“Diversity and mentoring in the military has come on leaps and bounds."
So says Samantha, from 159 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), who has risen through the ranks to Major during a 15-year career.
She supports recruitment and training of 18 to 43-year-olds across six regional squadron locations for the Coventry-based Army Reserve regiment, with particular emphasis on females, LGBTQ+ and ethnic minorities.
Samantha and her team play an important role inspiring and mentoring junior female officers and have seen the number of women rise within their regiment to 15 per cent – above the army target of 14 per cent.
We’re in a really good place with female recruitment. Females recruit females.
She said: “I hold networking events with groups who are minorities within the Army. These networking events open recruitment from industry into the Army.
“I would have benefitted hugely if I had a mentor. It wasn’t available when I joined. Now we have initiated a mentoring programme.
“They are fantastic! I am a massive advocate and have a couple of mentees myself. Mentoring is fundamental to ensuring a continued level of understanding.”
Samantha was recently an online guest speaker for the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme.
Launched in March, it matched 21 mentors with 21 mentees across the region to offer one-to-one support including advice, guidance and inspiration to help women in business drive forward their ambitions, either within an existing business or with their own venture.
Strong leadership is when you encourage, motivate, inspire and challenge your team to produce their best work.
She said: “Good leadership is understanding your personnel and adapting to a situation. Leaders are defined by the situation they are in, rather than specific characteristics.
“You need to have the ability to self-analyse, to see where you have scope to improve to be the best version of yourself and in terms of passing on best practice.”
Samantha joined the Royal Military Police in 2006, inspired by her mum who was a police officer. This included a stint in the major incident room where she was part of the Iraq Historical Allegations Team.
After successfully passing the Army Officer Selection Board she attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2012 and was deployed on the last tour of Afghanistan, Op Herrick 20. There she worked as the Regimental Administration Officer at an army hospital in Camp Bastion.
I chose the Army because I had always been interested in the military and it’s an equal opportunities employer, with so many different roles, where I would be judged on my abilities, not my gender.”
“It was a steep learning curve,” she said. “It was fantastic to see how easy it is for civilians to go into the military, especially medics. It was a real eye-opener and what you join for.”
In 2016, having left the regulars in 2015, 159 RLC asked if she would be interested in a Full-Time Reserve Service Post dealing with media and recruitment. As she was leaving her civilian job, the timing was perfect.
Samantha said: "I agreed and got involved in a bespoke package to train civilians as logisticians over the summer holidays.
"The usual training would be delivered in a series of weekends or camps over a prolonged period to suit the availability of the individual.
"The regiment highlighted students as a potential target audience and noted they would have a large space in their calendar over summer holidays and so created a bespoke ‘Civilian to Logistician’ package.
"It enabled them to conduct their training in a consolidated package and come out the other end as a trained RLC soldier."
A keen skier, Samantha has enjoyed the opportunities to pursue that passion within the Army and was due to complete her instructors' course prior to Covid, which she'll now do next season. She also takes a team of Alpine and Nordic skiers to represent the regiment within the Corps each year, usually for a fortnight in Bavaria.
Reflecting on the role of women in the Army over the course of her career, Samantha, added: “What I am really starting to notice is more and more female high ranking officers, so the efforts made towards equality over the last few decades is really bearing fruit.”