Turning ideas into clear direction and achievable steps to create a better future for our world.

Are you a not for profit leader, board member, or part of an organisation or agency working towards positive change for nature and communities? Do you have an amazing idea but don't know how to turn it into reality? Do you want clarity on your future direction and priorities? Do you want to make sure your precious time and resources are invested wisely? Do you want a compelling impact story to share? Do you want an engaged team, excited about the future? My services can help you!

Strategic planning - a roadmap towards success

Strategic planning - a roadmap towards success

My strategic planning approach helps you design a comprehensive, yet simple, roadmap so your organisation can move confidently into the future.

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Facilitation - helping groups explore and create together

Facilitation - helping groups explore and create together

I design inclusive, interactive, engaging sessions and workshops so people can work collaboratively to explore ideas and plan for action.

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Carolyn Smith

Strategic Planning and Facilitation Specialist

"I'm a self-confessed strategy geek -I love strategic planning because if its done well, its a powerful tool for igniting energy, bringing focus, and creating action! My aim is to demystify and streamline the process, eliminating unnecessary jargon and fluff. That means you get a practical, realistic plan that serves as your 'true north,' guiding your efforts and resources."

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 We were delighted with the work that Carolyn did with us. I Have a Dream is a genuinely unique kaupapa. Deeply committed to our mission of transforming the lives of tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa while also continuously embedding kaupapa Māori approaches into our mahi, as well as continuing our journey as an organisation operating under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Carolyn did a great job of quickly gaining an understanding of all of that and adapting and customising the strategic and operational planning processes accordingly. All of the sessions that she facilitated were very inclusive and everyone felt strongly supported by her. The end outcomes are an excellent set of roadmaps that will really help guide the direction and success of the organisation over the next 3 – 5 years. 

Chris Twiss, CEO, I Have a Dream Charitable Trust.
I designed and facilitated the development of a refreshed operating model, strategic plan, operating plan and communications plan. for this youth education and empowerment trust.

 Carolyn facilitated Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust with identifying values and principles of the Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project's vision and mission. Over two sessions, she guided our trustees through identifying goals, strategic initiatives, and success measures. Her facilitation helped distill our diverse perspectives into a cohesive logical structure, and we appreciated the time she allowed for important conversations and finding the commonalities in our diverse group. 

Louise Saunders, CEO, Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust.
Co-governance Trust with equal iwi and community representation, working towards the restoration of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest range

 Carolyn facilitated a series of workshops for two of our Conservation Boards to assist them in developing three-year strategic plans. These were highly successful, and those involved enjoyed the innovative way she went about ensuring everyone was fully engaged through the process. Instead of using electronic aids Carolyn deployed a lot of physical, hands-on methods to get very constructive contributions from our board members. Everyone came away from the process reinvigorated and engaged. 

Phelan Pirrie, Statutory Manager, Department of Conservation, Northern North Island.
I designed and facilitated a working collaboratively and being honorable Tiriti partners session for the Boards and Department of Conservation regional leaders. This was followed by individual sessions with each Board to develop their respective strategic plan.

 Carolyn's strategic planning session was nothing short of transformative. In just one day, she skillfully guided us through the process, helping us craft a 5-year vision, concise 3-year strategic goals, actionable 2-year strategic initiatives, and measurable success indicators. What sets Carolyn apart is her ability to infuse excitement and creativity into what can often be a dry and daunting task. With her guidance, strategic planning became an enjoyable journey of discovery, and the results speak for themselves. We now have a roadmap that not only charts our course for the future but also ignites our passion to achieve it. Carolyn truly puts the "fun" in strategic planning, making her an invaluable asset to any organization. 

Jessie Manney, Manager, Volunteering Northland.
I designed and facilitated a strategic planning session with the Board and Manager.

 Carolyn pulled together a two-day (kauri ora planning wānanga) workshop incredibly quickly and it went off without a hitch. The space was set well, the sessions were productive and inclusive, and the outcomes were incredibly useful. 

Alana (Lana) Webb (she / her), Acting Manager - Tiakina Kauri | Kauri Protection Biosecurity New Zealand - Tiakitanga Pūtaiao Aotearoa | Ministry for Primary Industries - Manatū Ahu Matua.
I designed and facilitated a two day wānanga on a local marae with iwi/hapū, MPI, DOC, Auckland Council reps to co-design a planning tool for kauri protection projects over a 2-day wānanga.

 If you are looking for a real down to earth, pragmatic and knowledgeable strategist, Carolyn is it! Carolyn very skillfully helped our community organisation governance team chart and agree a team charter, initial strategic priorities, and a work programme with actual tangible actions and timeframes! She not only understands governance and organisational strategy, she's a brilliant and engaging communicator, mobiliser (she could keep all of us on task, online!), great at using interactive online tools and flexible enough to do away with them if needed, and best of all - she delivered exactly what we had agreed, under incredible time pressure. Our new team of 14 now has a strong foundation to guide us on our journey to engage New Zealanders on the work of the United Nations. I would work with Carolyn again in a heartbeat. 

Martine Udahemuka, Wellington Branch President - United Nations Association of New Zealand.
I designed and facilitated the development of a team charter and strategic plan with the Committee Directors via two online sessions.

 (We enjoyed) the fact that we had the time to be future focused and create this piece of thinking. Structure and speed/pace. Clear direction, measurable outcomes, teamwork, free flowing conversation, ideas exchange. (We took away) clear ideas of where to next, clarity for our business, positive opportunity to consider our planning requirements, specific and concrete objectives, alignment on goals and initiatives, the challenges are big but not insurmountable! 

Kate Edger Trust/The Graduation Place.
Feedback from the Board of Trustees of this social enterprise providing education grants for women funded through academic dress hire, following a strategic planning session.

 A huge thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us. Analyzing and discussing our strategic plans gave us a platform for quality discussions and purpose. Collaboration is the key to success and you created an opportunity to really get into some main ideas to take away. 

Leaders of Kahui Ako Four, Northland.
Designed and facilitated a session on the value of strategic planning and importance of a collaborative approach for a cohort of rural primary school principals and teachers.

 Carolyn was asked to lead our organisation in a discussion around our future. She provided excellent facilitation and tools to help our team and Board understand what our current situation was and then highlight focus areas for the future we agreed were important, were achievable and had a doable timeframe. Carolyn condensed this information to fit on one page which made it easy to engage our volunteers, to show our funders we have a plan and to keep us on track - invaluable for not only our Board but also our team of volunteers. 

Cindy Borrie, Chair, Whangarei Citizens Advice Bureau.
I designed and facilitated a series of strategic planning sessions for the Board and staff.

 Feedback from a crowd sourcing session on wetland restoration: Well facilitated session- loved the organic approach. Great workshop! Good time for kōrero. Shared knowledge, many ideas in a short time, good way to get collective knowledge. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to answer the question and get so many smart minds involved. 

National Wetlands Symposium.
I designed and facilitated a crowd source session where participants collectively decide on discussion topics and collaborate on ideas and solutions in a short timeframe.

 I'm most grateful for Carolyn's inclusive approach. She created a safe space for us to wānanga and brought everyone in the room into the conversation. She allowed me to sit with any discomfort comfortably and supported me to unpack my thoughts. Her professional expertise aligned with our organisation's needs and goals and I was treated to a journey of redefine and redesign. I'm elated with the outcome reached. 

Mo Matautia-Tepania, Navigator Manager, I Have a Dream Charitable Trust.
I worked with Mo and the Senior Leadership Team to redefine their operating model, develop a strategic plan, a communications plan to support the new direction, and an operational plan to implement the outcomes.

 Carolyn has fantastic skills in strategic thinking, impactful communication and facilitation. I’ve worked with Carolyn on a range of strategic development pathways and she has facilitated workshops for me. She is able to think how to get the best out of hui and how to communicate our work with real impact. 

Lian Butcher, Former Deputy Director General, Partnerships, Department of Conservation.

 Carolyn provides a safe, supportive, challenging experience, tailor made to meet your individual needs. She transformed my thinking, made me reflect and delve deeper into the Why? Because of the coaching sessions with Carolyn I am now able to face my fears with confidence and I have a plan of action to support this new phase in my life. Carolyn has the ability to change your life professionally and personally in the very best possible way. 

Pauline Johnson, Principal Poroti School.
Strategic planning and coaching for personal and professional direction.

 Woven Collaboration (Carolyn Smith) facilitated the national Volunteer Centres Network Aotearoa gathering in Wellington, bringing together Centre Manager’s and Coordinators from around the motu to facilitate our working together for the future. Carolyn communicated clearly with the Planning Committee from engagement to evaluation, and displayed flexibility in altering the arranged schedule when another “hot topic” came up that the group wanted to address. Carolyn also has a great understanding of the community, respective needs, and volunteering which she incorporated into her planning.” 

Kate Aplin, Manager Volunteer Central NZ, on behalf of the planning committee, the 2023 Volunteer Centre Network Aotearoa Gathering.
I designed and facilitated a series of sessions based on predetermined topics over two days.

 You have a really calm, cheerful manner, Carolyn even when things are getting emotional which really helps to make for a constructive process. Very professional and great communication. Fantastic to have the PowerPoint and group activities, good mix of resources for different learners/contributors. You did well with a diverse group - ensured everyone got to contribute and we stayed on track. LOVE the one pager - super helpful for us! 

Kim Jones, Poutokomanawa/Co-Director - Freshwater Lead, Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust.
I designed and facilitated a series of online and in person sessions to develop an updated strategic plan between July-August 2022.

 “An absolute professional (impact coach) who is always looking for ways to improve and support schools and society. You have made a huge impact for many leaders, and they have grown so much by working with you.” 

Rebecca Brown, Springboard Trust National Volunteer Manager.
I have volunteered as an impact coach and strategic planning facilitator over the past 6 years, supporting school principals on their strategic leadership journey.

 The design and facilitation of the session was great! You have a very warm manner that created a safe environment and makes us feel comfortable sharing. I loved the warmup intro with the softball. Loved the GROW model! 

Patricia Santos, Community Navigator, Volunteering Northland.
I designed and delivered a session for participants in a community governance mentoring programme on maintaining balance to avoid burnout and achieving goals via the GROW model .

 Carolyn is a fantastic personal coach. She adapts her style and tools to her client, to make it as impactful as can be. By asking the right questions and respectfully digging deeper when needed, Carolyn has helped me finding the roots of some issues and develop a practical plan to overcome them. To which she kept me accountable. I warmly recommended her to anyone serious about seeing results. 

Francoise Le Marrec.
Coaching client.

 Carolyn ran a series of strategy sessions with the Board to develop a new operating model after the loss of a significant contract, and to help us redevelop our Garden Centre business. As a result we came up with some fantastic solutions that have completely turned around the business, and helped give new direction to our organisation. The sessions were well facilitated, inclusive, creative and fun! 

Mary Jane Ardley, Board Chair, Community, Business and Environment Centre (CBEC).
CBEC is a social enterprise focused on creating jobs and a positive environmental impact.

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