Our Reading centre is powered by a passionate team of staff and volunteers who coordinate and deliver our service across the Thames Valley. We are also incredibly grateful to our Board of Trustees, chaired by Sarah Burns, MBE, who are responsible for the oversight of our day to day operations and fundraising.
Meet some of the Reading staff and volunteer team
“I love that we’re supporting women. It’s a sisterhood, and we need more of that in the workplace.”
Development and fundraising manager
“It’s just so rewarding to see our amazing clients stand taller after a visit to Smart Works Reading.”
Service Delivery Manager (Maternity Cover)
“I love working with really accomplished women who give their time to improve the lives of others.”
“Be open-minded; about your clothing, your CV and your future prospects. You’ll leave us feeling prepared, confident, calm and fabulous!”
“Helping spread the word about the incredible work we do for women is one the highlights of my working week.”
“Volunteering is an absolute highlight; I feel privileged to represent such a passionate organisation making real positive impacts to women.”
Meet the trustee team behind Smart Works Reading
Sarah Burns, MBE
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.
Aduke Onafowokanis 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.
Alex Williams is a Trustee at Smart Works Reading. Alex has over 20 years’ experience helping big brand names tackle a host of communications challenges. A director at a leading independent communications agency, she’s worked across retail, telecoms, technology and travel sectors, overseeing both European and global programmes. Supported and inspired by brilliant women in her career.
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.
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.
Claire Murdoch is our Deputy Chair 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. 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.
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.
Jo Perrin is a Trustee of Smart Works Reading. She has over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, working both in-house and in agency, most recently at Verizon, where she headed up international corporate communications. She was also the co-president of WAVE Worldwide (the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees, Verizon’s largest Employee Resource Group), which focuses on the professional development of women within Verizon, and Verizon’s stakeholder communities.
Kim Wedderburn is a Legal Trustee, Associate General Counsel, Europe for Veeva Systems, and a qualified barrister who initially practised in the criminal sector. 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.
Meet the Reading Ambassadors who work alongside our national Ambassadors to promote Smart Works
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.
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 street.
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.