Managing Director & SIB Standing Member
I initially joined Smile Together as Dental Director with ultimate responsibility for clinical team leadership across all aspects of our business, from our most complex special care community provision to private dentistry. I was appointed as Managing Director in 2023 after our previous post holder left after a decade at the helm.
As Managing Director I have strategic leadership for our organisation and oversee the running of every aspect of the business, ensuring we deliver exceptional patient care across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It’s my responsibility to keep us on track with our exciting and ambitious plans, and I’m involved in everything from planning and decision-making to signing off and taking responsibility for key business developments. There are a number of underlying statutory (legal) roles which fall to me – for instance I am the information governance “Senior Information Responsible Officer” meaning that, legally, I am responsible for the safekeeping of all data and information that Smile Together holds and processes.
Building and leading a team of professional, committed and dedicated people who are also fun to work with is a real privilege. I also get to be involved at the beginning of some great strategic ideas through to their operational delivery – our fully-private Keast Mews Dental Centre and B Corp certification are great examples of this.
Keeping us at the forefront of changes within the national dental landscape, whilst ensuring that our patients remain at the very heart of our decision making and direction, is a key part of my role.
I continue to lead the development of our dental services across the whole care pathway to ensure delivery of the highest standards of clinical care and an excellent patient experience whilst meeting contractual and quality targets. With the support of our Clinical and Operations Directors, we ensure compliance with national regulations and clinical service improvement across our employee-owned social enterprise including developing systems of clinical governance and supervision, clinical audit, recruitment and continuing professional development with a close eye on succession planning, key aspects of my role given the clinical recruitment challenges across the dental sector nationally.
I have an active ambassadorial role in promoting Smile Together and frequently work in partnership with patients, clinicians, commissioners and other key stakeholders, representing us on key external committees. In fact in July 2022 I was appointed Chair of the first Urgent Care Managed Clinical Network (MCN) in the South West.
The most fun and inspiring aspect of my role is the time I get to spend with our extraordinarily dedicated and experienced team of clinicians and professional support colleagues working so hard on behalf of our patients and communities. The biggest challenge in my role is needing to be everywhere at once and geographically Cornwall’s a pretty big county with some significant oral health inequalities to tackle.
I grew up in South Africa, came to secondary school in the UK and stayed here. Having always been interested in the caring, patient-centric side of medicine and healthcare this eventually led me into dentistry after work experience with a dentist family friend. I studied at Bristol University at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, completed my FD in Bristol and have continued to study including at UCL (sedation) and I most recently achieved a Masters of Clinical Dentistry with Distinction as well as Associateship of King’s College London. I’ve practised in a range of NHS and private dentistry roles across the South West including as a secondary care dentist and joined Smile Together in 2019 where I saw a clear opportunity to make a real difference for my colleagues and our patients.
To anyone considering joining Smile Together I’d say do it! Patients are at the very heart of everything we do, everyone is proactive, innovative and keen to improve – it’s a selfless organisation in that respect and just as good as it appears from the outside where, being employee-owned, everyone’s opinion counts. For me it’s not about the money, it’s about making that difference.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my young family alongside woodworking, hiking, sailing, tennis, photography and travelling, though you don’t need to go far when you live in such a beautiful location!
The fun bit!
Cats or dogs?
Surfing or sunbathing?
Manual or electric toothbrush?
Cornish cider or gin?
Mini or VW Campervan?
Peace and quiet or loud and lively?
Flossing or interdental brushing?
Full on roast or salad?
Football or rugby?
Rock or classical?
Under cover or outside in the elements?
It depends who I’m with!