Bryan grew up on her family's cattle and sheep properties near Coonabarabran in northern New South Wales. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in economics from the Australian National University in 1968. She also completed a graduate degree at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.
In 1992, Bryan was appointed head of the New South Wales State Super and Investment Management Corporation, becoming the first woman to run a financial institution of its size. In 1996, she became managing director of Axiom Funds Management until the company was sold to Deutsche Bank and she became Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Asset Management.
- MarketScreener. "Elizabeth Bryan - Biography". www.marketscreener.com. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
- "Elizabeth Bryan AM". ANU. 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
- "Virgin Australia Board of Directors | Virgin Australia". www.virginaustralia.com. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
- Pash, Chris (2015-04-28). "Elizabeth Bryan takes the chair at Virgin Australia, working relationships with institutional investors". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
- McKeith, Sam (28 April 2015). "Virgin Aust's new woman chair a "positive"". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
- Liew, Ruth (2015-06-26). "IAG appoints Virgin Australia chairman Elizabeth Bryan as deputy chair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2020-06-16.