Meet the team

Derek Roger

Derek Roger - BA Hons., MA, PhD, CPsychol.

Founder and Director, Derek Roger leads The Work Skills Centre, the training consultancy behind the Challenge of Change. While he has been solely responsible to date for accrediting all of the Accredited Associates who deliver the training, three Master Trainers have now been created to facilitate the process: Cynthia Johnson, Nick Petrie and Jo Clarke.  

Derek's unique background means that he can successfully bridge the gap between academia and the business world and immediately bring the benefits of research findings to bear. Read more about Derek here.

Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia Johnson - (BA, MA Psych.) NZ Master Trainer

Cynthia enjoys and understands how organisations work, having had a 30 year career working in New Zealand, UAE and China. She began her career as a Psychologist for the New Zealand Air Force, and her last corporate role was head of Organisational Development for Fonterra, a New Zealand company employing 16000 people around the globe. In that role she was responsible for all of the company's leadership and management programmes, and introduced and led the global employee engagement programme.

Cynthia has a long history in leadership development and demonstrating return on investment. She is known for her evidence based approach to organizational development work has received an HRINZ Initiative of the Year award for her for incorporating evidence based approaches to leadership development and for demonstrating return on investment. Her mantra is "to simplify the lives of busy managers." She was drawn to the Challenge of Change Resilience programmes for the evidence based approach. Cynthia has been facilitating the programmes since 2011.

Dr Peter Blyde

Dr Peter Blyde - (BBS, Dip.Bus. Admin., PhD) Accredited Associate

Peter has consulted to a wide range of public and private organisations in Australia and New Zealand since 1992. With an emphasis on what it takes to lead well in large organisations, Peter specialises in leadership development, vision and strategy, executive team effectiveness, and emotional intelligence.  As the demands facing leaders at all levels increase, Peter recognised the need to equip people with the resilient mindset that the Challenge of Change brings.  
His background includes executive development for the University of Auckland Business School and Global Women; five years as the Senior Executive Programme Director at the New Zealand Leadership Institute (leading the Hillary Leadership Programme - the flagship 18 month, senior executive, cross sectoral leadership development programme); two years with the Hay Group in Sydney and twelve years with the Centre for Vision and Leadership. Peter's PhD explored Executive Perceptions of Leadership in New Zealand and Australia.

Michele Blyde

Michele Blyde - (BA Economics, MBA) Accredited Associate

Michele has a long history working in the community and has been running the Challenge of Change Resilience Programme with community groups since the beginning of 2018. She has a particular interest in youth and young adult development and has successfully run our programmes with young adults. With a degree in economics and an MBA where her research focus was exploring how visions are used in organisations to bring about change she is also equally adept in our organisational work.

Celia Eggleston (MA, Dip. Coaching) – Accredited Associate

Celia Eggleston - (MA, Dip. Coaching) Accredited Associate

“Does navigating change and life really need to be this hard? And why is my best self-missing in action?”. Celia is a firm believer that with targeted strategies and habits, we can bring our best selves online far more often both in and out of work. Drawn to the Challenge of Change by its direct relevance to our lives today, Celia’s purpose is to equip leaders and teams to make real change happen, and stick. 

Celia is an accredited executive and high performing team coach with an extensive background as an organisation development leader in the UK, Australia and NZ. She specialises in leadership development, culture and transformation and holds numerous professional qualifications in these areas (in the complexity/adaptive leadership toolkit, IC Agile, Clifton Strengths and Prosci Change Management).

Having facilitated the programme since 2021, Celia delivers the programme with an engaging, human and highly facilitative style, personalising the content to each group’s needs and contexts. She takes a pragmatic approach to resilience, encouraging a self-compassionate “every little helps” philosophy. Most of all, Celia is passionate about assisting participants to form small habits that add up to make a big difference.

Nick Petrie

Nick Petrie - (B.Comm, B.PhEd, M.Ed) USA Master Trainer

Nick is a Senior Faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership at Colorado Springs in the USA, attached to the Leadership Development Program and the Legal sector. Nick, has recently completed his MA at Harvard and joins the Challenge of Change team as a Training Associate. He has a wealth of training experience and the Challenge Change is gaining considerable interest amongst US corporates.  

Nick trained and worked initially in New Zealand but has had significant international experience, having spent ten years living and working in Japan, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Norway and Dubai.  He was a professional rugby player and coach for seven years, and before joining C.C.L. he ran his own consulting company.  Nick has spent the last several years developing and implementing customized leadership programs for senior leaders around the world, and has recently completed a research project on 'the future of leadership development' at C.C.L. You can read more about Nick on his website here.

Gwen Roger

Gwen Roger - Director

Co-founder and Director of The Work Skills Centre, Gwen's business acumen, design flair and background in practical philosophy enable her to contribute to overall business strategy, direction and brand development.  As well as playing an active role in the business Gwen runs a Christchurch based philosophy group.

Lehan Stemmet

Lehan Stemmet - (BSc, SAC.D, DipPsych, MSc, PhD) Research Associate

Lehan qualified originally in biochemistry and molecular biology, and his interest in applied psychology and behavioural neuroscience led him towards research on stress and resilience as well as leadership and organisational development.  He also has qualifications in organisational psychology and psychotherapy. 

Lehan is currently on the faculty of the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand.  Prior to his current appointment he has held senior management positions in industries ranging from biotechnology to manufacturing and marketing, and has worked in South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand.  Lehan has collaborated with research teams in the UK and Spain, and has published papers in both the scientific press and in mainstream specialist industry media. 

You can read the latest update on the Research project here

Jo Clarke

Jo Clarke - (BSc, MSc, PhD, C. Psychol) UK Master Trainer

Jo Clarke, PhD. is a Registered Forensic Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. After extensive experience in a diverse public sector organisation, combined with working as a consultant and researcher for both private and charitable companies, Jo has acquired a range of organisational and clinical expertise. She is an adept team leader and innovator, with proven communication and motivational skills. 

Jo currently works for the University of York, where she is Director of the MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology. She is also an Associate Trainer with the Work Skills Centre and has delivered training to a wide range of audiences since 2003.  She is committed to rigorous empirical and ethical standards, with an emphasis on broadening evidence-based practice. A recent evaluation of CoC Resilience Training which she delivered to 45 managers from a UK charity demonstrated a major impact on sickness absence, with a reduction in sickness-absence of up to 43% across the trained groups. These findings echo previous research showing a similar significant reduction in sickness-absence amongst UK police officers following the training.

Michele Blyde, Dr Peter Blyde, Cynthia Johnson, Fraser Buchanan and Derek Roger, New Zealand facilitators for Challenge of Change.

Michele Blyde, Dr Peter Blyde, Cynthia Johnson, Fraser Buchanan and Derek Roger, New Zealand facilitators for Challenge of Change.