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Meet the experts!

Who is part of the ACE Team?

We have been fortunate to work with who we think are some of the best experts in Aotearoa for our module topics. We proudly present our team of content creators – and these are just some of them, with more to come with our in-person knowledge hubs coming soon around the country.

Module One: Freshwater Management in Aotearoa

Charlotte Wright:
Charlotte has extensive experience in natural resource policy development and implementation from strategic approaches through to pragmatic policy implementation at the grassroots level. She has led and delivered improved policy outcomes across the regional, primary and private sectors.  Her aim is to ensure policy and on-the-ground action are connected to achieve efficient and effective solutions. Charlotte is a director of Element Environmental Ltd. Charlotte holds a Master of Science in Resource Management (Hons.).

Matt Highway:
Matt has worked in catchment, biodiversity, and land management for over 20 years. He has worked in regional council and for the primary sector, where he has developed multiple catchment and farm planning programmes. The key for Matt is to ensure efficient effective approaches that work from end to end and can endure in the long term. Matt is a director of Element Environmental Ltd, and currently also operates as the CEO of The New Zealand Association of Resource Management (NZARM). Matt holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science (Hons).


Module Two: Strategic Leadership

Tony and Sarah Watson:
Sarah and Tony Watson (PeopleMAD) are specialists in People Management and Development and enjoy working with farmers and helping them create work environments that are good for people and good for business.

With practical farming threaded throughout their respective careers, they operate independently and in partnership, working alongside and developing people in a range of small, family businesses through to large, complex farming businesses.

They are optimistic about the prospects of farming in NZ and want to make sure agriculture and primary production are great places for people to build rewarding careers.


Module Three: Intergrated Farm to Catchment Scale Planning

Sarah Dudin
Sarah Dudin is a rural advisor with a focus on sustainable farm systems, soils, soil conservation practices and Land Environment Plans. She has provided technical land management solutions and advice to farmers, regional councils and industry for over 20 years. Sarah is one of the most experienced Land Use Capability mappers in NZ, developing paddock scale surveys for landowners and providing training to rural advisors. Sarah is a 4th generation sheep and beef farmer in the King Country, with a strong interest in all pastoral farming systems and communities.


Module Four: GMP and Mitigation Tools and Technologies

Craig Simpson
After 15 years of lab work Craig knew he wanted to not only produce water quality results but to be able to do something about them. So, he took the plunge and went back to study full time, with a young family, completing a master’s degree in Water Resource Management. Since completing his studies, he has worked with catchment groups exploring collaborative approaches to manage land and water quality, firstly working for NZ Landcare Trust, then contracting directly to different groups.

Currently Craig works for both Pomahaka Water Care Group and Otago South River Care, and sits on the governance committee of the Otago Catchment Community. He also works as a project coordinator and has an interest in developing and sharing knowledge about the environment, having worked to deliver a recent research project and several education projects sharing scientific principles with communities and young people.

Craig has a passion for nature, and loves to help land managers identify practical ways to improve their practices to help protect our environment for future generations.


Module Five:  Monitoring and Evaluation

Karen Mitchelmore
Karen is a Principal at Scarlatti. She leads the monitoring and evaluation service area and manages large-scale projects. She has worked as a researcher and evaluator for over fifteen years and has spent the last decade working largely on evaluation projects within the primary industry.

Within her role, Karen undertakes and evaluates complex change-based projects, enjoys developing dynamic monitoring and evaluation frameworks; and supports clients and stakeholders to grow their monitoring and evaluation capability and confidence.

Karen loves working with clients to ensure their monitoring and evaluation projects hit the mark, and enjoys thinking up new and interesting ways to present evaluation findings.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Sector Evaluation Research from Massey University.

Julie Moularde
Julie is a Research Manager at Scarlatti. She leads the social and market research service area, and her work also extends to evaluation and monitoring. She has worked in making sense of data for over 10 years in various industries.

Within her role, Julie strives to deliver fit-for-purpose mixed methods research that allow clients to fill their knowledge gaps; she enjoys identifying key actionable insights that clients can rely on for decision-making.  

She has previously worked in the arts and culture, tourism, health and sport and recreation sectors.

Julie holds a Bachelor in Commerce (International Business) from NEOMA Business School in France, an Honours Bachelor in Commerce (Global Management) from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and a Master of Tourism Management, First Class Honours, from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. During her studies, Julie researched social marketing, attitudes and behaviour change.

Module Six: Engagement and Storytelling

Lee Cowan
Lee Cowan is a Communications professional with over 20-years experience across a range of sectors and disciplines. Hailing from a family of Waikato farmers and conservationists, and with a degree in environmental science, she's passionate about supporting farmers with great communications, especially with a focus on the environment.  

Over the past few years she's been working closely with Catchment Groups across New Zealand, through her business Avalon Communications, to support them to tell their stories and share the amazing grass roots work they're doing in their communities. 


Amy McLean
Ko Amy McLean tēnei
He uri ia nō Waikato me Ngāti Māhanga

Amy is an experienced Professional Coach and Facilitator, a Māmā, and is the founder of Te Kāinga Wāhine, a support organisation for wāhine Māori in business leadership.

Over the past few years, Amy has built a strong reputation working with Māori in the start-up ecosystem, having delivered and coached on the Kōkiri Business Accelerator, working alongside Te Ahikōmako - Centre for Māori Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and coaching and facilitation with iwi, public and private organisations.

Her experience has lead to engaging with organisations from a number of different sectors, where the grounding intention remains the same - engaging in or with kaupapa Māori.

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.
WIth your contributions, and my contributions, the people will thrive.