09 Dec Silverstone Inspiration for Innovation Profile #3 – Rachel Smithers, Administrator MEPC Silverstone Park
Here we are again, giving you a sneak peek at some of our fabulous volunteers who form the Silverstone Volunteer Network as part of the Inspiration for Innovation programme that Gaia Innovation is running in collaboration with MEPC Silverstone Park.
Today we are featuring one of their very own; Rachel Smithers, Administrator MEPC Silverstone Park. You might know her as one of the friendly faces that greet you at The Innovation Centre or deals with your events, health and safety, service charges……and so much more. An accomplished multitasker with a holistic view on happiness Rachel is a really bubbly, diligent character, always a pleasure to chat with when we’re visiting Silverstone.
Shining through is a real sense of self-belief, and not in a conceited way at all, Rachel is very modest and proud of her achievements, which include having bought her house age 23 and following the route to work that suited her. She takes great pleasure from her dog Rosie who is a gorgeous yellow Labrador who’s always wagging her tail which keeps Rachel energised. Note to non-dog owners: this is normal synergy!
In regard to the Inspiration for Innovation programme, I do remember last year at the outset Rachel was very willing to help but a little unsure if she was suitable, not having an engineering background. We soon allayed those concerns when she realised that her route to employment was something that students for whom university is not a choice could relate to. So, she too was an instant ‘real-model’ without even realising it.
Rachel has a natural ability to organise and talk, quite a lot apparently, so knew early on that she would suit a customer service or administration type role. Her career journey so far has been based in administration, with roles including an apprenticeship in an Estate Agents where she mostly ran the two-person show. Later working in a property management company dealing with receivership she really built her confidence in dealing with very distressed people over the phone. Rachel gained a lot of technical skills working as a Land Charges administrator, and a further job elevated her to a senior administrator position. Looking for a change after a few years she applied to Silverstone Park in 2017 and hasn’t looked back!
There’s loads of variety at Silverstone and Rachel is particularly focused on learning about facilities management, a route that she may one day wish to pursue. Her positive influences are her family and partner Sam, who is a fantastic businessman. Rachel says “he has a brain like an encyclopedia” so is always learning from him. Her mum is Director of Risk Management and Society Secretary at Bath Building Society, being the first and only female director ever in the company’s 115-year history having worked her way up from a similar role to that which Rachel does currently, “now that’s inspirational!” says Rachel.
Having helped with several Silverstone Tours as part of the I4I programme as well as being one of our first volunteers to go into a school to help increase awareness of the need for honesty and integrity, how this works in the working world, including the use of social media. Rachel was quite nervous and uneasy to start with but receiving good feedback and knowing she has made a positive impact has inspired her to do more in year two which is great to hear. The enthusiasm from the students and listening to some of their really intelligent questions has been a real highlight to her volunteering.
I also asked Rachel if she had any personal wins that she would like to share and I have already made a note in my diary to revisit this one (no pressure Rachel) – “I’ve started running”, she says “ask me again this time next year if I can do a 10k!”.
I have no doubt that with her positive outlook and ‘can do’ attitude that she will.