The story of Open Heart International starts with Russell when he first visited Tonga in 1985 where his missionary parents were living at the time.

Inspired to make a difference, he returned home and collaborated with two of his colleagues at Sydney Adventist Hospital, where he was working, to establish the organisation with two of his colleagues.

An ICU nurse originally, Russell now operates his own business as a management and business strategy consultant.

Russell led Open Heart International’s projects in Papua New Guinea and East Africa until 2018.