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 the Newcastle staff team
“I am really excited to be part of the Smart Works Newcastle Team. I have always been an advocate for women’s empowerment and self development so I cannot wait to use my efforts to support local women and spread awareness of the amazing work we do at Smart Works.”
“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 Assistant
“I am thrilled to be working with the Smart Works Newcastle team, to help deliver our amazing service to women in the North East and giving them the confidence to go get that job.”
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.”
Meet the trustees behind Smart Works Newcastle
Sophie Milliken MBE – Chair of Trustees
As CEO at Moja Group, Sophie is a multi award-winning businesswoman, two-time bestselling author, podcaster, and proud mum. Sophie also enjoys championing the Northeast region and is co-founder of City Ladies Networking, supporter of Northern Power Women and our Chair at Smart Works Newcastle. Sophie was awarded an MBE for services to Business and to Education in 2022.
Helena Clennell – Corporate Partnerships
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.
Carol Meredith – Grants and Awards
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.
Susan Fulton – Human Resources
As a Human Resources and Development Director, Susan brings significant experience from the public, private and charity sectors having worked in operational and HR roles in the UK and Europe in banking, mobile telecoms, retail, housing and social care. Experience of leading change, attracting and retaining talent, learning, diversity and inclusion, working with volunteers and large employability programmes will add value to Smart Works Newcastle. An experienced Board member, Trustee of a large Special Needs Schools Academy and passionate about the North East, our talent, developing gender diversity truly enabling the aspirations of women.
Julie Cuthbertson – Client and Outreach
Julie Cuthbertson is a North East Finance professional with over 20 years’ experience working with regional SMEs, healthcare and charity sector firms to develop, finance and implement strategic growth plans. She brings her long standing relationships and experience in developing strategic partnerships to support the Referral Partner and Outreach team achieve it’s ambitious growth target. Away from work, Julie has been a regular volunteer, supporting the homeless and vulnerable people of Newcastle through the Peoples Kitchen Charity, enjoys a sea dip and spending time with her 8 year old son. She is very passionate about collaboration for the good of all and is delighted to be part of the Smart Works Newcastle family.
Lisa Bell – Treasurer/ Risk and Governance
Lisa Bell is a senior professional with extensive experience with governance, risk management and control. She brings knowledge and insights relating to finance, operations, data and ESG to improve effectiveness, efficiency and safety. She is a purposeful leader with a passion for helping others and is delighted and honoured to be included in the Smart Works Newcastle family.
Lisa Graveling – Marketing and PR
Lisa has 20 years experience across marketing and reputation management across B2B, consumer and social enterprise organisations. She brings experience in media management, sponsorship, digital, social media strategy and brand development and management. She is passionate about social mobility in the workplace, equality and diversity and has been lucky to work with many amazing women in her career.
Nicola Hands – Project Management
Nicola has an extensive background in IT change, portfolio management and business transformation, and brings 15+ years knowledge and experience relating to project management, change planning and IT. Nicola is passionate about woman helping woman and champions social mobility and equal opportunities. Nicola is very privileged to work with some amazing, inspirational woman across the region and is thrilled to now include the Smart Works team and clients in that group
Maxine Fox – Corporate Partnerships and Fundraising
Maxine has worked in corporate finance since settling in the North East over 20 years ago. This has given her significant experience in supporting organisations across all sizes and sectors, to achieve their long-term ambitions of growth. In her current role as Head of Business Operations for a Newcastle based corporate finance firm, she is responsible for all operational aspects of the organisation. This ranges from securing and maintaining relationships with clients and networks to ensuring regulatory compliance is maintained. She is immensely proud of the far-reaching network of women she has developed over the years and is a strong voice for supporting resilience and empowerment for all.