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 Dr Robert McLeay, BInfTech BSC (Hons) PhD
Dr Sarah McLeay, BSc (Hons) PhD
Mr James Whitelaw, BCom FCA
Presbyterian Church representatives Mr Ian Andersen
Dr Alan Headey, BA (Hons) DPsych
Mr Bruce Pearce, BSc
Uniting Church representatives Mr Stephen J Howell, FCPA FAMI 
Mr Stephen Peake, BA
Student representatives three student reps annually
Co-opted members Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies OAM, LLB(Hons) LLM FAICD


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 26 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.

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 Alan Headey, BA (Hons) DPsych

Position/s held: Presbyterian Church representative

Alan Headey is a highly qualified and experienced specialist Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor. His professional skills and experience are in the area of youth and young-adult mental health, working at the Mater Hospital with in-patients and out-patients. Alan has trained student leaders in mental health first aid and is an active researcher. He provides clinical supervision for postgraduate Psychology students at the Mater Hospital and tutors and mentors Psychology students at The University of Queensland. He has experience in management and management/Board relationships and governance.

Dr Robert McLeay, BInfTech BSC (Hons) PhD

Position/s held: Alumni representative

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.

Dr Sarah McLeay, BSc (Hons) PhD

Position/s held: Alumni representative

Dr Sarah McLeay is the Project Lead and Statistician for the PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Initiative at the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation. GMRF researchers are working to alleviate the global burden of mental and physical health issues suffered by war veterans. Sarah was a resident of Emmanuel College from 2002 to 2005, during which time she completed a Bachelor of Science in Drug Design and Development and Pharmacology and Honours in Biomedical Science. During her time at Emmanuel, Sarah was involved in many collegiate activities including Theatre Restaurant, Choralfest, Women’s Hockey, Chapel, and tutoring. After completion of her Honours degree (and after finally moving out of College!), Sarah worked as a research officer at the Queensland Brain Institute and then at UQ’s School of Pharmacy. Her work there led to a PhD project investigating dosing of intravenous anaesthetics in obesity, which she completed in 2011 with a Dean’s Commendation.

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)’s 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 27 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.

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, Alumni representative

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 to become WallaceHMW, 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.