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Meet Jai Smith, our new Finance and Payroll Shared Services Manager

Jai joins Brooke Weston Trust as our Finance and Payroll Shared Services Manager, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Finance team. We caught up with him to find out more…

Jai, tell us more about your career history.

My first steps into finance during my early 20’s were largely focused on credit control and debt recovery.  For most of my career I have worked for large corporate media companies, always in finance roles, with the occasional work for an associated national tabloid editorial team, which was fun!  My first opportunity into management was standing in as a Purchase Ledger supervisor, before moving into permanent managerial roles in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors.  Here I was able to broaden my knowledge whilst expanding my experiences and skills.  It was at this point I was promoted to Shared Services Manager, overseeing a large-scale team across all financial transactional services. I have also held positions within the education sector, before becoming the Head of Finance at a national charity.

What attracted you to Brooke Weston Trust?

Having stepped away from education briefly, it soon became clear that education was where my heart is. Brooke Weston Trust offers the opportunity to utilise my skills and experience.  BWT also offers great opportunities to make a positive impact and difference to how we work, for example, by exploring continuous improvement initiatives and providing good quality customer service.

Which of the Trust's values resonates most with you (and why)?

The value that resonates with me the most is their ‘Ambition for all’ focus.  I am committed to providing consistent, clear, and collaborative leadership, where all staff are encouraged to be their best and develop, which is why this value really resonates with me. I am looking forward to settling in and seeing how we can be ambitious in how we work to improve the processes and services we deliver to our customers.

What are your priorities for this role?

My core focus for the first few months is to support and deliver the new payroll system, by working closely with my payroll team and key stakeholders.  I will then prioritise meeting other stakeholders throughout the business, visiting schools, and working closely with my finance admin team.  Through these meetings I will better understand the operational demands, processes, and services within BWT, with a view to providing continuous improvement initiatives and advance customer service.

What are you most excited about?

I am most excited about understanding how we currently perform operationally and where opportunities might exist to improve both customer service and efficiency in how we work as a team.

What are your hobbies?

I am passionate about gardening and landscaping, with a keen eye for interior design and architecture. I am a bit of a perfectionist, both in the garden and in the home! I enjoy nature and like to get outside whenever I can, whether that is walking, cycling, kayaking or paddleboarding. I also love the theatre, eating out, trips to the cinema and enjoying life whenever I can.


Thank you Jai!

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