Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex

In 2019 we were honoured to welcome The Duchess of Sussex to the Smart Works community as our Patron. Find out about her work with the charity and our clients here. 

Our Patrons

Betty Jackson CBE

Betty has led a distinguished career as one of the UK’s top fashion designers, designing clothes for both women and men. Betty ran her own fashion business Betty Jackson Ltd for over 37 years, as well as launching the Autograph collection for Marks and Spencer in 2000 and Betty Jackson Black for Debenhams. In 2007, Betty’s achievement within British fashion was recognised with first a MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 1987 and later with a CBE for services to the fashion industry. Betty has also won numerous British and international design awards throughout career. She was awarded an RDI in 1988 by the Royal Society of Arts and was elected Master of the Faculty from 2017-2019. Most recently, Betty received an Honorary Doctorate award in recognition of excellence and significant achievement in Fashion and Fashion Education from Norwich University and Arts, together with an Honorary Fellowship from the University of the Arts Bournemouth.  

Emma Barnett

Emma Barnett is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist. By day she presents Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 and by night, Newsnight on BBC Two.

She has been named speech broadcaster of the year by the Radio Academy and is known for her big hitting interviews with the key figures shaping our times – from Prime Ministers through to those who would very much like to be. Her book -‘It’s About Bloody Time. Period.’ aims to demystify periods and smash the pointless and dangerous shame we have about so many areas of women’s health and bodies. And to share some of the funniest period stories previously untold until now. Emma wrote it after she failed to be diagnosed with the painful period diseases endometriosis and adenomyosis for 21 years – despite being someone who gets answers out of people for a living. She was a volunteer dresser with Smart Works for 10 years before becoming a Patron – a role she is incredibly proud to hold.

Jane Shepherdson CBE

Jane Shepherdson is a leading figure in fashion retail, having been CEO of Whistles and before that Brand Director at Topshop. Jane is also Creative Advisor to Oxfam and a patron of the Almeida Theatre in North London. Jane is involved in the promotion and support of young designers through the London College of Fashion’s Centre of Fashion Enterprise, and she helped to promote Fair Trade fashion to a wider audience as a Board member of Peopletree until 2013. Jane was awarded an CBE in 2006 for services to fashion retail. Jane is proud to be a regular dressing volunteer in North London and is passionate about Smart Works.

Jennifer Saunders

Jennifer is an actress, comedian, writer, producer and generally much-loved media star, best known for creating and starring in shows such as the Absolutely Fabulous, Comic Strip, French and Saunders, Jam and Jerusalem and many others. Younger fans are familiar with Jennifer as the voice of the evil fairy godmother in Shrek.

Our Honorary President

Lady Hughes-Hallett OBE

Juliet Hughes-Hallett OBE is the Honorary President of Smart Works Charity and was our Founding Chair for over eight years, from 2013 to 2021. After a career that started in the British Vogue fashion room Juliet went on to run her own successful business. Fifteen years ago she became a dressing volunteer. It was to be a new and lasting passion. Out of this obsession Smart Works Charity was conceived, with the end goal of enabling every woman across the UK to access our service. Juliet is a regular dressing volunteer.

Our Ambassadors

Alexandra Burke

Alexandra is a singer and actress, and a welcome member of the Smart Works family. She has a fierce passion for empowering women and has already contributed so much to the charity, including hosting an event for the Smart Works Network and donating many wonderful pieces to our wardrobe.

“Sometimes we need a helping hand to give us that boost of confidence. No matter what we’ve been through we can all shine bright again. I’m so proud to have been asked to become a Smart Works Ambassador. Their ability to continue to empower women and help them harness the confidence they need to succeed is so inspiring.”

Caroline Graham

Caroline Graham is Head of Legal External Engagement at Barclays and leads strategic global change programmes. Caroline is passionate about supporting women and is Co-Chair of Barclays ‘Win’ gender network. Caroline is also founder of the Barclays Win Assistants Forum and set up Barclays women’s network in India while there on a three year secondment. Caroline is also co-founder and head of online women’s platform WeAreTheCity India and is an Associate Board Member of Gender Networks.

“I am truly inspired by the support that Smart Works offers women trying to get back into work. Providing a service that helps women look and feel fabulous so that they perform well in an interview situation is incredibly powerful and will have a life-changing impact on their futures. In my view there is no greater joy than seeing a woman regain her confidence and moving forward in her chosen career.”

Isabel Spearman OBE

Isabel worked as PR Director for the British accessories brand Anya Hindmarch for 8 years before becoming Special Adviser to Samantha Cameron from 2010 to 2015, covering two General Elections. Isabel is now founder of The Daily Dress Edit, a brand consultant and columnist for Stella Magazine. Isabel has been a passionate supporter of the charity for over 10 years. 

“I love the simplicity of what Smart Works does; helping women regain their confidence through their image. It is brilliantly effective and the women that walk into a dressing and mentoring session are completely different to the women that walk out”.

Lulu Guinness

Lulu is a wonderful member of the Smart Works community. She has a passion for lifting women up and helping them identify their talents, and has already contributed so much to the charity. 2019 was a particularly big year for Smart Works and Lulu as she was the chosen designer to collaborate with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics on its annual, limited edition Pretty Powerful product. The 2019 Pretty Powerful collection was a huge success, selling out and raising £80,000 for Smart Works.

“I am so thrilled to be asked to be an ambassador for Smart Works. Women supporting women has always been very important to me. And now I find I have 30 years of experience of the ups and downs of having a fashion brand, children and mental health issues whilst keeping a sense of humour and lipstick high on my priority list. I am also the greatest fan of Juliet Hughes-Hallett!” 

Paula Nickolds

Paula Nickolds is leading figure in British retail, currently leading General Merchandise and Clothing for Sainsbury’s where is she is responsible for Tu, Habitat and Argos. She was previously Managing Director of John Lewis, the culmination of a 25 year career with the John Lewis Partnership. She is passionate about fashion and retail and about supporting women and girls to ‘dream big‘ and to realise their full potential. She was previously a trustee of the GDST and of the John Lewis Foundation.

“I am delighted to become an ambassador for Smart Works. The work they do is so important, especially at the current time. Having seen first-hand the impact they can have on the self-confidence of the women they support, it is a great privilege to play a part in this very special story.”

Samantha Cameron

Samantha is the Founder and Creative Director of Cefinn, a contemporary womanswear brand that launched its first collection in February 2017. Before that Samantha served as Creative Director at British accessories brand Smythson, from 1997 until May 2010, winning a British Glamour Magazine Award for Best Accessory Designer in 2009. Samantha previously volunteered as an interview coach at Smart Works and is a passionate supporter of the charity’s mission.

“I am delighted to become an Ambassador of a charity I know so well and I hope I can raise awareness of the brilliant work they do.”

Baroness Gillian Merron

Gillian has been an enthusiastic supporter of Smart Works for over 10 years, inspired to volunteer as a dresser when reading about the difference Smart Works makes, supporting women into work in very practical ways. Gillian was the first woman Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews having been the MP for Lincoln for 13 years, during which time she was a Government Minister in five different departments. Gillian is a Shadow Minister, and a University of Lincoln Visiting Professor.

“Our chances of success are affected by how confident we feel and how we present ourselves – and that’s where Smart Works makes the difference. Having a job is the key to so many opportunities in life and I’m very taken by the impact of Smart Works in supporting so many women into work. I’m delighted and honoured to be an Ambassador for such an effective and life-changing charity.”