Board of Directors and Staff

Paul Hanrahan – Executive Director

Paul has been married 32 years and has been Executive Director of FLI for nearly 7 years. Paul has also been the Sydney coordinator of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants for 20+ years. Paul has travelled around Australia helping other groups establishing Helpers’ prayer groups outside abortion clinics. This usually entails meetings with Police and Local Council officials, often with a lawyer and running seminars and Q and A sessions.

Paul is a veteran Australian pro-lifer. He has tirelessly taken the message of the dignity of life to the streets of Sydney for over 20 years, especially through his peaceful vigils outside abortion mills with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants , pouring all of his energies into the cause for life, which is becoming more urgent than ever in Australia.


David Bruggeman – Chairman of the Board / Director

David is the cheerful manager of the general store and post office in the quaint village of Wingello in the Southern Highlands of NSW. He is also a lecturer in Accounting and Business at UTS in Sydney and the manager of his own company EASI (Electronic Accounting Systems Integration). David and his wife Lana have eight children – the youngest is 3, the eldest 24 – and they are passionate home-schoolers. After a time living in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, they now enjoy NSW country life while David travels to clients across the country. His greatest inspiration is St. Thomas More, and he has volunteered at FLI since 1997.


Michael Towke – Director

The son of Lebanese immigrants who settled in Redfern, Sydney, Michael grew up as a proud Maronite Catholic. In 2013, he left behind a career in politics to join the FLI board, compelled by a passionate desire to see the rights of the weakest Australians protected, and tired of the fecklessness of Australian Parliament on life issues. Michael graduated from Sydney University with a Social Policy/Philosophy degree and 1st class honours in an Engineering degree. He also has an MBA. Prior to his service in politics, he worked in the telecommunications industry to which he has now returned. He has also been a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society for over 20 years, and is currently a regional president. He lives with his wife Joanna and their 93-year-old grandfather. They have attended prayer vigils with the Helpers since 2004; and have a baby boy, Michael Joseph.


Maria Scheller – Director

Maria José practised as a commercial and resources lawyer, and also an executive public servant. For four years, she worked in Timor-Leste – the country from which her parents emigrated as refugees at the onset of the 1975 civil war. While she was passing through Montana, USA in 2011, she was greatly inspired by hearing  Abby Johnson tell her conversion story – from abortion facility director to outspoken pro-life advocate. Upon her return to Australia, Maria José offered to volunteer, and later work, at FLI, which she did with her characteristic dynamism and warmth. She loves to travel, hike, read, visit the theatre and spend time with her extended family. Maria José is fascinated by the Catholic faith which she so recently re-discovered, and which she has explored, among other means, by travelling on a Christmas pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ.


Maria Menkens – Director

Maria grew up in North Queensland, one of seven children. Whilst at school she completed her performer’s certificate in piano.
Maria went on to study Pharmacy at the University of Queensland and graduated with first class honors in 2000.
She then went on to study medicine, again through the University of Queensland, completing a post graduate Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 2004.  Whilst at university Maria was actively involved with the Helper’s and other pro-life groups.
She completed her Specialty in Paediatrics in 2012.  Maria delights in working with children ranging from premature infants to adolescents.   She currently works in a busy private practice.
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