The Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation (CELF) offers a part-time, 8-month leadership development programme to connect and elevate leaders across all sectors and industries within the Waikato.


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.


The University of Waikato - Waikato Management School is our strategic partner in delivering the programmes CELF offers and is active in leadership research projects. Together, we are crafting modern, agile, and practical educational material and activities.


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Class Size (Max)



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

Class of 2021 Programme



Wednesday 11am  –8.00pm                      

Welcome to CELF
Strength Finder Feedback Session
April 13-16Tuesday – FridayEntry retreat (3 nights)
May 28-29Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
June25-26Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
July23-24Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
Friday- -SaturdaySite visit and workshop (overnight field trip)
Friday – SaturdaySite visit and workshop
October29-30Friday - SaturdaySite visit and workshop
November24-25Wednesday - ThursdayExit Retreat (Overnight)
26Friday 6pm - 10pmGraduation



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.”


It starts with a conversation