Welcome to Lisa Waller

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So Lisa, where have you come from?  What have you been doing?!

I always say I grew up in the NHS.  I care deeply about the NHS as a concept and an institution.  I feel a lot of gratitude and affection towards those who helped me throughout my NHS career and the culture which enabled me to develop my professional, technical and leadership skills.

My first jobs after College were working in large London Teaching Hospitals, in the emerging disciplines of Health Informatics and Information Management.  I then had a spell “out in the community” working for a Community and Mental Health Trust, before spending seven years in a Trust-Board level CIO-style role providing a comprehensive Digital and Informatics service to a group of Trusts and CCGs. So I have seen most aspects of the NHS family of organisations.

The National Programme for IT gave me the opportunity to experience commercial negotiations on a grand scale.  I then spent several years working for BT, firstly on their health programmes and later in the wider Global Services environment, as a Programme Director, Director of Strategy and Business Development and managing the pool of c.3500 professional and technical people.  This was an amazing environment for growth – and I don’t think I was ever told “no” to exploring a good idea or innovation and I was lucky enough to be part of the talent programme where I got to know some amazing inspirational people.

On leaving BT, I established my own successful healthcare IT consulting and resourcing business.  Working with a small team of highly talented individuals, I was proud of the culture we developed – focussed on delivering the best quality service for our NHS clients, at an affordable price and keeping all our people occupied doing things they enjoyed.  Almost all of our clients repeatedly returned to us for more help and most also referred on to their colleagues in other Trusts.  To me, this was the best indicator that we were doing something right!

At a major turning point in my personal life, I decided to sell my company and concentrate on riding my horses and developing my competitive dressage career.

So what happened?! Why are you back working again?!

This is the question I get asked most often!  The trigger was the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.  I wanted to use my skills to support the NHS during those difficult and frightening first months.  I reached out to some of my previous customers, colleagues and friends working in the NHS to see if anyone needed any help and I joined a Digital Management Team in an acute Trust as a volunteer while we all responded as best as we could to the initial crisis.

Once things had calmed down, I was given the opportunity to remain as a Programme Director supporting a multi-Trust EPR programme.  I remembered that I loved my job and really enjoyed working with NHS colleagues again.  After a couple of years, and a range of consulting assignments for various clients, I found I had settled into a perfect work-life balance for me where I still have time for my horses while also enjoying the mental stimulus of work which interests me and engages my brain!  Joining SmartCo promises to enable me to retain this balance whilst offering new and interesting opportunities.

So why SmartCo?  And what are you going to be doing?

I have known most of the SmartCo senior team for many years and I admire their approach and vision for the company as it grows.  Heading up their healthcare division, I will be responsible for setting the direction within this market sector.  We will be responding to the UK’s Digital Health resourcing challenge, focussing on providing the expertise, people and services that the NHS needs to deliver digitally-enabled transformation to respond to the unprecedented changes it faces today and in the coming months and years.  More globally, we aim to develop our international consulting capabilities, sharing ideas, innovations and best practice with our clients.

My priority is to create an environment in which we can attract, develop and retain the best talent in the industry and to support our clients with demonstrably good value and unimpeachable quality and integrity.  We will be looking for ways to innovate and I would love to work with clients to develop ideas and share knowledge.  These values are shared across the leadership team and SmartCo are already demonstrating that they are living by these values, not just saying the words!

My personal success measures for the division will be:

  • Are we doing such a good job that our clients want to work with us again and refer us to their colleagues?
  • Are we looking after our people so that they stay working with us and recommend us to their friends and associates?
  • Oh yes, and I suppose we had better make enough money to pay the bills and fund all the great new ideas we have!

What’s unique about the company?

I believe that SmartCo is striving to achieve that delicate balance between boutique consultancy where we know our clients really well and can tailor our services to their individual needs and preferences and provide our people with flexibility to suit their lifestyles and priorities, and the stability, structure and scope for innovation of a much larger organisation.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Only that I would love to hear from my old friends, colleagues, associates and acquaintances – let me know what you think?  What do you think we should be focussing on?  What would you like us to offer and achieve?

And I’m always keen to learn new things and meet new people, so if I don’t know you, but you have some good ideas for what I should be thinking about in my first few months, or pitfalls to avoid, please drop me a line.

I’m always happy for a chat on the phone or to meet up for coffee or a drink, now we are allowed out again!

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