Community and Enterprise Leadership
Community and Enterprise Leadership

Who are we?

Our Purpose

The Waikato business community, in partnership with the Waikato Management School, initiated the Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation (CELF). Two influential business and community leaders, Dr Bernie Crosby ONZM (founder of Prolife Foods Ltd) and Mr David Irving ONZM (Chairman of Prolife Foods Ltd and founder of The ICEHOUSE) have stepped forward to bring to fruition the purpose of CELF:
“We aspire to build future leaders from all walks of life who can reimagine wealth creation from a social, environmental, cultural and economic perspective. They take charge of their lives while influencing others positively, resulting in a significant contribution for the community, society, and New Zealand as a whole. They are driven to leave a positive legacy for succeeding generation”

Leadership will certainly play a significant role for Waikato region’s future growth plan. With the future development of an inland port and logistics hub and an existing agricultural technology industry base that has potential for growth, the Waikato region will need future leaders who can lead collaboratively in a diverse multi-sector environment. There is also the need to develop leaders who not only contribute economically to this region, but who can also balance this with required community and social orientation.

Our Trustees

David IrvingDavid Irving

David Irving was appointed Chairman of the Board for Prolife Foods in October 2006.

David has helped positively shape numerous companies during his very successful business career including holding the position of Chief Executive and Area Director of Heinz Wattie, Australasia until his retirement 1997. David also took up various directorships and university positions which include Chairman of Nobilo Wines Limited and Genesis Research and Development Corporation. Chairman and major shareholder of Cable Bay Vineyards. Co-founder and Chairman of The Icehouse, an incubation and growth programme for small and medium businesses. Long term advisor to many SME's.

In addition to his business interests, David is an Honorary Professor of Enterprise and Management at the University of Auckland Business School. He has co authored a management book for owner managers titled Changing Gears and regularly contributes to Unlimited Magazine.

Bernie and Kaye CrosbyDr Bernie Crosby
Founder, Prolife Foods

In the mid 1980's Bernie & Kaye made the decision to sell their partnership interests in an established Real Estate company and embark on a new venture - the founding of Prolife Foods Ltd. Bernie's entrepreneurial and leadership skills, complemented by Kaye's approach to financial administration and her legal background and HR skills, provided the foundations and framework for the successful company it is today.

In 2005 Kaye stepped back from a management role with the appointment of an HR Manager and Bernie elected to withdraw from day to day management of the business in 2006. Both Bernie and Kaye remain actively involved in all decision making at Board level.

Bernie's successful business career includes setting up a joint venture in 1991. Snack Systems (NZ) Ltd, now known as Provender Ltd, is a snack vending business with several franchisees serving businesses throughout New Zealand and now Australia. He has taken up directorship positions and in 2009 was appointed to the Board of Waikato company, Proform Plastics Limited.

In 2009 Bernie was awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Business Studies from the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) recognising Bernie's distinguished contribution in developing a successful Waikato based business that provides employment in the Waikato region and is among New Zealand's largest privately owned and operated food businesses.

John CookJohn Cook
Founder, Stainless Design & Board Member Soda Inc

John Cook has spent the past 25 years building Stainless Design in Hamilton which has become recognised as an example of "best practise" for the light engineering sector. Through his early involvement in "Lean Manufacturing" he has been an exemplar, encouraging many other New Zealand companies to engage in continuous business improvement.

John has also been involved as an industry advisor to WINTEC through the Mechanical Engineering Employer Partnership Group and more recently as an industry adviser to the Waikato Regional Economic Development Governance Group and is currently leading the Labour Market Strategy Development team. John has recently completed a 6 year term as a founding Board member, ultimately serving as Chairman of the Board for the Soda Inc. in Hamilton. He won CEO of the year in 2007 at the Westpac Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business excellence Awards and his company, Stainless Design Ltd won Manufacturer of the Year and Supreme Business of the Year. In 2014 John was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Waikato Institute of Technology in recognition of 25 years of business excellence in the Waikato Region and services to WINTEC.

Deborah WillisDeborah Willis
Acting Dean, Waikato Management School

Professor Deborah Willis was the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington from 2004 - 2014. During her term she was also appointed PVC of the Faculty of Education. She is an Emeritus Professor of Victoria University.

She lectured in the Victoria University School of Education for over 10 years specialising in curriculum, assessment and evaluation issues. Following a period of teaching and research in the Pacific region, she was appointed Director of the Victoria University Teaching Development Centre and then Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic) with responsibility for academic policy and all aspects of teaching and learning quality.

Professor Willis has served on numerous internal, national and international review panels and was an inaugural member of the national tertiary teaching awards committee. In 2005 she was appointed by the Government to chair the Teaching Matters Forum. She served as the New Zealand representative on the Grants Committee of the University of the South Pacific for six years.

Peter SunPeter Sun
Director, Centre for Enterprise and Leadership

Peter earned degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering and worked for over 15 years in various positions and in variety of projects. He worked for Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC), Unilever, and MAS Holdings, and his most recent assignment was the establishment of a 1000 acre apparel city in VIZAG, India. He completed his PhD in organizational learning in 2006 and moved into academia in June 2007.

Peter was the Associate Dean Enterprise of the Waikato Management School and oversaw all corporate and executive education (i.e., the MBA, Post Graduate Diploma, and all customised corporate programmes). He facilitates workshops for organizations, and has consulted for companies such as Fonterra, Brandix (India, and in Sri Lanka), Sri Lanka Insurance Ltd etc. His expertise is in leadership, knowledge management, and organizational learning, and he actively researches and publishes in these areas. His leadership research lies in the area of transformational and servant leadership, at both senior and middle management, and the influence of leadership on organizational learning and knowledge management. His articles have appeared in journals such as Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Management Studies, International Journal of Management Reviews, Management Learning, and the Journal of Knowledge Management

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