Our People

LEAD brings together sector and social change experts from across New Zealand and the Pacific, with collective experience of over a century. Some of our team were creators, trainers and leaders of the Unitec Institute of Technology's Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management & Leadership between 1996 and 2018. 

All of us consult and train, and each brings complementary specialities offering a full suite of expertise under one roof. 

Sandy Thompson
Director & CEO

Sandy has been involved in the non-profit sector for over two decades in both a voluntarily and professional capacity.

She has dedicated the past 15 years towards helping a range of organisations in the social services, community development and education sectors. As well as carrying out this work in New Zealand, Sandy’s experience has been utilised in the wider Pacific region. She has held leadership roles within the community sector and the tertiary institute of Unitec, giving her an adept ability to mentor, teach and support in the NGO context. Sandy is an approved mentor for the NZ Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Education.

She consistently strives to develop leaders and academic programmes, and is well versed within the child and youth sector. Sandy has made valuable contributions to education on a global level, by co- creating an online teaching resource that focusses on engaging Pacific learners in the classroom. 

Contact Sandy on 022 572 6398

Garth Nowland-Foreman

Garth has worked in, with and around not for profit organisations (and those who fund them) since he started his first organisation with school mates as a 16 year old. His ongoing love-affair with not for profit organisations is an expression of his passion to create a more just and inclusive world. Over the years he’s led a government policy unit, worked in a cabinet minister’s office, was National Director for the Australian Council of Social Service, and for 20 years developed curriculum and taught part-time in the Unitec’s programmes.

Now as a Director of LEAD, Garth brings extensive review and evaluation expertise to the team, having conducted major reviews for Lottery Grants Board, NZ Agency for International Development, J R McKenzie Trust, Christian World Service and Community Waikato. As a strategist, he has undertaken projects for a very wide range of organisations, including the Ministry for Social Development, Trade Aid NZ, Asia Development Bank, ESCAP, UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, Commonwealth Foundation, NZ Council for Christian Social Services, AIDS Foundation, Philanthropy NZ, Tindall Foundation, Todd Foundation and Volunteering NZ.

Garth is a seasoned coach, working with leaders from large, small, local and national organisations, for example, Te Tapuae o Rehua, Toy Library Federation, Family Centre (West Auckland), Neighbourhood Trust (Christchurch), Rape Prevention Education, Citizens Advice Bureau NZ, Christian Budgeting NZ, Community Energy Action, Girl Guiding NZ, Waimana Kāku Tribal Executive. He has facilitated workshops in New Zealand, the Pacific, Australia, and Hong Kong on a range of values-based leadership issues, including Governance, Monitoring & Outcomes, Lobbying & Influence, and Strategy & Contracting.

Garth is a strong advocate for ‘our sector knowing better', and chaired the first, collaborative Study of the Non-Profit Sector in New Zealand (as part of the Johns Hopkins International Comparative Study of the Non-Profit Sector), was deputy chair of Australia New Zealand Third Sector Research, and is long-standing co-chair of Tangata Whenua, Community & Voluntary Sector Research Centre. He has written widely on sector issues.

Contact Garth on 021 395 532

Aly McNicoll

Aly has over 20 years of experience as a trainer, consultant and leadership development practitioner across the business, public and not for profit sectors of Australia & New Zealand. She was a founding lecturer on the Unitec programme and has always had a passion for teaching and mentoring.

Aly has worked with hundreds of not for profit organisations and leaders to navigate the various challenges they face delivering impossible tasks on minimal resources. Aly worked for 5 years with Pacific NGO leaders on a United Nations Development Project/PIANGO partnership programme running workshops in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Guam, Pohnpei and Papua New Guinea. She is regularly called upon to present at international conferences in America and Europe to share her expertise in coaching and mentoring. 

Contact Aly on 021 304 761

Hilary Star Foged

As a qualified nurse, Hilary spent 20 years working with government and non-governmental organisations in the community health sector from a community development perspective. Her focus was on empowering individuals and communities. Highly motivational in approach, Hilary encourages and inspires others to recognise their own skills and wisdom, and this is reflected in her work with and advocacy for youth, young children and women. 

Also passionate about natural environments, Hilary spent many years working, managing and leading in the landscaping industry, and taught landscaping skills for home gardeners as part of a community education programme. This motivated her to study for a qualification in Adult Education which contributed to her developing interest in teaching and learning.

For ten years, Hilary was a member of the NZ and Pacific teaching team for the Unitec programme. She holds a Certificate of Adult Education and a Post-graduate Diploma in Educational Leadership and Management.  Hilary facilitates workshops, provides coaching for leaders in the not for profit sector, and is an integral part of the training and leadership courses LEAD offers around the country.  She is an experienced and skilled facilitator of Te Tiriti Workshops, exploring with participants both the significance and history of The Treaty of Waitangi, and how to apply its intention and principles in their organisations, as well as how to build relationships and accountability in partnership with Maori.

Contact Hilary on 021 134 0929

Solomone Duru

With significant leadership experience throughout the Pacific, Solomone has managed an NGO and provided training and capacity development to multiple NGOs and community based initiatives.

He was a General Secretary for the Bible Society of the South Pacific, responsible for overseeing work on 16 islands, and continues to contract for them, as well as a local consulting company providing capacity building to Fijian communities and NGOs. He also consults for the Octagon Leadership and Community Development Program (OLCDP), which he helped co-create - its aim is to develop a Pacific leadership model which empowers local communities and builds their capabilities.

As a trainer and tutor, Solomone was directly involved with the Unitec programme and continues to provide great insight towards NGO Managers around the Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Is, and Samoa. He developed certificate level courses for NGOs on behalf of the Pacific Island Association of Non Government Organizations (PIANGO),  and also developed a program for Transformational Leadership called MaiMagi for churches, which aims to integrate traditional, spiritual and modern wisdom in real life to help communities - through their leaders - understand the world they are in and hence how to serve effectively.  Solomone is the Chair of the Praxis Pacific Trustees providing developmental training for youth in at least 5 countries of the Pacific. 



In 1989 Ruth was asked to create a stakeholder newsletter for a community theatre group protesting racial injustice, and with that ‘fell’ – somewhat naturally – into working with organisations to connect more powerfully with the world around them to have greater social impact and bring about change. She works with visionary leaders and managers of not for profits and other interesting organisations, helping them to translate their great ideas for social good into implementable reality. With a commitment to learning-on-the-go she holds several certificates in relevant specialties including organisational development, not for profit leadership, and coaching and mentoring. She brings three decades of solid generalist NFP knowledge and a pragmatic approach, and works away from herself, assisting others to learn and grow. 

Ruth manages the strategic marketing portfolios for several not for profit organisations, does organisational development and change management, and also coaches leaders and managers in the sector. Her specialist skills are strategic communication, marketing, leadership coaching, and organisational development. Prior to 2008, for six years Ruth led Promotions for NonProfits, a marketing consultancy exclusively for not for profit organisations and community groups in Southern Africa. She also facilitated the Southern Africa regional fellowship network for the grant-making agency Ashoka Innovators for the Public, providing mentoring to 50 leading change agents and social entrepreneurs.


Kim Penetito & JOSEPH WARU

As professional and life partners Kim and Joseph are Hauā Partnerships, sharing over 60 years’ experience in a huge range of organisational and community development expertise, including Māori development, group facilitation, mediation, and advocacy. Their consulting and training collaboration offers a rich and resourceful spring of knowledge to individuals, leaders, family groups, and small or large organisations in the not for profit and community sectors.

Since 2012 they have worked with a number of organisations to develop their bicultural practice including Rape Prevention Education, NZ Playcentre Federation and Cancer Society; and have facilitated numerous Treaty of Waitangi Workshops with community organisations, most recently Philanthropy NZ member groups. They have facilitated PATH Strategic Planning with SAFVPN, Manurewa Marae and South East Asian Collective; and brought cultural supervision to build the cultural competency of both groups and individuals. During 2017 Hauā Partnerships was appointed by Auckland Council to assist Western Local Boards to strengthen their engagement with the local Māori community.

Hauā Partnerships bring some unique approaches to their work: Their facilitation methodology incorporates a practice developed from their many experiences whilst dealing with diverse groups in a range of fields of interest and focus, whilst 'Brave Conversations' employs a set of protocols that ensure safety-centric learning.

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Lindsay Jeffs

Lindsay is a community sector developer, business practitioner and social entrepreneur with a broad background in the not for profit, tertiary education and commercial sectors. Lindsay is fully committed to bringing out individual and organisational capability, and has played a vital role in the formative years of many well known community groups throughout New Zealand. 

During 2017 he worked with organisations such as Christchurch City Council , Canterbury Community Business Trust, Te Tapuae O Rehua, Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Waiheke Adult Learning, Waiheke Community Housing Trust and Home Grown Waiheke Trust. For over a decade he played a fundamental strategic managing role in New Zealand’s first school of social enterprise.

Lindsay is internationally recognised as an advocate for local economic development initiatives and social enterprises in order to address issues facing disadvantaged individuals, communities and the environment. As an accredited social accountant and auditor, Lindsay holds a vast amount of financial knowledge and wisdom within the not for profit sector.