Meet the Team

Mary Jensen, Chief Executive

Mary mugshot2

Mary Jensen has been the Chief Executive of Smart Waikato Trust since its inception in 2009. Mary has a background in regional development, business, education and communications.

Under her leadership the Trust has grown to successfully launch and implement a number of new initiatives including FAN, SSEP, Leadership Summit alongside six annual editions of FutureForce and managing the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme across the region.  Mary is a member of the Waikato Regional Economic Development Strategy’s Labour Market working group. In 2014, Mary was a finalist in the NZ Westpac Women of Influence Awards.

Sally Birch, Communications Manager


Sally Birch has been with Smart Waikato since 2012, managing digital, social and mass media and utilises her journalism background as the editor of FutureForce® Multimedia.

Linda Nelson Caie, HR and Special Projects Manager


Linda Nelson Caie (MA Psych. Hons) is a human resources specialist with a background in broadcasting. Linda has worked for Smart Waikato Trust since 2013 and project manages FAN events and SSEP.

Levinia Paku, Smart Waikato YES Co-ordinator

Levinia Paku2

Levinia Paku (MSc) has worked for Smart Waikato Trust since 2015 and co-ordinates The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme for Smart Waikato across the Waikato-King Country region.

Anna Allison, Project Support and Communications

Anna Allison2

Anna Allison has a background in farming and education and was involved with Smart Waikato at its inception.  She has more recently returned in a project support and communications capacity.

Penny Bunting, Intern

Penny Bunting

Penny Bunting is in her final year of a Bachelor of Business (BBus) degree at the University of Waikato, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Human Resource Management. She has interned for Smart Waikato since 2017, with her work involving video production, event coordination, communications and digital media marketing across a range of initiatives.

Jan Barnett, SSEP Facilitator

Jan Barnett

Jan Barnett is a Smart Waikato Secondary School Employer Partnership facilitator who is passionate about helping young people find success on their education to employment pathway. Jan has a extensive background in education, having worked for the Ministry of Education to develop and strengthen relationships with schools and other suppliers.

Isaac Boss, Education & Employment Pathways Manager

Isaac Boss cropped2

Isaac Boss (Bachelor of Management Studies) is Smart Waikato’s Education and Employment Pathways Manager for Southern Waikato. Tokoroa born and bred, Isaac facilitates Secondary School Employer Partnerships and Smart Transitions for the area. Isaac spent 14 years playing professional rugby in Ireland, including time working with the International Rugby Players Association to develop career pathways and transitions for players. He has also taught in local Southern Waikato secondary schools on a relief basis. The former Forest View High School head boy joined Smart Waikato to help young people in Tokoroa, Otorohanga, Waitomo, Putaruru, Taupo and surrounds connect with employers and establish quality employment pathways.