About

Karen Smallwood

About Me

I am a motivated self started who strives on challenges. Sometimes referred to as a "Pioneer" or even an "INTJ" type (depending on which test you are referring to) but the outcome is always the same. I have the ability to see solutions where others find obstacles and I use this ability wherever I can.

Intrapeneur and Entrepeneur - I run companies from within in addition to starting new ventures. I love identifying gaps in the market and finding solutions to those gaps and I thrive on the challenge of helping others to do the same.

I spent my early years working around the world as a representative in ski and summer resorts, helping holiday makers enjoy their time away until in 1995 when it was time to "settle down" and get a "proper job".

I always wanted to fly so I went to the Royal Air Force recruitment centre and took the test. In speaking to their staff afterwards, I was told I was "too old". 23 at the time, there would not be any vacancies until I was 26 and 26 (at that time) was too old for the RAF. "Try the Army" they said.

Army recruitment was in the same building so I thought, I am here, I might as well take the test. I took the test and in doing through the results the recruitment staff sergeant said "we do not take on pilots as recruits, you need to do something else first and transfer when you are a sergeant, your test results show you are suitable for RMP or Int Corps". I said "well I know what RMP (Royal military Police) does but what about Int Corps" to which he replied "I can't tell you"................I will do that then!!!

I joined the Army Intelligence Corps in 1996 as an Operator Intelligence and Security and was posted to Northern Ireland.

In my role in Ireland I assisted a DERA (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) team in completing an IT investigation and in 2000, I joined the DERA team as a Scientific Officer dealing with Special Projects (Counter Terrorist and Special Forces).

In 2002 my dream job became available as an Investigator for the National Investigation Division of HMCE (Her Majesty's Customs and Excise) which later became Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. My role as investigator became a specialized role as a dedicated surveillance officer and my team was transferred to the Serious Organized Crime Agency when it was established in 2006.

In 2008, I moved to Canada with my husband and initially, I couldn't work as I did not have a permit. I had always been involved with technology and alway wanted to learn Web Development so I decided to do a course with VSBT (now Q College). Upon completing the course I started doing websites for myself, friends and others under my sole proprietorship "Ice Shadow Studio" (which is my dogs kennel club name!).

I also started working for North Studio and Stikky Media (Q College's sister companies) and teaching for Q College. This gave me a rounded marketing, web development and training background that allowed me to move my way up in the company, undertaking every role, from developer to project manager to account manager and Vice President. I was President when the CEO went on holiday to Thailand and came back a year later to a 30% increase in sales........at that point I became CEO and never looked back!

Late 2014 I was having difficulty with balance, speech and multi tasking and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in early 2015. A long discover process occurred next where I worked out what I could do and what I needed to change and the biggest thing that needed to change was my stress levels. After a lot of discussions with my partners at North Studio we decided that I would remove the stress of being the CEO for the 5 companies I was managing and focus my efforts on the one thing I loved - analytics and strategy!

I registered Coredeca in 2009 but I never really knew what I wanted to do with it. I had been managing and overseeing strategy for my own companies (Ice Shadow Studio and Flight Crew Finder) along with my friends companies and North Studio & Stikky Media. Late 2016 I stepped down from North Studio and focused 100% on delivering Analytics and Strategy under Coredeca whilst working hand in hand with the companies (North Studio, Q College, Digital Business Intelligence and Stikky Media) that I still share part ownership in. This is a fantastic way of working as we both get to focus on being experts in our respective areas whilst leveraging the team work and synergy that we have always had. 

And that is my story to date.......I am sure there will be lots more to come!

 

 

My Background

Coredeca Consulting Inc

Coredeca (2016 - 2017 )

Owner Operator

North Studio

North Studio (2008 - 2016 )

Part owner

SOCA

Serious Organised Crime Agency (2006 - 2008 )

Project Manager

  • Project management of specialist surveillance assets 
  • Strategy development for use of mobile technology for evidential gain
  • Departmental lead for new and emerging surveillance technologies
  • Building new asset management database and integration cross departments
  • Departmental representation on multi agency working groups
  • Co-ordination of nationwide surveillance assets
HMCE

Customs & Excise (2002 - 2006 )

Specialist Investigator

  • Provision of specialist surveillance and surveillance capability
  • Provision of counter surveillance for specialist departments
  • Line management of team members
  • Provision of specialist surveillance training to UK Government and Foreign Agencies
  • Technical surveillance instruction
  • Departmental representation on multi agency working groups
  • Project management of multi agency strategy involving use of RFID technology
QinetiQ

QinetiQ (2000 - 2002 )

Scientific Officer

  • Solutions specialist IT projects
  • Provision of bespoke IT solutions to Counter Terrorist and Special Forces
  • Specialist IT research and development
  • Process Analysis and research of tactical solutions for national and local Police Forces
  • Presentation of documentation and reports to UK Government
Intelligence Corps

Intelligence Corps (1996 - 2000 )

Operator Intelligence & Security

  • Collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of intelligence
  • Presentation of briefings, maps, charts and reports
  • Assessment of accuracy of information and reliability of sources
  • Post incident analysis and implementation of lessons learnt
  • Threat and risk assessment
  • Security Surveys and Interviews
  • Counter Intelligence investigations and reviews
  • Instruction on interview techniques