On the 12th November, OxWIB members had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Delyth Evans, the Executive Director of Smart Works (formerly Dress for Success London), in the Old Library of Hertford College.
Delyth spoke in great detail about the work of Smart Works, a charity helping women who have nothing to wear for a job interview. These women are referred to Smart Works by a job centre or other charity and often are lacking in confidence and in need of not only clothes but also advice on the interview itself. A team of stylists pick out an outfit, the clothes donated by City workers or retailers, and then the woman receives specific interview preparation for the job they are applying for. The charity helps over 1,200 women a year, and more than 50% of Smart Works clients secure a job after their visit to the charity.
Before entering the charity sector, Delyth worked as a journalist for the BBC, and then went into politics as a Labour member of the National Assembly for Wales. The common strand running through her careers and her key motivation was the desire to make a difference, and this led Delyth to offer OxWIB members some of her own 'tips for success'. "Do something you care about, but also something that you are good at" was particularly inspiring – Delyth always recognised the importance of teaching, but unfortunately it wasn't for her!
Opening the floor to questions led to further discussion of what Delyth has learnt over her various careers, and the opportunities available when working in charity sector, as well as some advice on entering journalism and politics. What's next for Delyth? She has been selected to be a candidate for Westminster in Wales and hopes to enter Parliament – fingers crossed for the next election!
To find out more about Smart Works: http://www.smartworks.org.uk/