Former corporate lawyer, investment banker and business consultant, Kim Davis brings formidable skills to her new role as business manager at Isambard Community School in North Swindon.
She's clear that schools of the future will have to operate on a different level. "Schools, particularly at secondary level, need to be run like a
business where the quality of education and the benefit to children are seen as the most important output.
"The Isambard headteacher, Rachel Mattey, and the first staff are all extremely committed to ensuring that the education received there will be the very best available."
"Whilst state funding will cover the academic aspects of education, business sponsorship has an important role in providing the extras, by way of equipment, experiences and visits, to enhance learning and broaden horizons."
Kim trained as a lawyer in Washington DC before joining a New York law firm, where she specialised in corporate transactions. She moved on to become an investment banker before taking a break to raise her family.
While looking after her three daughters, Kim became president of a charitable organisation helping women and children, using her talents to
plan their fundraising strategy. Her husband¹s work brought the family to London where, once settled, Kim studied art and antiquities at Christies.
Her interest in design led to a new business venture when she launched her own fashion label. Her elegant designs were produced in England and exported to department stores and boutiques in the USA.
The business grew rapidly until long hours and travelling to Paris and North America meant that Kim was putting in the same long hours she thought she had left behind. She decided to close down the venture and study marketing before setting up a consultancy for medium sized companies.
When she happened by chance to see the advertisement for the Isambard position, Kim realised that it would be an opportunity to use all her experience and give something back to society. "I kept looking at the newspaper and I couldn¹t believe a school was calling on the skills I had – from managing the budget and taking a strategic overview of development to seeking corporate support. Working in education is a new field for me, but I've always been conscious of how teachers at my high school back in Pittsburgh inspired me through my own education.
"I would never have realised my potential or seen the opportunities without the public sector education I received. The Isambard position seemed such a great chance to give back to education what I had gained, albeit in a different country."
After getting to grips with the school budget, Kim has begun work on a business plan and five year marketing package to attract sponsorship for the school. "You can be sure I¹m not at all embarrassed about approaching companies in the town and further afield. As a brand new school we will have an amazing facility which we intend to make a flagship for Swindon."