The Springboard Team

Meet the people who keep Springboard running.

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Leadership Team

Dale Bailey


Dale has worked in numerous role that influence his passion for the lives of young New Zealanders, holding responsibility for learners across the nation. He began his career as a teacher of geography and social studies in Palmerston North, before working as a Review Officer (and later Deputy Chief Review Office Northern) at the Education Review Office (ERO). 

He has since worked as Counties-Manukau Regional Manager and Northern Manager at Careers New Zealand, leading the redevelopment of careers education and support for schools. More recently, Dale joined the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as Director of Collections Research and Learning. In the last year Dale has been undertaking work as a consultant for his own company. 

Dale is keenly interested in promoting high quality education and life long learning across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Amavi Mey

Head of Strategy and Innovation

Amavi has worked in the UK and NZ as an International Assignments Manager, HR generalist, IT and Project Manager. After having her son, Amavi decided to pursue her dream of becoming a school teacher and taught in low decile schools in Auckland for nearly a decade.

Originally from Cambodia, Amavi loves to travel, read, ride her bike and surf. Amavi is based in Auckland and leads our Central North Island team (Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay). 

Bronwyn Austin

Head of Product and Curriculum Development

Bronwyn joined Springboard Trust with extensive experience across the Not for Profit, Public and Private Sector, including Amnesty International, Design Council, Network Rail, the UK Office of Communications and Southern Cross Health Society. 

A qualified coach, Bronwyn thrives on enabling teams and individuals to articulate and achieve their goals. Outside of work, Bronwyn loves to spend time exploring new places and spaces with her family.

Claire Le Grice

HR Manager

Claire brings her passion for people, wellbeing and business together with her background in senior people roles across the technology and creative industries in NZ and the UK as our first HR Manager.

With an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, she really enjoys creating positive learning experiences in life and work. In her role at Springboard, her focus is to empower the team to be their best, contribute to our organisational culture and their own personal development. She doesn’t believe in a one size fits all approach (to anything), and loves being back in New Zealand with her young family after living in the UK for 5 years. 

Esteban Drovetta

Head of Social Enterprise and Evaluation

Esteban joined Springboard Trust after volunteering as a Capacity Partner and working as a Kāhui Ako Consultant. He brings over 15 years' experience in human capital, strategy, change management, capability development and leadership systems design. 

Originally from Argentina, Wellington has been home for more than 14 years and have worked in multicultural environments including Australia and the Pacific, South and South East Asia and Latin America. 

Ellie Sutton

Head of Delivery

Ellie leads our programme delivery teams in Wellington and Canterbury. She brings more than 15 years of professional experience working in the not-for-profit sector with passion and drive to contribute her energy, skills and experience to make a difference in our communities. 

Before joining Springboard Trust, Ellie worked for the Ministry of Education and the Westland Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP). In this role, she led the development of the 10-year strategic plan for youth development in Westland.

In her spare time, Ellie volunteers for a Rangatahi Māori Youth Development Trust and sings with Christchurch City Chorus. 

Linnae Pohatu

Pae Arahi

Linnae (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tāmanuhiri and Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki) has 14 years experience as a senior executive in the state and museum sectors. This includes leading Māori and Pacific strategy and development at Career Services, representing them during the development of the Government’s Māori Education Strategy Ka Hikitia Managing for Success (2008-2012). She was also the Tumuaki Director Māori and Pacific Development at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. There, Linnae was responsible for strategic Iwi Māori and Pacific partnerships and relationships, Māori and Pacific strategy, and human remains repatriation. Linnae also has experience as Bicultural Policy Analyst at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Policy Analyst at the Office of Treaty Settlements which included a period as Private Secretary to the then, Minister Responsible for Treaty Settlements, Hon Margaret Wilson, and as an Associate Clerk to the Māori Affairs Select Committee in New Zealand’s Parliament, after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) in Māori Studies at Te Pūtahi ā Toi, Massey University. Linnae’s voluntary life saw her working with her iwi, for over 20 years, as an oral history researcher, Trust Secretary and Trustee for the Ngā Taonga ā Ngā Tama Toa C Company, 28 Māori Battalion Trust. Linnae lives in Tāmaki Makaurau with her partner, Julian, and their 9-year old son Tamati who is a graduate of Te Kohanga Reo and current learner in one of Auckland’s oldest Māori Language Immersion units, Whanau Ata, at Freeman’s Bay Primary School.

Suzy Mitchell

Head of Partnerships

Suzy joined Springboard trust in March 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, with a background in community development, volunteer management and managing geographically dispersed teams. Passion for education, professional development and communities has been a common theme within her career so far. She has broad industry experience across commercial and not for profit sectors including her most recent role at St John. Suzy is excited to work with our partners to provide opportunities to collaborate across sectors that provide so many benefits both parties. 

Auckland and Northland

Carol Ashton

Programme Manager (Northland)

Carol joins Springboard Trust with extensive experience across the education sector, including teaching and leadership roles in Primary, Secondary, Career Education and Learning Support in New Zealand schools, and International Baccalaureate (IB) World schools in Asia. As Northland Regional Manager for Career Services for ten years, she developed a particular interest in building positive and collaborative workplace cultures, and taking a strengths-based approach to staff development.

Carol is married, with three children, three stepchildren, and three grandchildren. She loves art, travel, reading, baking and sewing, and is an enthusiastic user of technology to create connection between people with similar needs and interests. 

Desiree Wehrle

Programme Manager (Auckland)

Desiree joined Springboard Trust in 2020 with a passion for making a difference. She has broad cross-sector experience as a solicitor, Site Acquisition Manager at Vodafone, Executive Assistant at an NGO in Cambodia, and most recently as Community Engagement Manager for Safe Roads.

With strong skills in stakeholder engagement and project delivery, Desiree looks forward to once again applying her skills in the non-profit sector - this time in her home country!

Emma Robertson

Programme Manager (Auckland)

Emma joins Springboard as a skilled service delivery and relationship manager with more than 10 years' experience leading teams. She has broad industry experience across private, public and not-for-profit sectors including 5 years in the business training sector supporting business growth. 

Bringing strengths in leadership, strategy and stakeholder management, Emma joins Springboard Trust with a passion for services which benefit the wider community and promote equality. 

Eleanor McNellan

Programme Manager (Auckland)

Eleanor joins Springboard Trust with a background in consultancy. With KPMG in the UK she specialised in strategic planning and implementation, change management and transformation – both in business and the public sector. She has spent several years in the education sector working with schools and local authorities to implement Government policies aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people. She is passionate about education and the difference it makes in young people’s lives. 

Hariesa Faavae

Programme Coordinator (Auckland and Northland)

Hariesa joined Springboard Trust in 2018 bringing skills in administration and organisation. Born in Samoa, Hariesa is Nuiean, Tokelauan, and Samoan. Hariesa has experience in customer-focused roles, her previous roles include working as a nurse aid for the elderly and running holiday programmes and after-school care. With a son who is 7 years’ old, she says she is excited to join an organisation in the education sector focused on improving outcomes for young people. 

Jennifer Wright

Programme Manager (Auckland)

Jennifer joins Springboard Trust with extensive experience in the education sector with a career that started by supporting charities teaching in developing countries. She is skilled at leading programmes that make a meaningful difference in the lives of students and strengthening education frameworks. Passionate about making a difference in peoples' lives and giving back to the community, Jennifer has a proven ability to create environments of open communication, innovation and learning, working with key stakeholders and communities, listening to their needs and fostering channels of openness to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

Central North Island (Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Waikato)

Dianne Smardon

Programme Manager (Central North Island)

Dianne brings skills in staff development, educational leadership and e-learning to her role with the Springboard Trust.  Over the past 20 years Dianne has worked as an adult educator in NZ where she has led several professional development projects. She has also fulfilled short term consultancy contracts in Hong Kong, working as a coach with school leaders and teachers. 

Most recently, Dianne has been contracted by the University of New England (NSW) in the capacity of In-Country Lecturer in a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded Teacher Education Project, in the Republic of Nauru. 

Hilary Tomkins

Programme Manager (Bay of Plenty)

Hilary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her work in Human Resources, Education and Organisational Development in NZ and internationally, with a focus on leaders and organisational culture.

She has extensive experience in career development and counselling, while she and her husband share a strong sense of social justice and community development which contributed to their time spent in Thailand and Singapore. She now calls Tauranga home and outside work, spends time with family and friends, getting out into nature, and undertaking her Masters.

Jenny Grace

Programme Manager (Hawkes Bay)
  • Waka: Tainui 

  • Iwi: Raukawa 

  • Hapu: Ngati Huri 

Jenny brings to the Springboard Trust whanau a rich background in people, systems and general management.  Values-driven, Jenny is passionate about supporting people and the organisations they are part of to thrive.  Jenny holds a bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, and Labour Studies, and a post graduate diploma in Leadership Communication from the University of Waikato.  

In her spare time, Jenny enjoys exploring the beautiful Hawke’s Bay region on her motorcycle, and spending time with family, friends, and her two dogs. 

Mark Elliott

Programme Manager (Waikato)

Mark brings a background from private business, high-performance sport and government agency experience. With over 20 years in the High-Performance sport sector Mark’s passions are in the areas of collaboration, accelerated learning and personal development to optimise team potential. Mark was on the HP Sport New Zealand Advisory Board for the development of High-Performance Elite Coach capability and leadership.

Before his immersion in High-performance sport he completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and Postgraduate in Sports Medicine, operating as a Director in a large multidisciplinary clinic in Christchurch. Mark has just completed a contract as Regional Manager for the Electoral Commission leading the delivery of the 2020 General Election for the Upper North Island.

Originally from Central Otago, Mark is now based in Cambridge with his wife Jude and children Hamish and Manaia. As a family, they love tramping and exploring the great outdoors. Mark is a volunteer running and triathlon coach working with Intermediate and High School pupils in the Waipa region. During quiet times he is an avid cyclist tackling the multiple trails and roads around the Waikato.

Nicola McCartney

Programme Manager (Central North Island)

Nicola joins Springboard Trust with 35 years’ experience in adult education, including 15 years in workplace education and training and 13 years in operating her own English Language School. 

She was Associate Director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults at the University of Waikato from 2010 to 2018. Her practice is informed by her work in adult literacy, language and numeracy in New Zealand; grassroots education for women in Mumbai; international education development at Columbia University; and her background as a school owner of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in New Zealand.

Ruth Channing

Programme Co-ordinator (Central North Island)

Ruth joined Springboard Trust in May 2016 with a background in administration and coordination. In past roles Ruth carried out monitoring and organisational duties, scheduling and managing workflow for technical staff. In her new role at Springboard Trust she will be providing administrative support to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and staff. Having worked with children for many years and with two young boys of her own, she is excited about working for an organisation that values creating opportunities for children to succeed. 

Sue Duignan

Programme Manager (Central North Island)

Sue joined Springboard Trust in 2018 bringing a commitment to people and organisations thriving in their communities. Passion for community has underpinned Sue’s leadership within her senior roles in local government and, more recently, her consultancy practice. 

Sue has a Masters Degree in Management, a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Science and a Bachelor of Education. She has also worked as a teacher, a social worker, a community worker and an adult educator. She enjoys collaborating with others to enable great change. 

Wellington and Canterbury

Esteban Drovetta

Head of Social Enterprise and Evaluation

Esteban joined Springboard Trust after volunteering as a Capacity Partner and working as a Kāhui Ako Consultant. He brings over 15 years' experience in human capital, strategy, change management, capability development and leadership systems design. 

Originally from Argentina, Wellington has been home for more than 14 years and have worked in multicultural environments including Australia and the Pacific, South and South East Asia and Latin America. 

Harata Christie

Programme Coordinator (Wellington and Canterbury)

Harata has a storied background in Customer Relations Management and Systems Operations, including working alongside the Financial Sector. Working a not-for-profit organisation within the education sector is a new experience, but she is ready to further her development and growth. 

In her role with SBT, she will provide support to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and Staff. Harata is a mother to three beautiful girls who are her ‘WHY’ - and she looks forward to seeing them become their own Leaders! 

Katerina Kupenga

Programme Manager (Wellington)

Katerina (Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau a Apanui) joined Springboard Trust in November 2020. She has a depth of knowledge in coaching for performance, strategic planning and leadership development. Katerina grew this coaching approach within the banking sector, including design and facilitation of training components, both nationally and internationally.

Over the past 20 years, Katerina has raised her four sons within ngā Kohanga Reo me ngā Kura Kaupapa and has played key roles in establishing strategies that improve and promote Kaupapa Māori. In her spare time, she loves weaving, accompanying her partner on his tramping and hunting trips, and cheering on her sons at their numerous sports games.

Nicholas Williams

Programme Manager (Canterbury)

Nicholas has 20 years experience working in primary, secondary, and adult education in both teaching and senior management roles.

Nicholas holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership, a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching, a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, and a Bachelor of Commerce. He has a particular interest in leadership within cross-cultural contexts and has studied te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and advanced wānanga in Māori health and education practices.

Prior to joining Springboard Trust, he worked for AIHE consultants and Kakakura Health Services providing cultural direction and Māori educational programmes for individuals and organisations.

Rebecca Brown

Volunteer Manager

Rebecca joined Springboard Trust in October 2017. She has an extensive background in education, based in Wellington for the past 15 years. She holds an honours degree in education and has worked as a teacher, assistant Principal, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal. 

Rebecca has also worked for Te Toi Tupu in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Cognition, supporting principals and their schools in curriculum areas. Rebecca has three daughters and loves spending time with her whānau relaxing in the outdoors. 

Sarah McElrea

Programme Manager (Canterbury)

Sarah joins Springboard Trust as a Programme Manager in Canterbury. Bringing her broad experience in stakeholder engagement, sustainability, project and programme delivery Sarah is enjoying the dynamics of working with school principals and dedicated volunteers and watching the growth of all participants on the Springboard journey. Sarah has worked for central government, the private sector and most recently the commercial arm of an iwi and been involved in other not for profits including Coastguard and a youth mentoring programme.

Stephanie Jones

Programme Manager (Wellington)

Stephanie joins us from previous project management roles with Oranga Tamariki, Corrections and Greater Wellington Regional Council. She has managed projects in sustainability, adult learning and development, public transport and communicable disease outbreaks. During the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Stephanie was seconded to the National Health Crisis Centre and managed the planning and intelligence function. 

Operations and Finance

Bridget Hobbs

Project Assistant

In her role, Bridget is managing several projects, including overseeing the creation process of the annual Impact Report and developing standard operating procedures for the variety of learning programmes. Bridget is passionate about implementing systems that streamline processes, promotes continuous improvement and creates environments that enables others to thrive and succeed.

She also enjoys coordinating large-scale events and producing meaningful marketing content such as articles and visual assets. In her spare time, you would find her either running, in the kitchen baking, or curled up on the couch with a good book.

Catherine Shakespeare

Portfolio Project Manager

Catherine joined the Springboard Trust in May 2018, with over 10 years’ experience as a Project Manager / Coordinator working on a number of projects across New Zealand and New South Wales.

While the majority of her previous work has been in Health and Health IT, she is enjoying the challenge this role presents in the Education sector. Her role is to manage key organisational projects and develop systems and process that support all departments, and ensure the effective development and delivery of the portfolio and operations.

James Beavis

Marketing and Communications Manager (Auckland)

James comes from a background in business process improvement, marketing and creative writing. He has led digital transformation projects, editorial departments and is well-versed in the Agile methodology.  

In his role, he will bring this varied skill set to Springboard digital, editorial and social strategies, translating strategy into action, strengthening Springboard’s alumni engagement and keeping us on the cutting edge of educational research.  

Juliana Brown

Evaluation Manager

Juliana joined Springboard Trust in 2020 from a tertiary-based research background. She completed her Bachelors and Applied Masters in Psychology, and is currently finishing her PhD at the University of Waikato.

Juliana has been involved in numerous research projects which have utilised qualitative and quantitative methods. Driven by community psychology values, she sees Springboard as an organisation where she can combine her passions for research, social justice and community development. She calls the Waikato home, and spends her spare time at the gym and exploring the country with her partner and two dogs.

Yasmin Tuarae

IT Helpdesk and User Support

If something is broken, Yasmin is the person to fix it. With extensive experience in systems administration at one of New Zealand's largest telecommunications companies, she brings enthusiasm and skill to the Digital & IT Team.  

Yasmin's responsibilities include maintaining and operating our digital infrastructure, organisational support and training, and ongoing customer service. She politely requests you don't make any 'turn it off and on again' jokes. 

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