EREA Board Profiles

Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies OAM (QLD)

Iyla was admitted as a lawyer and practised in family law and personal injuries before becoming a law academic for over 20 years specialising in mediation and dispute resolution. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Metro South Hospital and Health Service and UQ Residences Ltd. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the UQ Law School and retired as Chair of the All Hallows’ School Board Ltd (Brisbane) at the end of 2021. She has held the roles of Assistant Dean (International, Commercial and Community Engagement) QUT Law School and Head of College and CEO of the Women’s College UQ. Her previous board roles are as a Director of the Legal Aid Board Queensland, member of the Specialist Accreditation Board Queensland Law Society, National and Queensland President of Relationships Australia and National President of University Colleges Australia. Iyla was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to education, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of Women Chiefs of Enterprises International.

Cynthia Rowan (QLD)

Cynthia has spent more than 25 years in senior and executive roles with the Queensland Government, mainly on Indigenous policy and inclusion, child safety and family support. Cynthia spent two terms as a part-time Commissioner for Queensland Corrective Services where she monitored the implementation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Cynthia is the Reconciliation Action Plan Manager for the Archdiocese of Brisbane. As a recently appointed continuing Board Member (2021), Cynthia ensures continuity whilst naming the challenges and contributing strategic insights to all aspects of EREA.

David Penny (NSW)

David brings experience as a Non-Executive Director in complex not for profit organisations, including Director of the Australian Catholic Safeguarding Limited (ACSL) to make the church a safe place for all. He has also held a range of NED/Board roles including Calvary Ministries, Centre for Christian Spirituality Ltd and the BCA National Training Group (a registered training organisation in business, community services, conservation, land management, governance, training and assessment). David is currently the Executive Director of ISMAPNG and brings a detailed understanding of the Catholic Church and the environment in which it operates. He has a sound understanding of the charism of Edmund Rice.

Sonia Faccin Nolan (WA)

Sonia is an accomplished senior executive and proven Board Director. Her career has been underpinned by a commitment to integrity, excellence, curiosity and building meaningful relationships. She is an experienced strategic communications and external affairs professional having worked across corporate, resources, higher education and not for profit sectors and she continues to actively consult to and advise organisations in communications, stakeholder engagement, social change and strategy. Sonia Chaired the governance transformation within Catholic Education of Western Australia during her role as Commissioner and brings understanding of the school system, key challenges and opportunities for Catholic education in WA. Sonia currently serves on the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority in Western Australia – overseeing the iconic Kings Park; she is an active community volunteer; and holds a number of professional roles through her consultancy business.

Stephen Ellich (VIC)

Stephen is a proven Board Director and Senior Executive with a 25+ year proven track record of success in governing and leading large, complex, national organisations through the establishment, development and implementation of transformational change to deliver sustainable growth, profitability and strong operating cash flow. Specifically in the NFP area, Stephen served on the Boards of YMCA Victoria, YMCA Australia and the AICD NFP Advisory Committee (VIC). He brings a strong commitment to the charism of Edmund Rice and EREA through his close affinity with the Christian Brothers and his membership of the Board of Edmund Rice Camps (Vic) over many years. His two sons were educated at St Kevin’s College. Stephen is a Fellow of the AICD.

Brian Bissaker (NSW)

During his executive career Brian was the CEO of both Colonial First State and Virgin Money. He has extensive board experience across a broad range of entities from large global firms to start-ups and industry associations. He was also a former Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney Business School working with the Executive MBA program. Brian is the Chair of Monte Sant Angelo College and Chair of Year 13 Pty Ltd and Director of MetLife Insurance Limited.  Brian has a keen interest in education playing a key role in helping young Australians fulfil their potential in life to the benefit of themselves and Australian society. Through his charitable work Brian also has an interest in striving to alleviate the dire problem of homelessness in Australia. Brian was educated by the Christian Brothers in Sydney

Dr Susan Stevens (VIC)

Susan is currently a Board Director of a College, Pathways Deputy Chair and Board Director 2022 on the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) Education Strategy & Policy Board. She brings proven experience and performance as Principal of Loreto College, membership of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) with responsibility for this Music VCE subject across Australia and prior experience as a member of the Mary Ward International Australia Grants Committee and Chair & Director Mary Ward International Australia. Susan’s passion for quality education, dedication to Catholic education and familiarity with Victorian Regulatory Requirements will be an asset.

Mark Anderson (VIC)

Mark brings to the role over 20 years experience in non-executive director positions in the government, for profit and non-for-profit sectors with strong experience in the finance and audit areas. Mark is currently serving as a Board Director across education, aged care, leisure entities and as a member of the outgoing EREA Board represents the continuity necessary during this period of transition. Mark is strongly imbued with the charism of Edmund Rice and has deep knowledge of the 55 EREA schools around Australia.