Meet the Board

Sarah Morton-Johnson, Chair Smart Waikato

Sarah Morton Johnson

Sarah Morton-Johnson (BBS (HRM), Massey University MInstD) is a seasoned Human Resources and Governance professional, dedicated to ensuring strong futures for each organisation she is involved with and contributes a unique skill-set that blends a practical understanding of people issues with long-range vision, organisational expertise, and a focus on effectiveness and accountability.

Sarah has completed governance education through the Institute of Directors including the Financial Tool Box and Regional Director Development Programmes. In 2014 Sarah was the winner of the Waikato Emerging Director Award. Sarah’s experience spans the resources, manufacturing and services sectors and her most recent role was as the Human Resources Manager for SKYCITY Hamilton.

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.

Alan Munro, Matamata College, Trustee Smart Waikato

Alan Munro

Alan Munro, Principal of Matamata College, was brought up in the Waikato by dairy farming parents. With a teaching background in health and physical education, he has been involved in education for more than 25 years.

Alan believes the key role of schools is to provide students with pathways through and beyond school, recognising the importance of connecting with local businesses and creating vocational opportunities for young people.

Alan has worked in three very good but very different schools - Christchurch Boys’ High School, St Peters School Cambridge, as Principal at Matamata College and now as lead Principal for a Community of Learning involving 13 schools in the area. Alan’s student-focused approach to education and the total wellbeing of students sets him in good stead for his Smart Waikato role.

Sean Lambly, Prolife Foods, Trustee Smart Waikato

Sean Lambly

Sean Lambly has had an extensive career in the food manufacturing and the fast moving consumer goods industry. He started his career with Huttons Kiwi Bacon Company and from there went on perform various operations and procurement roles with Fonterra, Rank group and Goodmanfielder.

Sean currently has the position of General Manager of operations and supply chain for Prolife Foods, a Hamilton based food manufacturing and distribution business. Sean has strong leadership skills and has a huge passion for creating opportunity for individuals to perform to their potential and achieve their personal goals. He is a very proud Waikato man and values being part of the Smart Waikato board in order to assist in the development of career paths for future leaders in our region.

Julian Williams, Trustee Smart Waikato

Julian Williams photo

Julian Williams is a descendent of the Waikato Iwi. Julian 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 focussing on natural resource work with local Councils, Iwi, Hapuu and community groups.


Deanne Holdsworth, PACT Group, Trustee Smart Waikato

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Deanne Holdsworth has a background primarily in the manufacturing industry across multiple disciplines, and with interests in construction. Deanne started her career in the finance and accounting discipline and later moved into general management. After University, Deanne spent time in fast moving consumer goods, media and food manufacturing before moving offshore for a period of time.  On her return, Deanne returned to the Waikato and moved into a commercial role and onto overseeing two business units.  Deanne also maintains a commercial advisory for a business strongly linked to construction in the education arena.  Deanne has a strong interest in the career development of youth as it relates to their later employment opportunities and leadership paths. Deannes’ interest in Smart Waikato developed as she saw both the gaps in programmes for youth to understand the link between school and career.

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, Youth Advisor

Grace Reid

Grace Reid is 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 advisory 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.