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CLIENT NEWS: Search begins for new Momentum Waikato CEO

Momentum Waikato Community Foundation is seeking a new Chief Executive following news that founding CEO Cheryl Reynolds is stepping down after four years in the role. The organisation is seeking a new leader to take over the reins from Ms Reynolds, who will be leaving at the end of the year to establish a new philanthropic startup venture in 2018.

“It has been an honour to serve my community and be part of such a game-changing organisation from the outset,” says Ms Reynolds. “When I arrived at Momentum Waikato four years ago I was given a mandate to build an organisation that can achieve intergenerational, transformative change. Working with my trustees we have set out to achieve a better Waikato for everyone, forever.”

Starting with that mandate, Ms Reynolds met with the founding donors and Momentum Waikato Community Foundation trustees to understand their vision for the region. “I asked ‘how can we as a community, with the limited resources we have, make the greatest impact, and what does success look like,” she says.

“My job has been to lay the foundations for an organisation that will grow significantly over time and serve our donors and community in perpetuity. I’ve always thought about the future people working at Momentum Waikato and of the generations of children to come in 100 years’ time or 300 years’ time. In building the foundation we’ve had a long-term vision for an organisation that will serve – and have impact – for a very long time,” says Ms Reynolds.

Over the past 25 years, Ms Reynolds has been Chief Executive at six public organisations and she was the founding CEO of SODA Inc for 4 years prior to starting at Momentum Waikato. As an entrepreneur and innovator, Momentum Waikato was the eleventh startup Ms Reynolds has built.

She cites the Vital Impact Programme – an innovative change-making system – as something she is particularly proud of. “It delivers on both our founding donor’s and our community’s wishes for transformational intergenerational change, and that is something I find very rewarding,” says Ms Reynolds. 

The new Waikato Regional Theatre is also a major highlight, says Ms Reynolds. In August a feasibility report recommended the development of a 1,100-seat theatre, shared public spaces and a public art gallery, to be located at the old Hamilton Hotel site on Victoria Street. The proposed theatre will replace Founders Theatre – which closed for safety reasons in March 2016 – and is currently before Hamilton City Council and others for funding approval. “It’s going to be a thriving creative precinct for the people of Hamilton and the Waikato and will reshape the CBD,” says Ms Reynolds. 

She has thanked the Momentum Waikato team who “are incredible, dedicated and do an amazing job” and the donors “who are the change-makers – their generosity is making a real difference for our community”.

Her next project will see Ms Reynolds working from Raglan on her 12th startup, which she hopes will become “a global digital platform for generosity”. However her support of Momentum Waikato will be ongoing as a donor to the organisation. “I am hoping that my next project will lead to a new funding stream for Momentum Waikato, and other high-impact charities,” she says.

Leonard Gardner, Chair of the Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, says Ms Reynolds has been a knowledgeable, inspiring and generous leader – and has contributed greatly to both the Foundation and the region. “With her experience and vision she has led Momentum Waikato through its first four years and we’ve been incredibly lucky to have her passion and guiding hand, leading the team. We are lucky that she remains committed to the Waikato region and to supporting Momentum Waikato through her new venture,” Mr Gardner says.

With Ms Reynolds’ departure at the end of 2017 Momentum Waikato is now calling for expressions of interest in the CEO role.

Mr Gardner is looking forward to the search for a new Chief Executive, and for the passion and vision they too will bring to the role. “It’s an exciting organisation to be part of, and an exciting time to be contributing to the future of Hamilton City and the Waikato region,” he says.

Those who are interested in finding out more about the CEO opportunity should look on