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Board Principles

Our Board comprises the trustees of Ignite.  In effect, they operate as the guardians of the kaupapa of Ignite Consultants - its purposes, its organisational culture and its core focus.  This means that: 

  • the Board commits to understanding and continuing to explore Ignite’s kaupapa and how it is put into practice;

  • It seeks to trust, empower and, where appropriate, guide the Executive in its embodiment and implementation of Ignite’s kaupapa;

  • It actively monitors and seeks to mitigate risks to the organisation.


Our Board’s operating principles are:

  1. We bear the ultimate responsibility and risk for the ongoing management and operations of the Trust.
    This means;  we take a prudent long term view for managing the Trust’s assets to ensure they are used as effectively as possible to achieve the purposes; we actively monitor and seek to mitigate risks to the organisation.


  2. We are the guardians of the kaupapa of the organisation (purposes, culture, focus, role).
    This means; we commit to understanding what the kaupapa is, and continue to explore our kaupapa; we trust, empower and where appropriate, guide  the Executive in its understanding and delivery of the kaupapa; we continue to share knowledge and guidance drawing on the experiences of those currently and previously involved with Ignite.


  3. We demonstrate care for all of those involved in Ignite.
    This means; we will seek to ensure students, mentors, communities and organisations to all feel welcomed and comfortable in the Ignite space; we will seek to protect and where possible, improve the well-being of the Ignite community and it’s individuals; we actively monitor and seek to mitigate risks to the organisation.


  4. We are a learning organisation.
    This means: we accept that not everything in our organisation will always be perfect; we are committed to continuous quality improvement of our service and our organisation; we encourage innovation and creativity in our projects and how our organisation is run.


  5. We practice what we preach.
    This means; we are committed to building and maintaining relationships with the communities that we serve; we will continue to think innovatively about the challenges facing Ignite as an organisation and the not for profit sector more generally and how we might address those challenges. 


Our Board

Wellington/Current Projects
Meet the Board


Rachel joined our Board in 2016 following stints as a both a consultant and member of the Ignite executive during her time at the University of Otago.  She currently works as a lawyer, based in Christchurch. She previously served as the treasurer.


Sophie is the current Chair of the Board. While completing her pharmacy degree at Otago, she joined Ignite to work with the Dunedin Curtain Bank project and subsequently became CEO in 2016. Sophie is the co-founder of a social enterprise and a not for profit organisation, both with fellow Ignite alumni. She currently works for Francis Health, using human-centred design to create transformative change in the health sector.


Blaire joined the Board in 2018 after mentoring a project team in Wellington. She currently works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade leading on capability initiatives in the Pacific and Development Group. Blaire has previously worked in management consulting and local government in the UK and New Zealand. She currently serves as treasurer.



Ben joined the Board as Secretary in 2022. Originally from Dunedin, he was an Ignite Consultant in 2012 while studying a BA (Hons) in Politics and Spanish at Otago University. Ben focuses his career on helping address the climate crisis and currently works as a Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He also received a Master's and Ph.D. from Oxford University, and has worked on climate change policy and projects in the USA, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

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Peter Chew

Peter Chew is a partner at KPMG in Wellington. He leads multi-disciplinary teams to support government and private sector clients in New Zealand and internationally with value for money, operational efficiency, programme and project management and performance improvement initiatives. At a weekend, you are most likely to find him eating OSMs in Mākara Mountain Bike park.


tara kessaram

Tara is a public health physician with a Master of Public Health from the University of Otago and a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is passionate about global health equity and has spent much of her career working with the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions. She returned to New Zealand in 2021 to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, focusing on international development and health. Tara joined the Board in 2023.

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Jeff Foote

Jeff works at the Otago Business School where he teaches operational excellence, social responsibility and governance. He is passionate about external engagement and applied research and has worked with not-for-profits, hapū, central government agencies and local authorities. Jeff is new to Ignite and joined in the Board in 2021.

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Mitchell joined the Board as Chair in 2021. While attempting a commerce degree at Otago, he joined Ignite to work with the Cancer Society project and helped form the Cancer Core. Mitchell is the co-founder of two technology companies focused on improving social equity and the environment and has experience in digital marketing, product management and fundraising. You can find him at his day job in the healthcare industry trying to solve issues related to improved community health outcomes.


Alexandra Nott

Alexandra is a strategy and operating model leader, specialising in helping organisations to make transformation decisions and execute on them successfully. She has a background in management consulting, and currently runs the operations strategy and portfolio management team at NZPost. She previously ran the South Island branch of volunteering organisation Collaborate, and is really passionate about connecting skilled volunteers to organisations who need the support. Alexandra was a student volunteer with Ignite in 2016 while completing her LLB/BA conjoint at the University of Otago, which kickstarted her interest in working in strategy. She currently serves as the Board secretariat.


MacCauley Harris

MacCauley joined the board as Treasurer in 2023. He is currently a Finance Partner at Spark and also serves as Treasurer on the board of the Spark Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and a Diploma of Language in French from Otago University. MacCauley is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Institute. Outside of work, he can be found roaming the Port Hills of Christchurch with friends or playing the piano and making music.

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