Our Newcastle centre is powered by a passionate team of staff and volunteers who coordinate and deliver our service across the North East. We are also incredibly grateful to our Board of Trustees, chaired by Sophie Milliken, who are responsible for the oversight of our day to day operations and fundraising.
Meet some of the Newcastle staff and volunteer team
“I’m so proud to be part of the Smart Works Newcastle Team, working with our amazing volunteers who are all so passionate about supporting women into the workplace, helping them gain confidence as well as financial independence.”
Fundraising and Partnerships Lead
“I am absolutely made up to be joining Smart Works Newcastle in this new role. I’ve been a fan of the charity and the work it does for a while now. I am really excited to use my decade of experience to create memorable moments and be a part a fantastic charity.”
Service Delivery Lead
“Everyone at Smart Works Newcastle – staff, volunteers, referral partners – are united in their passion for female empowerment. Working within a dedicated and friendly team is so rewarding, made even better when we can help women gain confidence and financial independence.”
Sarah Lou Murray
Sarah Lou Murray
Referral and Outreach Lead
“I’m so excited to be a part of Smart Works Newcastle! I’m looking forward to being part of the team and helping to empower local women.”
“So often I meet women who don’t recognise the skills that they have gained throughout their life. To work with them and see their confidence and self esteem grow in order to move forward with their lives is a joy and a privilege”
“The service Smart Works offers is so inspiring, I think giving women support in their own self-belief and the confidence to go out and achieve something that they feel is out of there comfort zone is an amazing thing. Confidence blossoms most when you receive support, it’s just taking that first step, the personal coaching support and a new outfit can make such a difference.”
Volunteer Stylist and Admin Assistant
“What I love most about volunteering is knowing that I’ve been a part of someone’s journey into employment. Getting a job is a huge part of life and to have helped contribute to someone’s success is so rewarding. I also love that Smart Works Newcastle is run for women by women, it’s so empowering!”
“After retiring from a management role in 2017 the opportunity to volunteer for Smart Works Newcastle came along at just the right time for me as I still felt I had something to offer. It is so rewarding to be able to help women either get back into the workplace by giving them the confidence to succeed at interview!”
Interested in joining our team? We are recruiting a Fundraising and Partnerships Lead. Further details can be found here Newcastle partnership and fundraising lead
Meet the trustees behind Smart Works Newcastle
As managing director at SRS, a graduate recruitment and employability consultancy Sophie has worked with M&S, JP Morgan and Expedia to deliver SRS’s leading assessment-centre simulations. A multi award-winning businesswoman, two-time bestselling author, podcaster and proud mum, Sophie also enjoys supporting North East region. She is co-founder of City Ladies Networking, Vice Chair and HR Lead on the Board of Age UK Northumberland, supporter of Northern Power Women and chair of Smart Works Newcastle.
Alison is treasurer for Smart Works Newcastle. After training at KPMG, she held senior finance, risk and operational roles within financial services and education. She is chair of the risk committee at Health Shield Friendly Society and an independent member of the audit and risk committee at Bernicia. Her motivation for Smart Works is simple – getting more women into employment affects not only them but all of society – which can only be a good thing.
Danielle is a Chartered Accountant and works as a Senior Manager at PwC within their Governance, Risk and Controls practice focussing on Finance Change. With an initial background in Project Management, Danielle has over 18 year’s experience of working within Finance and combines her strategic leadership and risk management experience with a solid understanding of governance and application towards effective operations. As a trustee; “I’m passionate and motivated about supporting women to achieve their own dreams as I too found a path to fulfil mine”.
Sarah is an experienced franchise retailer and has spent much of her career living and working in Cyprus leading several Tier 1 brands into market (e.g. Hamleys, Debenhams and Next). Sarah set up and ran the organisation ‘International Women in Business’ for 4 years whilst also running her own retail consultancy business, Kyclo for 5 years. Sarah currently works with RTC North leading the Scale Up North East programme. “Smart Works Newcastle combines my love for fashion retail with that of an ambition to scale and grow and most importantly it carries the incredible purpose of ensuring all women reach their full potential and become the best version of themselves; obtaining the jobs/careers that empower them to reach their lifelong goals and dreams”.
After spending the first part of her career in healthcare as a pharmacist Helen has spent the latter half in healthcare regulation. Feeling strongly that there was a need for the Smart Works service in the region Helen was a founding trustee and the inaugural chair of Smart Works Newcastle. “Smart Works is a fundamentally simple concept but the impact we see through the experiences and feedback our clients share with us is tangible. I am passionate that we continue to help North East women into employment.”
Amy was a founding trustee of Smart Works Newcastle in 2017. She has held a number of public sector posts including more recently as a Complaints Manager within social care often working with vulnerable service users and currently in a policy role in the social housing sector. She has a passion for second hand, sustainable fashion and recently completed a Masters in Fashion Management at Northumbria University. She is passionate about making a difference to women’s lives in her native North East and providing them with the tools to succeed
Helena Clennell is a business transformation consultant is the lead of the Newcastle Smart Works Fundraising committee. She brings her experience of building corporate relationships and transformation programme leadership from working with many different organisations to design and implement change that improves their efficiency and performance. Helena started her career working for the Department of Employment and Employment Service and joined Smart Works as she is passionate about supporting women’s development and social mobility. Helena previously co-led the PwC consulting graduate and apprenticeship scheme is also a Non Executive member of the Skills for Justice Qualifications and Standard Committee reflecting her passions in this area.
Lisa has twenty years of experience in delivering marketing and communications strategies for an extensive range of organisations. Lisa is Founder of award-winning integrated agency Unwritten Group that delivers marketing and communications strategies to wide range of organisations and prominent UK brands. A passionate advocate for woman in business and committed to supporting others to reach their full potential, Lisa will ensure Smart Works Newcastle reach and engage more woman, supporting them into employment and beyond.
Carol Meredith became a trustee of Smart Works Newcastle in 2018. Her background as a freelance consultant includes working with regional and national charitable trusts and foundations on major grants programmes and interim CEO roles helping charities through change. She is passionate about women helping women and says she will always feel delighted and privileged to be part of the team helping women into work in the North East.
Meet our North East Ambassador!
Sara Davies MBE – North East Ambassador
We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Sara Davies MBE, award-winning entrepreneur and BBC Dragons’ Den investor, as our first North East ambassador.
Sara founded her crafting business, the Crafter’s Companion, 15 years ago. The craft business reported turnover of 34 million last year and the company employs more than 200 staff in the UK, US and Europe. She is the recipient of over 25 business awards and in 2016 was recognised for services to the economy with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to join the Smart Works family and honoured to represent the charity as ambassador. Smart Works does a tremendous job of helping women gain confidence and realise their true potential. Their dressing and coaching service, and additional network of support, are invaluable to the women who are trying to re-enter, or have newly entered, the world of work.”
“I’m proud to play a part in helping women to achieve their employment aspirations by raising awareness of the incredible, life-changing services that Smart Works offers.”