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.

Melissa Collins, General Manager

After two years of leading Wayside Chapel’s People and Culture Team, Melissa was appointed to the newly created role of General Manager in 2021. In her new role, she supports Pastor and CEO Jon Owen by undertaking the day-to-day operational leadership of the organisation, in a significant step in the future story of Wayside Chapel. She brings with her a very broad skillset and many years of senior leadership experience, in both delivering projects and leading change. Melissa has a Master’s of Business in Human Resource Management from UTS. Wayside has been a very special place for Melissa and her family for several years and she is delighted to be able to contribute to Wayside’s vision and mission in a meaningful way.

Lorrae Collins, Head of Finance

In 2021 Lorrae joined Wayside Chapel bringing her Financial, IT and Property skills from other not-for-profit organisations. Her role as Head of Finance ensures the stewardship of Wayside’s hard earned financial resources across the organisation, as well as guiding the IT and Property teams to maximise the use of technology and care for our facilities and assets for the long-term. Lorrae loves the “for purpose” sector and has a passion for ensuring gifts and grants of public monies entrusted to Wayside are managed effectively to make a difference for Wayside’s visitors. A Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Lorrae grew up and was educated in Sydney, and has worked in Australia, New Guinea, the UK and France. Away from Wayside, Lorrae volunteers as a director for a charity helping women and children escaping domestic violence.

Laura Henry, Head of Marketing and Fundraising

Laura started at Wayside as a volunteer in the Community Services Centre in 2010 and was instantly hooked by the vision of love over hate. When a marketing role became available in late 2011, Laura jumped at the chance to combine her professional experience in corporate communications with her passion for making a difference. Laura is now Head of Marketing and Fundraising and holds responsibility for raising funds to support the programs and services delivered by Wayside and for raising awareness and increasing the public profile of Wayside, as well as the issues facing people who access services. Laura has a Bachelor of Communications. After starting out as a journalist, Laura worked in communication roles in the Australian financial services sector, the UK government and the Canadian tourism industry.

Brianna McNeillage, Head of Social Enterprise

Brianna came to Wayside in 2020 to work with the Wingspan Project and the social enterprises, and she now leads the organisation’s social enterprises and employment pathway program. Brianna has worked with social enterprises in Sydney, regional Australia, and abroad, to build sustainable employment pathways for people who face barriers to entering the workforce. Through this work, Brianna has seen the power of employment to change people’s lives and has developed a passion for creating a more inclusive workforce for all. Brianna has studied languages, international development, and filmmaking. She has dedicated her career to understanding, giving voice to, and creating opportunities for disempowered groups. At Wayside, Brianna has overseen the integration of the employment pathways into each social enterprise, and continues to work with the Wayside staff and community to create a workforce with no ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Tim Stern, Head of Programs

Trained in education, business and law, Tim has worked for around 25 years in the public health and community services sectors with a special interest in managing services to address social disadvantage among those most marginalised. Over that time, Tim has focused on HIV prevention and care, and community level management of drug and alcohol addiction. Having worked at Wayside in the mid-90s, Tim commenced his second stint at Wayside Chapel in 2015. Currently, he is the Head of programs where he directs innovative service strategies to address varied and complex needs among the visitor community. 

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.