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.


Gwen Roger


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.

Apart from playing an active role in the business, Gwen and Derek facilitate groups based on a system of practical philosophy they developed called 'Enlightened Living'.


Cynthia Johnson (BA, MA Psych.)

NZ Master Trainer

Cynthia 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 organisational development work, for which she has received professional association awards. She was drawn to the Challenge of Change Resilience Training because of the evidence based approach, and she has been facilitating the programme since 2011.


Jo Clarke(BSc, MSc, PhD, C. Psychol)

UK Master Trainer

Jo is an HCPC Registered Forensic Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.  She is founder and co-director of PETROS, a small not-for-profit organisation which works with children, young people and adults, with individuals, families and small and large corporate groups.  The Challenge of Change Resilience Training is the foundation programme of Petros.  

Jo has a wide experience working in public sector, third sector and private organisations, nationally and internationally, and she has proven communication and motivational skills.  Jo has delivered the Challenge of Change Resilience Training to a range of audiences since 2003, and an evaluation of the training she delivered recently to managers from a UK charity showed a reduction in sickness-absence of up to 43% across the trained participants.


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 customised 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.

Ren Washington (BA, MA)

USA Master Trainer

Ren is a Leadership Solutions Facilitator at the Center for Creative Leadership on the Colorado Springs campus in the USA.  He is attached to the Leadership Development Program, helping clients deal with their most pressing issues around organizational change and innovation, executive presence, image and influence.

As an organizational communication expert Ren has dedicated his career to the advancement and development of professionals and organizations, and he works with a wide variety of industries.  Ren also serves as the principal of a boutique executive image consulting firm, founded on a concise and simple method which is grounded in storytelling, the chemistry of the human body, and professional presenting competencies.

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JaRae Birkeland (BA, MA)

USA Master Trainer

JaRae is a Leadership Solutions Facilitator at the Center for Creative Leadership on the San Diego campus in the USA. She is attached to the Leadership Development Program andhas a diverse background in the areas of leadership, mindfulness, coaching, outdoor education, organizational transformation, project management and group dynamics.

JaRae’s interest in leadership, mindfulness and the great outdoors took her all around the world leading a variety of experiential education programs with an emphasis in leadership development, team building and large scale sustainable initiatives in corporate environments. She has been to 6 continents, 45 countries and all 50 states.JaRae completed her Master’s degree in Leadership Studies with a certification in Executive Leadership Coaching at the University of San Diego and focused her research on integrating mindfulness and self-compassion leadership training into K-12 education and corporate workplace environments.


Lehan Stemmet (BSc, Sac.D, DippSych, MSc, PHD )

Research Associate NZ

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. 



Carrie Beckwith (BA Hons., DipM)

Marketing Associate UK

Carrie has over 20 years' experience in Marketing for businesses in the UK and New Zealand. Working at an advisory level on marketing strategy as well as hands on marketing management, Carrie has been working with the Challenge of Change since 2007, introducing innovative and astute strategies to fulfil business goals. She runs copywriting and marketing consultancy Custom Content Ltd.