Dr Prasantha Jayawardhana (PJ) – Chairman of the Board
Dr. Prasantha Jayawardhana, also known as PJ, has a real desire to help people grow and develop their knowledge, understanding, and application of the Biblical perspective on managing money and finance. His ongoing goal is to build an inter-generational board that will guide COMPASS into the future.
PJ was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but has lived in Australia since 1972. He graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (First Class Honours) in 1988. Five years later, he went on to complete a PhD in Spatial Modelling, a discipline that he applied over the next 10 years working in the mining industry, and setting up geographical information systems (GIS) for mineral exploration and environmental management. From 2003, he worked as a consultant to the mining industry, both in Australia and overseas, to help train mine staff on the implementation and use of GIS. In 2013, he returned home to run the family business.
In 2008, PJ had a born-again experience of Christ, which changed the direction of his life. He became the chair of the Aspley East State School Chaplaincy Committee, and began teaching Religious Instruction. He also served as chair of Grace Lutheran College Parents & Friends Association, Rothwell. He was on the board of Crown Financial Ministries before transitioning to COMPASS in 2015.
PJ is happily married to Gwenda and they have three teenage children.
Mr Ian Charlesworth – Company Secretary and Board Member
Our company secretary, Mr. Ian Charlesworth, comes to COMPASS with a long involvement in youth ministry. Originally from Melbourne, he became a Christian in 1987 at the National Christian Youth Convention, run by the Uniting Church. He gained youth work experience in the Uniting Church and with the Anglicans, and studied at Ridley College, before taking a staff position at St. Hilary’s Anglican Church in Kew as a Schools Worker.
Ian moved to Brisbane in 1994, where he undertook further theological studies at the Bible College of Queensland, studied Business Management at TAFE, and completed a Diploma of Youth Work through SU QLD. In 1998, Ian successfully applied to be the inaugural chaplain at Kedron State High School. He held this position for fifteen years, providing pastoral care, teaching religious education, directing 20 SU QLD camps, and establishing a Friday-night youth group within the school that operated for ten years.
Since 2014, Ian has continued to engage with the local community. For four years, he was a director of Cup From Above, a community café in Aspley. For three years, he was on the Executive of the Aspley Scout Group Committee. Currently, at Aspley State High School, he is on School Council and secretary of the Chaplaincy Committee.
Ian was a long-term member at Albion Baptist Church, where he met his wife, Deanne. They now live in Aspley,have three children, and attend Bridgeman Baptist Community Church.
Pastor Cam Bennett – Board Member
Since 2011, Ps Cam Bennett has served as the Pastoral Care Pastor at Clontarf Beach Baptist Church. But getting to this point has been a remarkable journey. Originally from Sydney, Cam has successfully owned and operated a range of small businesses both in Papua New Guinea and here in Australia. His interests were mainly in restaurants and hotels, but also with brief stints in dairy farming and indoor cricket.
Cam was married to Judi for 36 years, before being widowed in 2003. They had two sons. Cam’s life took a further downward turn when a business venture failed, causing him to lose everything. And he turned to alcohol. A miraculous “God moment” blessed him with sobriety, which he has maintained, with God’s help, to this day. He credits a Bible-study he attended in 2004 at Bridgeman Baptist Community Church with radically changing his life. The study was about managing your finances God’s way and, through that experience, Cam came into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, which gave him purpose and direction, and the chance to get his life back on track. Cam continued attending Bridgey until being part of a team that planted The Grove Baptist Community Church.
Sensing the call of God to prepare for pastoral ministry, Cam studied at Malyon College from 2006 to 2010, attaining a Bachelor of Ministry. The next year, he moved into his current role at Clontarf. Because of his own personal experience of God’s power to transform lives, Cam is a passionate advocate for COMPASS – finances God’s way.
Cam remarried in 2007, and now he and Anita are “Dad” and “Mum” to Anita’s 19-year-old grand-daughter, Deni.
Mr Henry Leong – Board Member
One of the younger members of the COMPASS board, Mr Henry Leong grew up in Brisbane, where he attended Northside Christian College. An accomplished sportsman, Henry has a long association with Australian Football. He played junior football with the Everton Wolves, before playing with Mayne in the QAFL. In 2014, he signed with the Aspley Hornets AFC and now plays senior footy in the North East Australian Football League.
Henry owns his own business, called Active Stride, a company specialising in the online promotion and sales of sports electronics, such as GPS watches, heart rate monitors and bike computers.
Henry came to faith in Christ in his mid-primary school years, but a defining moment in his Christian walk came when he joined Bridgeman Baptist Community Church. He is now a youth leader at Switch, the Friday night youth group, and also leads a young adults group. Henry has a heart for sharing God’s truth and love with people he meets through his sporting connections, business, and at church.
Mr Tony White – Advisor
Tony White brings to the Compass team a unique blend of business and missions.
Tony started his professional career as an accountant and has been involved in a diverse range of industries including publishing, property development, mortgage origination, funds management, retail, hotel management and food and beverage. Since 2001 Tony has been involved in the franchise industry having led the international expansion of the 800 store Gloria Jean’s Coffee brand from 7 markets to 42 from 2005-2014. Tony was actively involved in the sale of Gloria Jean’s Coffees in 2015 to a listed public company. From 2015 -2017 Tony headed The Coffee Club brand both domestically and internationally and has recently set up his own global consulting practice where he consults to global brands and has an interest in several technology start-ups.
In 2002 Tony and his wife Janeen took their 4 teenage daughters to India on a specific call from God to do a work amongst the disadvantaged poor with a focus on the girl child. They remained in India till 2013 and lived out their calling by blending mission activities with business. Tony has been active in the Business as Mission global movement with active involvement in the think tank group on developing mission focused “business in a box” initiatives.
Tony has a B.Min from Malyon College and has a passion for seeing Aussies released from financial and spiritual bondage. He lives in Brisbane with Janeen and 4 adult daughters and grandkids.
Mr Andrew L’Almont – Advisor
Mr. Andrew L’Almont, was born in Sri Lanka, where his grandparents had been Christian missionaries. At the age of 13, with his mother and sister, he emigrated to Australia in 1969. He spent a couple of years living on the streets of St.Kilda, before a sporting scholarship to Melbourne High School gave him an academic education and opened the way for him to play rugby for Victoria and district first level cricket for Prahran.
Moving into the finance sector, Andrew worked for the Australian divisions of three English banks – Barclays, Midland, and Standard Chartered – before establishing Ray White Financial Services in Australia in 1993 and Harcourts Financial Services in 1998. After relocating to New Zealand, Andrew took a position on the Baptist Savings board and as marketing manager, conducted more than 400 financial wellness seminars, with over 12,000 people attending.
Now back in Australia, Andrew’s Christian faith motivates him to help people take the necessary steps to experience financial freedom and to find a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for themselves.
Andrew lives in Margate, is married to Shereen, and has two adult sons.
Pastor Matthew Sweetman – Advisor
Ps Matthew Sweetman, has a background in finance and accounting. A graduate from Grace Lutheran College, Matt completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Finance & Management at Queensland University of Technology in 2012. After a brief stint with the finance division of the Royal National Agriculture & Industry Association (RNA), he worked for Ernst & Young for three years.
Matt comes from a family with a Christian heritage. Despite this, he had to find his own faith journey, which he did, and in his early teens he came to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Since then, he has found joy in the deepening of his Christian faith, with engagement in the local church being a significant enabler of this growth. Matt believes in the importance of the local church and sees it as the hope of the world, as it proclaims and embodies the gospel.
After a year-long internship in 2016, Matt is now a full-time pastor at Bridgeman Baptist Community Church. He is currently studying a Masters of Divinity course at Malyon College. His desire is to minister to youth and young adults, and to help them establish a spiritual foundation in Christ that will carry them through the rest of their lives.
In early 2017, Matthew married Gemma, whom he has known since he was young. They live in Bridgeman Downs, but take every opportunity they can get to enjoy time at the beaches of the Sunshine Coast.