Smart Works Reading opened in October 2015 with a vision of bringing the dressing and interview coaching service to women within the Thames Valley. Smart Works Reading is thriving, opening five days a week (4 days for client appointments), and delivering over 350 appointments in the last year.
We are incredibly proud to report that in Reading our success rate remains high with over 1 in 2 of our clients going on to succeed at their job interview.
“It was the most fantastic feeling. My confidence was boosted and I chose an outfit I would not normally wear. Very informative. Has put my mind at rest. I need to relax and was even taught some techniques on how to do this. It was the most fantastic feeling. My confidence was boosted and I chose an outfit I would not normally wear. Very informative. Has put my mind at rest. I need to relax and was even taught some techniques on how to do this.”
We give our clients a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) and we provide one-to-one interview coaching so they feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed. The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative, we give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.
We are proud to say we are a volunteer led organisation. We have a team of over 45 highly skilled, fully trained, professional volunteers. In addition all our stock is donated through professional women & organisations or comes direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Evans, Primark, Fluidity and Hope.
Introducing the team behind Smart Works Reading
We are grateful to our trustees and staff for their hard work on behalf of Smart Works Reading.
Sarah Burns serves as Chair of Smart Works Reading and is focused on establishing the regional presence of this UK charity.
With twenty years of experience in training, coaching and leadership in the corporate world, Sarah is dedicated to using her skills to inspire and empower women to make positive life changes and realise their goals. Sarah also qualified as an Executive Coach.
Sarah’s own inspiration came about in 2012 when she became a volunteer for Dress for Success and then Smart Works UK. Having seen first-hand the positive impact the charities’ brought to the lives of the women they worked with she decided to embark on founding one in her local area.
Previous positions include Training Manager at SAS, Head of Training Services at Northgate Arinso and Training Manager at Microsoft Business Solutions.
Sarah has a passion for leading people positively through change and approaches everything with an inquisitive attitude and an open mind.
Kim Wedderburn is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. She is Associate General Counsel, Europe for Veeva Systems, a qualified barrister who initially practised in the criminal sector before moving over to industry. Kim has been working as an in-house legal counsel within the software industry for over twenty years dealing with a breadth of legal issues associated with the inner workings of a company.
She is ideally placed to serve the legal requirements of Smart Works as well as committing to the charity’s ideals.
Jo Perrin is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. She is corporate communications director for Verizon, one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, and promotes the Verizon brand and story outside the United States. Jo has over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, working both in-house and in agency, and at Verizon has responsibility for the development of enterprise-focused messaging platforms, programmes and campaigns. Throughout her career she has specialized in corporate communications for major global enterprises across all industry sectors.
Jo is also the co-president of WAVE Worldwide (the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees), Verizon’s largest Employee Resource Group. WAVE focuses on the professional development of women within Verizon, and Verizon’s stakeholder communities, and particularly on the STEM agenda.
Ana Perez is a Trustee & Company Secretary of Smart Works Reading. She is an IT Professional with 20 years’ experience of managing Professional Services teams for software companies.
Ana is currently Senior Director for Oracle Consulting team where she has been for the last 10 years following the acquisition of BEA by Oracle. Ana started her career in IT as a technology graduate at JP Morgan following an electronics engineering degree and moved to consulting where she has had a very interesting career working for various software companies. Originally from Spain, Ana is used to working in an international environment with secondments to South Africa, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
Ana has a passion for supporting people development and helping individuals to progress. She is on the Oracle Women’s Leadership UK steering board with a special interest in supporting Oracle’s involvement with Smart Works.
Katie Kapernaros is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. She is an IBM executive with extensive managerial experience. She has been actively involved in Diversity matters and has mentored several women to help them achieve more in their careers. She is very involved in sport, both participating and administrating, and champions the cause of women in sport at a local and national level.
Annette Pendry is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. She is an IT Professional with 10+ years’ experience managing Professional Services teams for software companies.
Annette is currently the Director of a consulting team in Oracle UK. Prior to this, she was a consultant for several years in various organisations, including KPMG, focusing on delivery of accountancy software. Annette’s international experience includes major projects in Scandinavia and Europe. Her early career included working in the Scottish banking sector before qualifying as a management accountant.
Annette is pleased to joined the board of Smart Works as a charity supported by Oracle and which reflects her passion for mentoring and coaching.
Eme Dean-Lewis serves as Treasurer of Smart Works Reading. She is a technology industry professional with 20 years experience of developing strategic alliance relationships for leading global technology corporations.
Eme is currently Senior Manager for Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group. At Cisco, Eme is a board member for the employee resource group, Connected Women, and leads the corporate relationship with Women on Boards. In addition she is a STEM ambassador.
Previously, Eme served as founding trustee and treasurer of a small local charity. Eme is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an MBA from London Business School.
Tina Glennie is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. With over 25 years of retail and FMCG experience, she has spent a significant amount of time working on the UK’s favourite brands at Mars Confectionery across both Sales and Marketing.
Tina is passionate about giving young people direct experience of commercial roles in industry and has created and supported work experience programs for 10 years.
From a charity perspective, she has been a respite foster carer and spent several years on GroceryAid committees supporting those in need who have worked in the grocery industry and inputting into the charity’s future strategy direction.
Elina Zandersone is the Manager of Smart Works Reading, looking after client appointments, volunteers, stock and some of our key partnerships.