+64 21 194 3884


The Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation (CELF) offers a part-time, 9-month leadership development programme to connect and elevate leaders across all sectors and industries within the Waikato. The CELF Elevate Programme is built around 3 core principles:

Integrative Leadership

Understanding of self and others. Leadership is demonstrated through the application of your character and values.

Impact Through High-Performing Teams

A leader’s influence moves beyond individuals to teams. Leadership within high-performing teams is distributed and shared.

Importance Of Leadership Capital

This programme builds your leadership capital by linking you with leaders across multiple sectors and communities.


Number of Months


Total Days


% Required Attendance


Maxiumum Class Size



Here is what you can expect on the CELF Elevate Programme

Access to short-courses

As a sponsor, participant, and Alumni you get free access to short-courses such as finance, social media, and PR

Delivered by Subject Matter Experts

Our strategic partnership with the University of Waikato, Waikato Management School ensures all content is aligned with the latest management research and leadership concepts

Experiential Field Trips

Up to 10 individual site visits to learn and observe community-based projects at work, including a two-day field trip

Pragmatic Workshops

All workshops are action-orientated and offer tangible and pragmatic ways to apply and integrate insights into life and business

High Quality Mentoring

A senior Waikato leader will be paired with each participant as a mentor; offering constructive guidance & feedback

Practical Learning Environment

Participants identify & work on their own projects, applying skills gained & solidifying their learning by doing

Deep Transfer of Knowledge

The programme ensures balanced participation from all sectors (public, business, not-for-profit, and charitable trusts)

Strength Finder Assessment & Coaching

Personality, team strength, social intelligence & leadership style assessments with coaching


We’re here to help you determine if the CELF Elevate Programme is for you – either as a participant or a sponsor.

Meet the Class of 2019

Our Alumni


Every year, we welcome a new cohort of participants we endearingly call "CELFies".

Sponsored by - WEL Energy Trust
Sponsored by

WEL Energy Trust

Mike Ryan

Manager, Product, Stakeholders & Industry
ultrafast Fibre

Norm Hill
Sponsored by

WEL Energy Trust

Norm Hill

Kaiarataki; Te Hihiri - Strategic Advisor; Māori - Boffa Miskell

Sponsored by - Tompkins Wake
Sponsored by

Tompkins Wake

Kylie Leonard

Dairy Women's Network

Sponsored by - CELF
Sponsored by


Amanda Hema

Director - The Stakeholder Agency

Foster Construction
Foster Construction

Huge Wakelin


Shane Keesom

Technical Support Manager - Gallagher

Sponsored by - Huntly Joinery
Sponsored by

Huntly Joinery

Lizana Tuake

Co CEO - CORE Education Ltd

Sponsored by - Foster Construction
Sponsored by

Foster Construction

Karlene Verryt

Finance & Property Manager
DV Bryant Trust

Sponsored by - Gallagher
Sponsored by


Nathan Collins

Operations Manager - Habitat for Humanity

Power Farming
Power Farming

Thomas Campbell

CEO New Zealand - Power Farming 


Chris Horan

Partner, Agribusiness - BNZ

Schick Civil & Construction

Schick Civil & Construction

Pat Peoples

Director - Schick Civil & Construction

Sponsored by - PowerFarming
Sponsored by


Teresa Bidlake

Regional Retail Manager - Hospice Waikato

Sponsored by - BNZ
Sponsored by


Rachel Karalus

CEO -  K'Aute Pasifica Trust

Sponsored by - Schick Civil & Construction
Sponsored by

Schick Civil & Construction

Andrew Matheson

Director - Matheson Consulting


Tania Witheford

Executive Director - CELF

Prolife Foods -
Prolife Foods

Ross Lamberton

General Manager - New Zealand
Prolife Foods


Sponsored by - Prolife Foods
Sponsored by

Prolife Foods

Rick Thorpe

Founder -  XtremeZeroWaste

Vicky Costain

GM People and Performance, WEL Networks

Karen Morrison-Hume

Director, Anglican Action Mission Trust

Alison Ferris

Regional group Convenor Representative, Dairy Women's Network

Luke O'Dwyer

Economic Growth and Planning Manager, Hamilton City Council

Ian McAlley

Director, McAlley Consulting Group

Mark Lucas

Programmes and Events Manager NZ Cycling

Ellie Wilkinson

Operations Manager, Hamilton Multi-Cultural Services Trust

Ian Jackson

GM Marketing, Profile Foods

Shannon Te Huia

CEO, Puniu River Care Inc

Carolyn Jerome

Head of Legal and Compliance

Kingsley Fink

GM, Tristram Marine

Rangimahora Reddy

CEO, Rauawaawa Trust

Andrew McKenzie

Partner, Huntly Joinery

Leah Crawford

Cooridinator - Gateway Huntly, Smart Waikato

Tony Douglas

Senior Partner, BNZ

Holly Snape

CEO, Community Waikato

Adam Findlay

Construction Manager, foster Construction

Cheryl Reynolds

CEO, Momentum Waikato

Clare van der Most

GM Organisational Capability & Development , Community Living Trust

Andrew Scothern

Software Development Manager, Gallagher 


Our Alumni

Class OF 2017

CELF cohort #2 graduated in April 2017.

David Cowley

Grants Manager, WEL Energy Trust

Sarah Nathan

CEO, Creative Waikato

Lisa Hicks

Regional Coordniator, Dairy Women's Network

Simone Molenaar

CEO, Aspire Community Support

Dean Martin

Manager, Earthworks Waikato

Brendon McLean

International Business Manager, Prolife Foods

Mike Rolton

General Manager, St Vincent de Pauls NZ

Andrew Richardson

Cheif Technology Officer

Jane Searle

General Manager, Child Matters

Nick Smith

Managing Director, Proform Plastics

Andrew Byod

GM - Central Region, St John New Zealand

Vaas Conradie

Manager - Group Strategic Initiatives, Gallagher

Sean Austin

Commercial Manager, Chiefs Rugby

Lee Patchett

Construction Support Team Leader, Foster Construction

Andrea McBeth

District Prosecution Manager, NZ Police

Silvana Erenchun Perez

Manager, Sharma Hamilton Ethnic Women's Trust

Pat Mellsop

Commercial Manager - 37 South Events | Marketing Manager - Montana Catering 

Jason Cowan

Corporate Partner, BNZ

Melissa King-Howell

Services Manager, Department of Conservation


Here is our inaugural CELF cohort, showcased by each sponsoring company

Sarah Ulmer, Olympic Cyclist – Te Awa Trust Graeme Geurts, Senior Partner – BNZ

Graeme Ward, Director Infrastructure & Assets – Wintec Leonard Gardner, Commercial Manager – Foster Construction

Wayne Naylor – Director of Nursing – Hospice Waikato Sean Lambly, GM Operations and Supply Chain – Prolife Foods

Mary Jensen, CEO – Smart Waikato Trust

Julian Williams, CEO Raupatu River Trust

Deanne McManus-Emery – Hamilton City Council Tyler Langford, Dairy Women’s Network

Susan Trodden, CEO – Orchestras Central

Roni Albert, Co-Founder – Waikato Women’s Refuge Adam Black, Security Administrator – Gallagher

James Murray, Principal – St Joseph’s Fairfield Catholic Primary School Peter Shepherd, CFO – Schick Construction

Trisha Benge, Centre Director – McKenzie Centre Peter Pooran, CEO – Stainless Design

Nic Greene, Manager – Habitat for Humanity (Central North Island) Nathan Twaddle, Athlete Life Advisor – High Performance Sport NZ Raewyn Jones, Trust Manager – WEL Energy Trust.


It starts with a conversation


It is one thing for us to talk about how great our foundation is, and the quality of the courses and programmes. It is quite another when you have real insights and testimonials from our Alumni.

Here, you can scroll through some of the thoughts and feedback from people who have been through, and grown from, our programmes.


Vikki Blundell

ex-CEO, Graeme Dingle Foundation

“After completing the course, I now believe that CELF has the potential to significantly support the economic development of the region. Investing in leadership results in investment in teams and organisations. The course is nothing short of transformational – for the individual CELFies, for their organisations both now and in future and for their more connected networks.”

Sean Austin

Commercial Manager, Chiefs

“The greatest thing that CELF has helped me with is the realisation that my role as a leader is to be a servant first to those I lead. The result has been really positive in terms of results and satisfaction for me and for the members of my team, and the organisation.”

Vaas Conradie

Manager  Strategic Group Intiatives, Gallagher

“The most impactful message for me was just how important it is to understand personal and professional purpose in order to be successful. I strongly recommend the CELF Elevate Programme to any Waikato-based company or organisation. My leadership journey will be forever influenced by the experience with CELF, the programme, and my fellow graduates.”

Melissa King-Howell

Services Manager. Department of Conservation

“It is clear that the purpose of CELF which is to increase self-awareness, develop personal leadership potential and make great connections with people across the region, was accomplished. I highly recommend it to anyone in a leadership role that has the opportunity.”

Graeme Geurts

Senior Partner - Agribusiness,BNZ

“I can’t speak highly enough of the programme. It’s been great mixing with the other participants learning a great deal from their own experiences and backgrounds. The quality of the programme overall has been exceptional, great speakers and field visits to places you wouldn’t normally get the privilege of seeing.”

Wayne Naylor

Director of Nursing, Hospice Waikato

“While on the Community Leadership Programme I have heard leadership wisdom from the leaders themselves, and been challenged to explore my own personality and leadership style, and how I have come to be the person I am today. But this is only one side of the programme; the field visits to see and hear about leadership in action have just been brilliant, energising and opened my eyes to the world of leadership beyond the state sector and not for profit and how there is so much we share across all work environments.”




Monday 4.30pm –8.00pm                      

Strength Finder Feedback Session
August27-30Tuesday – FridayEntry residency
(3 nights)
September 20-21Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
October18-19Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
November22-23Friday – SaturdayField trip (overnight)
14-15Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
March13 -14Friday - SaturdaySite visit and workshop
April1-2Wednesday - ThursdayExit residency (Overnight)
3Friday 6pm - 10pmGraduation