Board of Directors and Staff
Paul Hanrahan – Executive Director
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 twenty years, especially through his peaceful vigils outside abortion mills with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. He has also travelled around Australia since the late 1990s educating students, informing parents and encouraging embattled pro-lifers. Paul’s background is in Financial Planning, and he ran his own small business in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire for 27 years. In 2010 he gave it away so that he could pour all of his energies into the cause for life, which is becoming more urgent than ever in Australia. In his spare time, Paul is most likely to be found at home cheering on the St. George Dragons with his wife of 27 years Chris (who is actually a Sharks supporter – how exactly that works we don’t know!) and his five children. He also loves The Goons (familiarity breeds affinity) and a good game of tennis.
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