Senior Management Team (SMT)
The SMT provides strategic leadership to Wilton Park, offering support and advice to the Chief Executive to ensure the effective running of the organisation.
Colin Smith, interim Chief Executive
Colin comes to Wilton Park from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), with a background in national security, counter terrorism, project delivery and innovation. Until recently, he headed the Projects Task Force, the FCO’s internal consultancy and it’s largest policy department. During this time he led a number of initiatives, and oversaw Tailored Reviews of all of the FCO’s arms-length bodies, including of Wilton Park.
Colin’s last overseas role was Head of Syria Office, based in Istanbul. Prior to that, he was an expert adviser on counter terrorism to the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels. He has also worked extensively on counter-proliferation issues, including as senior policy adviser to the Chair of the UN Panel on Verification. He began his FCO career working on the Balkans.
Colin is married and has three children.
Jo joined Wilton Park in June 2001 where her early positions included Senior Conference Administrator and Communications and Change Manager. In December 2012, she was promoted to Director of Delivery and Communications, and in April 2015 took on additional responsibility as Director of Operations. Committed to continuous innovation, Jo’s strengths include strategic business planning, integrated operational delivery and complex change management. She now leads a large and dynamic cross functional team, overseeing the day to day running of Wiston House as well as operational delivery of all Wilton Park events.
Prior to Wilton Park, Jo worked in private sector sales and marketing. As Marketing Manager at Groupe Elis Paris, she was responsible for all sales and new product development in both Europe and Asia, and previously worked for Northern Foods Ltd as National Account Manager / Brand Manager with responsibility for managing a range of accounts across the UK’s top grocery multiples.
As part of Wilton Park’s Senior Management Team, Jo shares in the overall leadership of the organisation and is responsible for the effective and efficient management of Wiston House, as well as all other operating locations. A CIPR Accredited PR Practitioner, Jo also has responsibility for internal communications and oversees delivery of the annual Civil Service People Survey.
Elise joined Wilton Park in November 2012 as Director of Finance and was promoted to Director of Finance and Corporate Services in March 2015 increasing her responsibilities to include Human Resources and Information Technology. Her key strengths lie in getting to the heart of the business and its drivers and implementing strong and robust financial controls. She was awarded Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in December 2016.
Elise has enjoyed a varied career, running her own business until 1998, where she learnt commercial awareness and financial planning skills. She sold her business to study as a Chartered Management Accountant at the same time as developing her career in finance. Her career path since then has seen her working in businesses ranging from pharmaceutical communications, to insurance, telecoms and the electricity industry.
As part of Wilton Park’s Senior Management Team, Elise shares in overall leadership of the organisation and is responsible for the financial planning, ensuring targets are met on an annual basis. She reports to both the Wilton Park Board and the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee.
Elise studied Botany at the University of Manchester (Bsc Hons).