The Emmanuel College Council acts as the governing body for the College and ensures that the affairs of the College are conducted in an efficient, transparent and ethical manner.

The Emmanuel College Council consists of elected representatives from:

  • Emmanuel College alumni
  • Presbyterian Church of Queensland
  • Uniting Church (Queensland Synod)
  • Emmanuel College students
  • The University of Queensland Senate
  • Principal of Emmanuel College


Council members


Chairman Mr Stephen J Howell, FCPA FAMI
Deputy Chairman and Honorary Treasurer Mr James Whitelaw, BCom FCA
Principal Dr Jane Thomson, BA BSW (Hons) PhD GCTT
The University of Queensland Senate representative vacant
Alumni representatives Mrs Julie Bennett, BCom CA ANZ
Ms Emma Szczotko, BLaws (Hons) BA
Mr Nicholas Young, BIntStudies
Presbyterian Church representatives Mr Ian Andersen
Mr Bruce Pearce, BSc
Uniting Church representatives Mr Stephen J Howell, FCPA FAMI
Mr Stephen Peake, BA
Student representatives three students annually
Co-opted members Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies OAM, LLB(Hons) LLM FAICD
Dr Robert McLeay, BInfTech BSC (Hons) PhD
Mr James Whitelaw, BCom FCA


Council member biographies

Mr Stephen J Howell, FCPA FAMI

Position/s held: Chairman, Uniting Church representative

Stephen is the Principal Advisor for Effective Governance Pty Ltd, a corporate governance consultant, forensic accountant, company director, former company secretary, external auditor, corporate regulator and CFO. Stephen has over 27 years’ experience as a governance professional with expertise in board governance, corporate regulation, compliance, risk management, administrative, civil and criminal law, and applied corporate governance. Stephen consults predominantly to boards, having a wide practice around Australia. He conducts board reviews, board evaluations, and individual director evaluations and assists boards with director skills analysis and development. He also provides boards with director remuneration advice and delivers professional development to directors and senior executives, particularly in applied corporate governance.

Stephen is an Elder of the Uniting Church and the Chairman of Elders at St Andrews Uniting Church, Brisbane.

Mr Ian Andersen

Position/s held: Presbyterian Church representative
Ian Andersen has been a Director of Fairholme College in Toowoomba since 2000, Finance Director since 2003 and Chairman of the Board since 2007. He currently serves on the Presbyterian Church of Queensland’s Finance and Administration Board and is a member of St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital Board and their Finance Committee. Mr Andersen has held a variety of finance, administration and management positions in both public and private sector organisations. He is a qualified Quality Assurance auditor. Ian currently works as a Community Engagement and Stakeholder Management professional with the Queensland Government.

Mrs Julie Bennett, BCom CA ANZ

Position/s held: Alumni representative

Julie Bennett attended Emmanuel College from 1983 to 1985 and graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Commerce. She was the Students’ Club Treasurer and a student councillor on the Emmanuel College Council in 1985.

After graduating from University in 1986 she took up a graduate accountant’s role with Horwath and Horwath Chartered Accountants. In 1988 Julie was recruited by Duesburys Chartered Accountants, which eventually merged with Deloitte. After many years with Deloitte she went on to join a small firm of five staff in 1998. This firm, which has grown to a staff of 80, is now known as Pilot Partners and Julie is a Director in the Business Advisory Division.

Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies OAM, LLB(Hons) LLM FAICD

Position/s held: Co-opted member

Iyla Davies (nee McKay) was an Emmanuel fresher in 1978. She was admitted as a lawyer in 1983 and for over 20 years was a law academic. Iyla was previously the Head and Chief Executive of The Women’s College within The University of Queensland. She has also held community service leadership roles as the Queensland and National President of Relationships Australia, National President of University Colleges Australia, Director of Legal Aid Qld, Executive Member of Women’s Education Worldwide, and a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Specialist Accreditation Board.

She is a currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Law at UQ, Chair of the All Hallows’ School Board, and a Non-Executive Director of Mercy Community Services and Metro South HHS.

Iyla was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education in 2018.

Dr Robert McLeay, BInfTech BSC (Hons) PhD

Position/s held: Co-opted member

Dr Robert McLeay is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of DoseMe Pty Ltd, a translational research company founded in 2014 that enables medical practitioners to improve patient outcomes by individualising medicine dosing. Robert was a member of Emmanuel College from 2002 to 2004, and greatly enjoyed his time at Emmanuel. Robert’s research background and PhD are in bioinformatics. During his PhD, he developed several novel software tools that are currently integrated in a leading bioinformatics toolkit (the MEME Suite). Prior to commencing his PhD, Robert worked in the information technology industry as a software development team leader, managing large software projects in the telecommunications and ISP sector. Robert also holds an adjunct appointment at The University of Queensland Medical School.

Mr Stephen Peake, BA

Position/s held: Uniting Church representative

Stephen Peake is a consultant to the not-for-profit sector in banking, property and management. He graduated from The University of Queensland after studying Arts/Law, and then joined National Australia Bank working in diverse roles in management, retail and commercial. He next joined the Uniting Church Investment Service, the finance/treasury operation of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) Queensland Synod, developing systems and lending and deposit portfolios. As Manager, Property Resources for the Synod he worked with the wide range of UCA activities — hospitals, aged care, colleges and community initiatives. Stephen was a director of UC Super, the national superannuation fund for church employees, and was closely involved in the successful merger of the fund with NGS Super.

Combining his lifelong passion for music with his commercial experience, Stephen serves as treasurer of the internationally acclaimed Voices of Birralee, a Brisbane community-based choral music organisation with nearly 400 children and young people involved in numerous ensembles and performing and touring Australia and overseas. He also plays bass guitar in his own weekend warrior band, DadJoke, and is a member of Oxley Uniting Church.

Mr Bruce Pearce, BSc

Position/s held: Presbyterian Church representative

Bruce Pearce is the longest-serving present Emmanuel College councillor, having joined as a Presbyterian Church nominee in 1989. He was born in Crows Nest, educated at Pechey State School nearby, then as a boarder at Brisbane Boys’ College and at The University of Queensland. He resided at Emmanuel from 1962 to 1965.

Upon graduation with the degree of Bachelor of Science, Bruce joined the then Irrigation and Water Supply Commission as a hydrogeologist, serving the Queensland Public Service in various departments in the water industry from which he retired as a Principal Project Officer in 2015.

Among his professional memberships, he is a member of the Geological Society of Australia Inc, where he has served as Assistant Secretary of the Queensland Branch, and is a member of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, serving on the National Committee for four years.

During his 28 years of Council service, he has held the positions of Deputy Chair, Deputy Recorder and Recorder. In 2009, Bruce was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College.

Ms Emma Szczotko, BLaws (Hons) BA

Position/s held: Alumni representative

Emma Szczotko attended Emmanuel College from 2011 to 2013 and graduated from The University of Queensland in 2016 with a dual degree in Law (Hons) and Arts (majoring in Art History and French).

Emma works in governance and reporting at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, combining her passion for the creative arts with her legal background, working closely with the Gallery’s Board of Trustees.

During her early career, she practised as a solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills, a top tier commercial law firm, working both on transactional and litigious matters in a range of industries for both private and public sector clients. During this period, she also undertook a legal secondment to Queensland Treasury.

Throughout Emma’s three years at Emmanuel, she was heavily involved in College life participating in a range of cultural, sporting and community pursuits and served on the Students’ Club Committee and as a Wing Community Leader. She has always keenly supported and volunteered with local not-for-profit social justice organisations and is enthusiastic about fostering diversity and inclusion.

Dr Jane Thomson, BA BSW (Hons) PhD GCTT

Position/s held: Principal

Dr Jane Thomson is the Principal of Emmanuel College. A social worker by background, Jane completed a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Queensland and then undertook her social work degree and PhD, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, at James Cook University. Jane’s early career was in statutory child protection and hospital social work. She has worked in a number of universities as a social work academic and in management roles, including three years as Vice Principal of Emmanuel College (2009-2011).

Mr James Whitelaw, BCom FCA

Position/s held: Deputy Chairman and Honorary Treasurer, Co-opted member

James Whitelaw attended Emmanuel College from 1984 to 1986 and graduated from The University of Queensland in 1987 with a Bachelor of Commerce. He was a Student Councillor on the Emmanuel College Council in 1986 and has been a member of the Emmanuel College Council since 2002.

On graduating from UQ, James joined Deloitte Touche Tomatsu in 1987 and went on to co-found HMW Partners, a leading independent Queensland Chartered Accounting firm, in 1991. In 2015 HMW Partners joined forces with Wallace Group, and subsequently became HMW Group, one of Brisbane’s leading boutique firms of chartered accountants and business advisors. James is a Fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and currently sits on a number of private and public boards.

Mr Nicholas Young, BIntStudies

Position/s held: Alumni representative

Nicholas Young attended Emmanuel College from 2009 to 2011 and graduated from Deakin University with a Bachelor of International Studies.

He has worked on strategic and operational procedures for amongst others, Red Frogs Australia, WA Electoral Commission, St John’s Ambulance, and not-for-profit community service providers in remote Australia.

He is currently a Senior Strategy Officer and Principal Governance Officer with Public Safety Business Agency where he drives business improvement through the design and implementation of innovative and effective solutions.