Meet the Board

Julian Williams, Chair Smart Waikato

Julian Williams crop

Julian Williams (BSoc. Sci), of Ngaati Makirangi and Waikato iwi descendent, is the youngest of six and grew up in Ngaruawahia alongside the Waikato and Waipaa Rivers. He studied Resource and Environment Planning with Geography, graduating from the University of Waikato with a Degree in Social Sciences.

After University, Julian worked for Waahi Whaanui Trust, a marae based social service provider in Huntly. He then worked for Fonterra for a few years before being asked to return to the tribe to progress the Waikato River Claim. After 13 years working for Waikato-Tainui, Julian left as General Manager for one of the tribal units, the Waikato Raupatu River Trust. Julian has since started his own company focusing on natural resource work with local Councils, Iwi, Hapuu and community groups.

Donovan Clarke, Central Kids, Trustee Smart Waikato

Donovan Clarke

Donovan Clarke (M.B.A, B.A.) affiliates to Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Whawhakia, Ngāti Te Ata me Ngāti Hine and brings a “kete” with strong governance and business skills, and solid experience in strategic planning and leadership. As Chief Executive of Central Kids Early Education, Donovan says, “children are central to all we do”. He leads a large team of passionate people throughout the Waikato and Waiariki regions.

Previously Donovan was Chief Executive of Manaia Health PHO in Whangarei, where he worked to improve health outcomes for families and whanau across Northland. He has also had experience as a Primary Care Negotiator with the Ministry of Health debating, discussing and agreeing on issues of national significance. Donovan is also Company Director of Te Rau Ora, New Zealand’s indigenous Māori organisation providing a range of local and national programmes to improve Māori Health.

Donovan is passionate about community transformation and has joined Smart Waikato with a view to building a culture of excellence while equipping the team to empower rangatahi through real education to employment pathways. Donovan is a fluent speaker of Te Reo Māori and understands the importance of empowering rangatahi and the workforce. In his spare time Donovan likes to support the NZ Warriors, Chiefs and spend time with whānau.

Deb MacCauley, Trustee Smart Waikato

Deb MacCauley

Deb MacCauley (GradDip in HR Management) has extensive HR knowledge and general management experience, with a pragmatic view of the challenges faced by young people looking to enter the world of work.

Deb’s first-hand experience with Smart Waikato initiatives as General Manager of People and Culture at Hamilton-based engineering business Longveld inspired her bid for board appointment after she saw the positive impact of the trust’s work.

Deb’s previous roles include New Zealand National Fieldays Society HR and Health and Safety Advisor as well as being a joint owner-manager of a commercial construction company.

She believes that her HR and general management knowledge along with her experience in working with a wide range of people will contribute positively to the trust’s success.

Roger Evans, Stafford Engineering, Patron Smart Waikato

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Roger Evans is the Founder of Stafford Engineering Ltd, established in 1986 to service the local precision engineering market. Over the ensuing years the business has prospered and evolved into a comprehensive facility manufacturing food processing and packaging equipment for the world. In recent years Roger has discovered that skill shortage has been an impediment not only to the business operation but also the opportunity to grow. 

Frustration motivated Roger to first understand and devise strategies then confront the issues by providing leadership, vision and energy. Roger helped establish WECA (Waikato Engineering Careers Association) with a vision to raise the profile of engineering so that young people see engineering as a career of choice. This led to Roger becoming a founding trustee of Smart Waikato Trust, with a vision to co-ordinate meaningful connections between Waikato Schools and Waikato work places. In 2019 he became the first Patron of Smart Waikato Trust.

Grace Reid, Trustee Smart Waikato

Grace Reid

Grace Reid is now a Trustee after being the Youth Advisor to the Smart Waikato board. As a previous national winner of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) with Just Kidding Babysitting, Grace is also a member of the YES Alumni Advisory Group. A former Waikato Diocesan School for Girls student, Grace’s role with Smart Waikato gives her an opportunity to contribute a youth voice to the organisation. Grace also works for Bayleys Hamilton after more than three years as an intermediate accountant at KPMG and is working towards the Bachelor of Applied Management qualification.

Damian Sicely, Showing Waikato, Trustee Smart Waikato

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Damian Sicely (M.B.A.) is the General Manager for Showing Waikato, responsible for the management, leadership and creation of the iconic Waikato Show and A&P Show. He has experience in recruitment, human resources, coaching, governance and strategy. Damian has also recently founded his own small business, CV Lab, to help and advise people with writing CVs and the job application process.

Building a career based on helping others, Damian is a big believer that you can have a significant impact on a communities by starting with the right education at a young age. Working with the Smart Waikato board is something that he feels very passionate about growing to help even more people across the Waikato with the amazing initiative that the group has had.

Amy Hacker, Principal/Tumuaki Paeroa College, Trustee Smart Waikato

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Amy Hacker (BS, MS, PG Dip) has a background in Research Science, Biology, Zoology and Education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology/Animal Biology, a Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Post-Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching – and over 12 years’ experience in school leadership as a Deputy and School Principal. Amy has provided leadership in several different Waikato schools – Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, Otorohanga College, and Paeroa College. Amy has a student-focused approach to education and the overall wellbeing of students, which sets her in good stead for her role as Smart Waikato Trustee. 

Amy was brought up in the USA and immigrated to New Zealand in 2000. Prior to entering the secondary education sector, she taught at a University level and was employed in the private sector as a Wildlife Biologist. With a teaching background in Science, she has been involved in education for more than 25 years.

Amy is committed to secondary partnerships with business and industry to provide students with pathways through and beyond school. She is passionate about the importance of connecting with local businesses and training opportunities to create powerful post-secondary opportunities for young people.