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.”SMART WORKS CLIENT
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 65 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
CHAIR AND TRUSTEES
Sarah Burns, MBE, 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 software training, coaching and leadership in the corporate world, Previous positions include Head of Training Services/ Senior Manager at SAS, Northgate Arinso and Microsoft Business Solutions. Sarah is dedicated to using her skills to inspire and empower women to make positive life changes and realise their goals.
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. Jo has over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, working both in-house and in agency. 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.
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.
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. She is a governor of Leighton Park School. Eme is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an Executive MBA from London Business School.
Estelle Christmas is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. Estelle is the Chief Operating Officer at Autism at Kingwood, a specialist support provider for adults on the autistic spectrum. Estelle has worked in the caring profession for over 30 years and trained as a nurse for adults with Learning Disabilities and has worked in both the private and voluntary sector. Estelle holds an MBA from Henley Business School. I was drawn to the concept of supporting females into or back into work via increasing their confidence and self- esteem.
Claire Murdoch is a Trustee and an Interview Coach Volunteer for Smart Works Reading. She has spent 25 years in the Telecommunications and IT sectors, building and leading high performing teams in the Strategy, Insight & Analytics area. Starting in Market Research, her career has come full circle as businesses now attempt to extract value from the many, varied and complex points of insight they have on their markets, customers and competitors. Claire has always worked in a global environment, managing geographically dispersed teams, and this has enabled her to spot, develop and mentor talent across cultures. She has been actively involved in supporting school leavers as they seek to identify careers and is currently helping younger children prepare for secondary school entrance interviews.
Aduke Onafowokan is a Trustee for Smart Works Reading with a focus on a diversity and inclusion.
Aduke has a proven track record of initiating, designing, delivering, and improving measurable diversity, equality, and inclusion progress across industries with her own company, Inclusivitii.
As a public speaker, Aduke has delivered two TEDx Talks on diversity and inclusion, spoken at global events including BRANDMINDS and Sustainable Brands, as well as at organisations including British American Tobacco, Amazon, Shell, Royal Mencap Society and many more.
Aduke is also an award-winning social entrepreneur through her work as the founder of The Sister Sister Global Network, a registered social enterprise contributing to women’s empowerment through the provision of accessible and empowering leadership and personal development capacity-building programmes curated for women at different stages of their leadership journeys.
She is currently studying for a master’s degree in Organisational Leadership at Oxford University.
Candace Williams is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. Candace launched Can Will Consultants in 2016 specialising in coaching, leadership development and employee engagement for emerging talent.
Candace built a career managing the growth of brands, including healthcare acquisitions in the pharmaceutical industry to leading global wine and spirits brands. Her work experience across the US and Europe has enabled her to build rapport and earn trust quickly – making her coaching style more approachable while being rooted in action and performance.
Candace received her BA in 1999 and MBA in 2001 from Florida A&M University. She more recently became certified in Business Coaching and is an Associate Certified Coach with ICF (International Coach Federation).
Nayna McIntosh is Founder of British womenswear brand Hope. Following a 30-year career in retail starting as a Saturday girl at Marks and Spencer, Nayna went on to launch brands such as George at Asda and Per Una at Marks and Spencer. Noticing a clear gap in the market for women over 40, Nayna left her role as Director of Store Environment at Marks and Spencer and setup her own womenswear brand, Hope, at the age of 52 to provide an oasis for women who are vastly under-represented on the high
Emma-Jane Taylor aka The Inspirational Mentor is founder of SHEnetWORKS, author, mentor, wellness coach and an entrepreneur running a series of lifestyle businesses. She is an extremely passionate mentor, very focused on giving her clients the correct well-being journey. Her personal struggle and hardship being covered in her book, Don’t Hold Back, has given her the positive tools she has needed to create a power-house of strength and dedication to living. She works hard to ensure her clients, community and network receive bespoke plans and stay focused. She believes well-being starts from within and focuses her attention on getting her clients mentally as well as physically fit. She is highly inspiring and motivating to all who speak to her. She really gives back the positive lessons she has learnt to give you the life you need. In short, Emma-Jane helps you reach your full potential in life whilst keeping you grounded with valued beliefs.
Virginia Chadwyck-Healey, Founder of VCHStyle, worked at British Vogue for 12 years, firstly managing the British Fashion advertising portfolio and latterly, as the Executive Retail Editor. This role gave her a breadth of knowledge across the fashion, jewellery and beauty industries. Her passion for both the commercial and the creative is what led her to start VCHStyle, a platform for her new foray into brand consultancy, which also includes presenting and private client styling. She has worked with a range of brands, such as Louis Vuitton, John Lewis and Christian Louboutin. Ginnie is married to Oliver, and they have two daughters. They live near Pangbourne in Berkshire.
Audrey Kirk is the Service Delivery Manager (Maternity Cover) for Smart Works Reading. She is responsible for delivering the Smart Works mission and core service across the Thames Valley. Alongside running our busy centre, Audrey is the main point of contact for clients and referral partners, and manages the volunteer team.
Anna Fowler is the Development & Fundraising Manager for Smart Works Reading. She is responsible for raising & managing all funds through events and grants, as well as developing partnerships across the Thames Valley with corporates, retailers & supporters. She will also manage our volunteer communications team and all external comms.