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Location: Reading
Date: February 11, 2021

Smart Works Reading is proud to welcome Aduke Onafowokan to our Board of Trustees. Aduke is a long-term Smart Works Reading supporter and will manage a diversity and inclusion initiative for the charity.

Smart Works Reading helps disadvantaged women, and people who identify as women, from the Thames Valley into work. We successfully pivoted our free interview dressing and coaching sessions to online delivery during the first lockdown, and we now deliver high-quality workwear and care packages directly to clients’ homes. We are also supporting at an earlier stage of the job search process through career coaching that helps clients to identify their skills, rebuild their confidence and write successful job applications.

Introducing our most recent trustee – Aduke Onafowokan

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.

Transforming women’s lives

Smart Works Reading clients are predominately women who are experiencing some type of disadvantage. Many suffer from mental health issues or have experienced challenging, life-changing, or traumatic events, including domestic abuse. Some have been involved with the criminal justice system. They often lack self-confidence, and all are given individually tailored support. The negative impact of the Coronavirus crisis will mean that many people who were previously not disadvantaged may now fall into that category e.g. having become unemployed, bereaved, or suffered from illness.

Women are much more likely to work part-time and in lower paid roles than men. They are more likely to combine caregiving and work, including as a lone parent, than their male counterparts. By supporting women, Smart Works Reading helps their families and by extension, the wider community.

With Aduke’s support and guidance Smart Works Reading will enhance its reach into more communities to ensure that we are transforming as many women’s lives as we can.

Reaching more women who need our support

Sarah Burns MBE, Smart Works Reading Chair said: “We are thrilled to have Aduke as our newest board member. She has been a strong supporter of ours for a few years, with many synergies, values and beliefs shared. She will be a huge asset to our board, and in all areas of Smart Works Reading, by taking the lead to drive us to better and more effective diversity and inclusion. Her success with founding and growing The Sister Sister Network across the UK will help us to continue to grow, reach out to many different networks and ultimately allow us to reach more women who need our support across the Thames Valley.”

“The stars are clearly aligned here”

Aduke Onafowokan said: “I am really excited to be joining the Smart Works Board. I have long supported the amazing work we do and how this has the power to change the trajectory of the careers of the women we help. I hope to bring to the board my dynamic career experiences from law, project management, social impact and now entrepreneurship.

The stars are clearly aligned here, my work with Inclusivitii helping organisations adopt research-driven diversity and inclusion strategies and the vision of The Sister Sister Network to empower women through capacity-building initiatives, tie in with the Smart Works legacy of helping women reach higher. I could not wish for more.”