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. 

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. 

Dr Heidi Leeson

Head of Evaluation and Research

Heidi is an experienced researcher, evaluator and psychometrician who has had extensive experience working with public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, designing and measuring the impact of major transformational programmes in both education and health services within New Zealand and internationally. Heidi has previously been an advisor to the Minister of Education in New Zealand and has provided independent reviews on large-scale government education initiatives. She was a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, and Associate Director, Survey Research Unit, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. Heidi has been widely published and has contributed to research initiatives for UNESCO, and the World Health Organisation. She was an invited author for the American Psychological Association (APA) Handbook of Testing and Assessment in Psychology and is an ongoing article reviewer for the APA Journal of School Psychology and Measurement.  

Jean-Francois Arlove

Head of Operations and Finance

Jean joined Springboard Trust in March 2019, following 25 years in the advertising and media industry as CFO and COO at TBWA New Zealand, the agency that created Ira Goldstein for ASB. 

As a member of the Springboard Trust Leadership team, Jean is responsible for all internal operations, finance, human resources, information technology and marketing. 

Jean has a passion for mentoring youth and working in the education space, and dreams of running a school one day. 

Mary Hahm

Executive Manager

Mary has a legal and development background, having studied in the U.K. She is purpose driven and motivated to create lasting social impact and sustainable change with Springboard Trust. With experience working in Asia in the fields of social investment and environmental conservation, Mary is excited to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to strengthen the education sector and ultimately improve the learning outcomes of our youth. 

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. 

Carol Barnett

Programme Manager (Northland)

Carol brings a range of experience from the private and public sectors, including work both nationally and overseas in Russia, Japan and Tonga. 

Carol started as a Capacity Partner with Springboard Trust in Northland in 2014 and in that role has drawn on lessons learned from both the public sector (DIA, MSD, TEC, Correspondence School) and the private sector (including Deloitte Touche Tomatsu). She has experience in innovative problem solving, relationship management, project management and strategic planning. 

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. 

Hayley Schnell

Programme Manager

Hayley has a long association with education, having worked as a librarian, campus manager and faculty director at the University of Auckland, as well as in other tertiary education roles. Additionally, she has recent experience in the retirement village sector. Hailing from South Africa, Hayley has lived in New Zealand for over 20 years and loves her life here. She looks forward to contributing her skills and experience to the Springboard Trust team.  In between work and sleep, she loves to socialise, meet new people, listen to music and write.

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. 

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

School Innovation Services Lead (Wellington)

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! 

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

Programme Manager (Wellington)

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

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.

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. 

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.  

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. 

Our Partners