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Location: Leeds
Date: October 14, 2020
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Join us for our 1st Birthday celebratory event.

Date: Thursday 5th November

Time: 12 noon – 1.30pm

Venue: Zoom

Birthday Raffle: See information below event details

We’ll be celebrating the women we’ve helped into work since we opened a year ago and exploring what it means to be a woman in a leading role in todays challenging environment.
We are delighted to be joined by 3 inspiring keynote speakers who will share with us their personal narratives around their experience of leading through adversity, how they built their personal resilience and tips on how to work through difficult times – so relevant to the current world we live in.

Paula Nickolds – Former MD of John Lewis & Partners

Smart Works Ambassador and leading figure in British retail, most recently as the Managing Director of John Lewis & Partners, the culmination of a 25 year career with the John Lewis Partnership. She is passionate about fashion and retail and about supporting women and girls to ‘dream big‘ and to realise their full potential. She was previously a trustee of the GDST and of the John Lewis Foundation.

Councillor Eileen Taylor – The Lord Mayor of Leeds

The 126th person to hold the Office of Lord Mayor of Leeds. The Councillor is extremely proud to represent the City of Leeds as the first black Lord Mayor. During her political career the Lord Mayor has served as a board member on the following Committees: Environmental and Highway, Transport Authority, Health and Well-being, Children and Families, Infrastructure Investment Scrutiny and most recently she was the chair of Inner North East community.


Dame Julie Kenny – Chair of Trustees of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust

Dame Julie is the Chair of Trustees at the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation. She is a successful Yorkshire based entrepreneur and has, for over twenty years, served the business and wider communities. She was awarded a CBE in 2002 for her services to industry in Yorkshire and Humberside. Julie was the Vitalise Businesswoman of the Year in 2013 and Private Businesswoman of the Year 2014.

Renee Hunt – Director of Group Digital Platforms for Sky

Renee is the senior leader for Sky in Leeds, directly responsible for 200 digital engineers based at Sky Leeds Dock, building and supporting mobile, web and other digital products for all of Sky’s territories in Europe and beyond. Renee has over 30 years of experience in technology, starting her career in the US Army Signal Corp, then moving into the private sector after getting her MBA from the University of Texas, with a specialism in IT. She has delivered technology programmes all over the world in a variety of industries, including: Media, Telecoms, Finance, Defence and the Public Sector. She is mad for: Fashion, Boston Terriers, ballet, cinema, code-breaking & WWII, memorising song lyrics and world travel. She is very active in Sky’s Women in Tech initiative and is committed to helping to bring more women ‘back into tech’ and making the industry to more inclusive overall. An active developer of people, prides herself having led and/or mentored some of the finest people in the business.

Joining Sky in Leeds has allowed Renee to achieve a life goal of moving to Yorkshire and she now lives with her husband Michael and her two small dogs Xabi and Lola in the idyllic north-Yorkshire country-side.

Event tickets are just £5 and all money raised goes directly towards helping more women in our community.  You can obtain a ticket for the event here.

As it costs over £500 a day to open our doors we are complimenting this event with a birthday raffle and our #blueforyou campaign.

A donation of £5 generates 5 raffle tickets, £10 for ten etc and prizes include:

  • £1850 Givenchy shoulder bag
  • £250 Ted Baker voucher donated by the Adecco Group
  • £250 Harvey Nichols vouchers donated by Reward Finance
  • £100 voucher from Almond boutique
  • Vintage Moet & Chandon donated by Reparo Finance
  • 6 months subscription to the Rare Birds Book Club
  • 2 x 1 day family passes for David Lloyds
  • a meal for 4 from Wheely Indian food
  • £20 voucher from Rose and Fern
  • a free will writing service donated by Clarion Solicitors

Donations for raffle prizes can be made here and lucky winners will be drawn on the 12th November.

Our #blueforyou campaign is simple. Engage your friends, colleagues and employees to wear blue on our birthday, 5th November, and make a donation of £5 each (suggested price) to Smart Works Leeds using this platform.

 With your support we will be able to help even more women in our community. Together we can make a real difference.