So Brave Board as a Non-Executive Director, bringing her diverse interdisciplinary skill sets and strong project management experience and career experience across education, design and built environment industries. Laura has worked for vocational education and training, multi-disciplinary design firm and member based organisations in Not-for-Profit and Private sectors. she is committed to life-long learning and enjoys exploring the intersection of her interests in design, education, technology and the built environment.
Laura is passionate about creating positive impact and align with individuals and organisations that are creating positive change to see how she can show up to help. This has seen her involvement continue to evolve across various member based and NFP organisations at different capacities. By working at the edges, she is able to apply different insights, perspectives and skills.
Non-Executive DirectorAs a young mother of 3, with a real passion for ensuring access to information, support and education for those with Breast Cancer, Janet came on board with So Brave as a non-exec Director in Aug. She brings with her over 20yesras of national and international healthcare and clinical research experience from the public, private and not for profit sectors.
Her strong business acumen, healthcare management and clinical trial skill set will play an important role in supporting So Brave’s strategy for facilitating research initiatives in Breast Cancer
Janet is currently the GM for Research at Lung Foundation Australia which is the only national charity providing support, advocacy, information and research for patients living with a lung disease.
Janet holds a Bachelor of Nursing, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
Non-Executive DirectorPenny is the Queensland Regional Manager for Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.
Penny is accomplished in supporting, engaging with and representing CA Members and Provisional Members completing the Chartered Accountants Program throughout the sprawling state of Queensland. Supported by an energetic team in Brisbane, she is responsible for the ongoing strategy and management of Queensland operations, secretariat to member advisory panels and Council, delivery of member services and events across the state, as well as building strong stakeholder relationships with the business community and state government sector, adding value to the membership.
Passionate about making valuable connections in business and the community sectors, Penny draws on her extensive networks and stakeholder relationships built over many years to drive useful commercial and professional outcomes for her members.
Penny has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance and a Bachelor of Arts, 3 sports-crazy children and an incredibly supportive partner, Aaron. She underwent surgery and treatment for breast cancer in 2014.
Bodypaint ArtistWendy Fantasia is an exceptional and experienced professional bodypaint artist.
Currently ranked 5th in the world for facepainting, Wendy’s artistry and ability to completely transform each So Brave Model Ambassador into a work of art is nothing short of extraordinary. We are blessed to have Wendy on our creative team.