Our History

Where Springboard started - and why it matters

It is nearly two decades since Springboard Trust’s first incarnation, named the Social Innovation Accelerator. We worked with strategic, finance and legal professionals to assist one social impact organisation every year, improving their planning skills and developing their growth.  

However, it became quickly apparent that one organisation per year was not having a profound enough impact on the biggest challenges facing New Zealanders. That is why, in 2006, we refocused our work entirely around the education sector. The next year, Springboard Trust was born.  

2006: Narrowing the focus

Our founding Chairman, Ian Narev, and CEO, Lorraine Mentz, spoke to 48 South Auckland principals to determine their needs, and work out what Springboard Trust could do to help them grow.  

The responses were near-unanimous in their calls for assistance in strategic planning. Together, Lorraine and Ian, who at the time was with global consulting firm McKinsey and Company developed a curriculum and programme loosely based on McKinsey’s own model for strategic planning and thinking. In 2007, they put the planning into action and designed our foundation programme, Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.  

2007: Cohort One

The pilot of Springboard’s work – the first Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme - was launched in 2007. A cohort of six principals from Manurewa took part, building one-on-one relationships with strategic experts, under the watchful eye of Ian and Lorraine’s facilitation.  

The results spoke volumes. With massive praise for the leadership building, strategic planning and high levels of trust, it was clear that Springboard’s programme had real value for New Zealand’s educational leaders.  

Current era: Development and tailoring

Since 2007, the programmes have greatly expanded. We have now supported more than 400 New Zealand principals, impacting some 140,000 students nationwide.  

The programmes – much like our schools – are bespoke. Every individual, every school faces its own unique set of challenges, and part of Springboard’s model is tailoring the work we do to those situations. We scope and pilot programmes only where people have invited us in. Since the 2007 cohort, that has expanded to Kaikohe in 2014, Waikato in 2015, Gisborne in 2016 and Wellington in 2017.  

In 2018, we saw rapid expansion throughout the South Island and to Hawke’s Bay. In 2019, our team persevered to meet the local demand and expanded to Bay of Plenty and Wairarapa supporting a total of 19 cohorts that will continue their learning journey with Springboard by accessing a range of programmes and services that are a part of our Alumni Services portfolio to help school leaders further develop their leadership.  

In 2020 we launched two new initiatives, School Innovation Services (now more generally Ministry of Education PLD) and Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals.

In 2021, two new pilots emerged - Balanced Scorecard for Schools Aotearoa and Strategic Leadership for Middle and Aspiring Leaders. Respectively, they focused on tracking and measuring progress of strategic goals and building the capability of the next generation of educational leaders.

And in 2022, we began delivering new Alumni Services tailored to the needs of principals in the first year of implementing their strategic plan.

A history of collaboration

One of the biggest successes of Springboard has been the creation of a safe space for principals to challenge their ways of thinking.  

With no direct government funding and a unique cross-sector model, NZ principals are free to communicate with their business mentor wholly transparently and freely. It provides a constructive, critical and non-educational lens through which educators can review the way they work, lead and report in their roles.  

Businesses do not impose their thinking on principals, and nor is the learning a one-way street. Both volunteers and principals learn untold amounts about themselves and each other, connecting over a shared desire to give back to New Zealand students.  

Additionally, Springboard’s programmes bring a diverse group of principals together to share insights about their strategic planning and leadership. With cohorts of six, principals get the sense of camaraderie and connection that is often lost in the busy day-to-day of their work.  

Our team provides a high-trust environment that allows both principals and volunteers to bring out the best in each other and strive to make a difference in their communities.  


  • 2006: First connection with South Auckland principals  

  • 2007: First SLPP cohort (Manurewa)  

  • 2011: First Alumni Services programme 

  • 2013: First Alumni Learning Event 

  • 2014: First non-Auckland cohort (Kaikohe) 

  • 2015: First Waikato cohort 

  • 2016: First Gisborne cohort 

  • 2017: First Wellington cohort, HPL and HPLT launch and Secondary Schools pilot 

  • 2018: South Island and Hawke’s Bay launch, first Annual Planning Workshops 

  • 2019: Bay of Plenty and Wairarapa launch, convened largest Learning Event  

  • 2020: Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals programme pilot

  • 2021: HPL becomes Strategic Coaching for Leadership, Balanced Scorecard for Schools Aotearoa pilot, Strategic Leadership for Aspiring and Middle Leaders pilot

  • 2022: "Implementation" Alumni Services launched

Our Strategic Partners