Wayside is led by an Executive Management team like no other.

Jon Owen, Pastor and CEO 

Jon Owen began as Pastor and CEO of Wayside Chapel in July 2018, taking over from Rev Graham Long after he announced his retirement from the role of 14 years. Jon was the lucky candidate, chosen from 50 potential applicants after a robust and independent selection process conducted by Wayside’s Board. Jon was already a big part of Wayside, working as Assistant Pastor and Head of People and Culture since November 2016 and all of our community was delighted with this decision.

Jon has dedicated his life to closing the gap on inequality, both living and working amongst some of the most disadvantaged communities in Sydney and Melbourne. Jon is a qualified social worker and prior to Wayside, he built his way up through the organisation Urban Neighbourhoods of Hope, an international not-for-profit organisation specialising in community development and care coordination for families living in poverty. In this role, he shared his family home with those seeking asylum, refugees, people in recovery and ex-prisoners.

Jon lives and breathes Wayside’s mission of creating community of no ‘us and them’ and looks forward to carrying forward Rev Graham Long’s legacy into the future. He is joined by an accomplished team of 140 staff and some 600 volunteers each week at Wayside Chapel.

Jenny Woolley, Head of People and Culture

Jenny joined Wayside in 2021 and leads the Wayside Chapel people and culture experience. Jenny is an established leader, with over 15 years of experience in people and culture strategy development and execution, delivering value-adding organisational people solutions and transformational change programs. She has worked across the technology, property and NFP industries for companies including Bridge Housing, Investa Property Group and Core Logic. She holds a Bachelor of Business from Macquarie University and is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Caron Rooks, Head of Programs

Caron’s motivation for being a member of The Wayside Chapel community is her passion for social justice and commitment to treating all people with dignity, compassion and respecting their human rights. Joining Wayside in December 2023 as Head of Programs, Caron brings extensive executive senior-level experience within the education, disability, community sectors which has informed her deep understanding of the barriers to inclusion of marginalised communities.


As a For-Purpose people leader she is excited about sharing her knowledge, skills, experience, and passion at Wayside, making an impactful contribution to Wayside’s vision, mission, and living the values. Caron values working collaboratively with colleagues and nurturing a culture of learning, continuous improvement, inclusion and empowerment. She has completed a Bachelor of Commerce, Economics, Education and Post Grad Cert in Adult Education & Literacy.