Our Birmingham centre is powered by a passionate team of staff and volunteers who coordinate and deliver our service across the West Midlands.  We are also incredibly grateful to our Board of Trustees, chaired by Philippa Pickavance, who are responsible for the oversight of our day to day operations and fundraising.

Meet some of the Birmingham staff and volunteer team

Emma King

Emma King

Birmingham

Outreach Assistant

“I love working at Smart Works and getting to see women leave us feeling confident and empowered.”

 

Lilly Clements

Lilly Clements

Birmingham

Fundraising & Partnerships Manager

“I’m privileged to work at Smart Works and see first hand the impact the service has. It’s very humbling hearing our clients stories and fantastic to see their confidence grow.”

Louise Dublin

Louise Dublin

Birmingham

Dressing Volunteer

“I have met so many inspiring women who have made such a positive impact on my life. The time styling the clients is very special. The sessions are a bonding of womanhood.”

Suzy Fawke

Suzy Fawke

Birmingham

Dressing Volunteer

“Its such a great feeling seeing a client stand a little taller, smile on face and saying I’ve got this!”

Valerie Swandale

Valerie Swandale

Birmingham

Dressing Volunteer

“To say I just love to help others doesn’t seem enough but it is that simple and to be able to use my skills to give other women the tools to succeed in their own lives is a privilege.”

Ann Powell

Ann Powell

Birmingham

Centre Manager

“I love the fact that the support we offer to the client has an impact not just on her but quite often, her family.”

Meet the trustee team behind Smart Works Birmingham

Philippa Pickavance – Chairwoman of Trustees

Philippa became Chairwoman and a Trustee in 2018. She was a Chartered Surveyor for 40 years and a Partner or Director in various national/international Property consultancy firms, including King Sturge, LSH and Drivers Jonas, heading the Office Agency team when it became part of Deloitte. She then ran her own Commercial property agency firm, Philippa Pickavance Real Estate as a sole trader for 9 years. She is now a consultant with Harris Lamb, specialising in office acquisition work and has used these skills to move the service into cost effective premises. Philippa was previously a trustee at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

“I love leading Smart Works Birmingham and seeing the transformation we bring to our clients and am delighted to be able to use my business experience & contacts to help secure funds and corporate support.”

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. Overall Leadership
2. Fundraising & Corporate Engagement

Holly Rankin 

Holly is HR Director at Barclays UK, based in the Midlands, with previous experience including Lloyds Banking Group, Santander UK, Serco and Marconi. Holly graduated Holly graduated from De Montfort University in Strategic HRM, has specialised in outsourcing and Employee Relations and is a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD).  She is an advocate for Women in Business having previously spent time with the Women’s Business Council supporting older women back into the workplace and bringing menopause to life within the workplace showcasing challenges and bringing awareness.

“I am delighted to have joined the SmartWorks team; I am dedicated to supporting women with their journey towards employment and empowerment”

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. HR
2. People

Bernadette Coughlan

Bernie has worked within the retail sector for over 10 years, currently working as a clothing buyer within the industry (Sainsburys). She is passionate about empowering women to feel confident and comfortable in their own style as well as an advocate for equal opportunities for women from all backgrounds. Bernie also has an interest in sustainable fashion and how pre-loved clothes can help support new opportunities for our clients.

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. Wardrobe
2. Fundraising – Specifically clothes sales

Alison Armstrong

Alison became a Trustee of Smart Works Birmingham at the end of December 2021. She brings a lifetime of experience having recently retired as a Director/Owner of ADP Architecture Ltd after 33 years as a Chartered Architect. She has a keen interest in education particularly for girls and is VC of the Governing Body for King Edwards VI Handsworth School for Girls and a Trustee on the Board of the King Edwards Academy Trust in Birmingham. Alison is a Trustee of Marudyan UK a small charity that provides basic education for BPL (below poverty line) children in India.

Alison is also a Director/Owner of the newly established craft brewery, Moonwake Beer Co in Edinburgh.

“Being involved with a charity that can genuinely transform women’s lives through the simplicity of it’s service is inspirational. The enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by everyone I have met is amazing.”

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. Fundraising – Specifically Grant bid writing

Kerry Postlewhite

Kerry is Assistant Director of Prevention & Campaigns at the RSPCA. Prior to joining the RSPCA, she was Director of Public Affairs at Cruelty Free International, dealing with UK, European and international political and institutional relations and leading on press & PR and campaigns, including high profile launches of Leaping Bunny approved cosmetics. Before that, she worked in UK local government, as an advisor in the European Parliament in Brussels, in various roles in Zambia in southern Africa, including as Deputy Country Director at The British Council and in an innovative education-technology social enterprise. She is committed to enabling women to live their best lives and is involved in women’s mentoring programmes.

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. PR/Media/Comms

Fay Ashwell

Fay is Executive Director, COO and Compliance Officer at Oxford University Endowment Management. She joined OUem in November 2007 and, prior to this, spent eight years at the Wellcome Trust.  She is also a Trustee at CABA. Fay is a Chartered Accountant with a passion for fashion and recently qualified as a fashion stylist with London College of Style in her spare time. She is a member of SW Fashion Club and a dressing volunteer.

“It is a privilege to be part of a team dedicated to supporting women rebuild their confidence through the power of clothes and coaching.”

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. Wardrobe
2. Volunteering

Schnel Hanson

Schnel is a fully qualified Chartered HR Practitioner (MCIPD) and has a PGCE in post compulsory education. She worked as a freelance Consultant before founding her own business in 2015 ‘Developing the Inner You’, with the aim of facilitating training, coaching and positive transformation for further education, corporate and individual clients. Schnel was an Adult Learning and Governance Board Trustee for The Spires Centre from 2019-2022.  In her early career she held training positions at Barnet Council and Notting Hill Housing.

“I am proud to join the board as a trustee. My strategic role is to support and drive the charity focus on the responsibilities of safeguarding adults and to network with the local community”

Smart Works Accountabilities:
1. Safeguarding
2. Referral Partners

Careers at Smart Works Birmingham

Have you been inspired by the work that Smart Works Birmingham does? Here you can find all the latest job openings and Trustee roles available.