Woman smiling

Sally Phillipps

HR Business Partner and SIB Chair/Rep

Currently our HR Business Partner, Sally has had a fantastically varied career underpinned by her passion for training and continuing professional development.

Born in Birmingham, Sally moved to Cornwall with her family when she was just 9 years old and successfully transitioned through school then a catering apprenticeship with Cornwall College. An experience in a care setting inspired a career move into social work and she then qualified with a Certificate in Social Services, working in a Primary Mental Health Team in Truro.

A career break from social work whilst her family were young led Sally to take a part-time role in a BT call centre in the city and when BT became O2 she moved into a part-time retail position until being promoted to full-time store manager. Whilst on a national O2 training course Sally was invited to express interest in a 2-year secondment opportunity in training and development and upon being successful found herself supporting a major acquisition programme for 350 stores nationwide.

Within 12 months a permanent position arose within O2 as Learning and Development (L&D) Consultant reporting to the Head of HR, for which she successfully applied. Now managing a small team delivering learning and development across the country, Sally undertook her Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) Diploma, with L&D a recognised specialism.

Sally remained with O2 until 2014 when she joined Rick Stein as L&D Manager working primarily in Cornwall supporting their business growth and development. Then, fulfilling a dream to live part of the year in Spain and part in the UK, Sally left that role and registered with an agency to work whenever in Cornwall and in 2016 began the next stage of her career journey with Smile Together.

Initially working on a flexible basis in our Call Centre, primarily handling calls from patients seeking urgent and emergency dental care, Sally slowly and surely became more involved in our employee-owned (EO) community interest company – especially given our aspiration to develop a centre of excellence for training and development for our people and other clinicians! An ambition that still holds true and Sally has been central to the development and implementation of our in-house bespoke Training Academy that sees our clinical colleagues in particular completing more than 3 times as much verifiable CPD as required each year, and our bespoke Perform (appraisal and review) system.

Still working on a flexible basis Sally also supports our in-house L&D delivering and coordinating courses for Smile Together colleagues including peer review sessions. This work continues but, following an in-house HR team restructure to create a new opportunity aligned with business need, Sally moved into a more HR generalist role as HR Business Partner.

To complement this, in 2021 she achieved Chartered CIPD status which entailed a written and competency-based assessment against the CIPD professional framework. Sally felt this was an important and significant achievement which was encouraged and funded by Smile Together alongside ensuring she had what was required to succeed, including internal stakeholder feedback.

Reflecting on her successful yet varied career, Sally says: “I’ve gone from the public sector to a big corporate, then a family business to an employee-owned social enterprise – all very different but all people-based organisations with care and customer service at their heart. This latest achievement is a great example of the career opportunities positively encouraged and enabled at Smile Together for clinical as well as professional support colleagues like me”.

On top of all this Sally is an elected representative on our EO Shareholder Impact Board (which she also chairs), attending Smile Together Board and formal committee meetings to share business insight and opinion, and has previously provided Call Centre cover and Out of Hours support for evenings and weekends when required. As she says: “This sees me operating at all levels of Smile Together including alongside clinical colleagues which is not only a good temperature check for my more substantive role but gives me great insight into individuals’ current and future L&D requirements”.