Born in Plymouth, Kate then attended school in Totnes, achieving A levels in English, film studies and sociology. She then worked locally in retail customer service roles until 2005 when she was inspired to pursue a career in dental nursing, securing a trainee role in an independent two-surgery practice delivering a mix of NHS and private care. Upon qualifying in 2007, Kate moved to Newquay to join Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust to broaden her dental nursing experience beyond just regular routine care. The next five years saw her travelling to around 14 locations across the county, from Bude and Constantine in North Cornwall to Penzance and the Isles of Scilly further West, supporting the delivery of urgent dental care, special care services and orthodontics.
Kate explains: “This was an extraordinary experience which I thoroughly enjoyed as it was so different to what I was used to as a dental nurse. During this time I gained my oral health education qualification so would also find myself visiting family hubs, educating new parents, which was equally rewarding”.
In 2012, just as the organisation transitioned to become PCH Dental, Kate suffered a back injury which, combined with her Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, prevented her from dental nursing. So Kate moved into the organisation’s dedicated Call Centre in Truro, handling calls from patients seeking urgent and emergency care, and enquiries and/or referrals from other healthcare professionals. She progressed quickly into a business administration role, securing an NVQ level 2, and then transitioned into System Administrator with responsibility for the Patient Management System. This new role necessitated further study with Truro and Penwith College and saw Kate involved in project management and Subject Access Requests (SARs), working closely with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly IT Services (CITS) team.
In 2015 Smile Together was being established as an independent employee-owned CIC moving completely away from PCH and CITS, and the company’s IT requirements were naturally changing. Kate therefore became IT and System Support Analyst managing an even wider range of systems including email, performance reporting and analytics, and supporting that digital transformation. According to Kate: “During this time Smile Together significantly invested in my career, funding a number of IT courses including in IT Project Planning, which I enjoyed so much that I was inspired to personally fund and complete an online events management course in my own time! In 2021 I began a Data Analyst course, followed by refresher courses in SARs and information governance, all funded by Smile Together.”
In January 2023 Kate was thrilled to secure a key role as Business and Performance Lead for Smile Together, moving from IT into the Operations team. This sees her working with clinical and professional support colleagues right across the company, enhancing data capture and analysis to support business performance improvement whilst maintaining that all important focus on patient service improvement and business development. Kate retains responsibility for the Dentally Practice Management System to ensure this is seamlessly aligned at the heart of Smile Together operations.
Kate concludes: “I am so grateful to Smile Together. The company has consistently and generously invested in my career, from funding training and development to supporting genuine career development, even accommodating a significant enforced career change away from dental nursing. It’s such a supportive employer with a fantastic team of people and I’ve made some life-long friendships through working here”.
Outside of work Kate and her fiancé Tim enjoy walking their dog in beautiful Cornwall, including the county’s wonderful National Trust Gardens, socialising with family and friends, and attending Strong Man competitions nationwide with Tim, where they even met Sugar Ray Leonard!