We had a fantastic start to the year with Charlie  – The Deputy Head of Strategic Unmanned Air Systems from the Defence Equipment and Support based at MOD Abbey Wood, speaking to us about unmanned air systems.  She is a very busy lady and clearly passionate about her job.  She leads an ever growing team of 170, and is responsible for the ‘Reaper’ aircraft and the introduction of ‘Protector’ which is planned for 2020.  She was showered with questions and was unable to answer all of them as we didn’t have clearance for the information to be shared!   She brought one of the smallest ‘drones’ with her a ‘Black Hornet’ which can be seen being held by Charlie in the Photo below.

She said one of the highlights of her job has been a 6mth posting out to Afghanistan where she was looking after the other civil servants and contracts from the supplying of guard dogs to the buying of bread.

Charlie has recently completed her MSc which is on gender diversity in senior roles in DE&S (Defence, Equipment & Support) within the Ministry of Defence.  Her findings included that women actually value the enjoyment of work and working with people they like and that generally they need prompting to apply for other jobs!  She also highlighted that even in 2018, women are still the main carers for children and that they still take the lead in domestic duties in the home.  She also stressed that the culture of working long hours needs to be addressed.  Definitely food for thought.

I’m sure everyone found it a fascinating evening and hope that Charlie enjoys her Bath WI apron that our President Trish presented her.  Hopefully, her husband will wear it as much as she does.  A very big thank you.

charlie pic