Five serving members of the Army and an Army-initiated network have been nominated for their innovative, inspiring and outstanding work at this year’s Women in Defence Awards, which will take place on Tuesday 23 November.
Now in its tenth year, the Women in Defence Awards recognise and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women across the Defence sector. This year, the Army is the Service with the highest number of nominees with five soldiers and officers making the shortlist for the prestigious awards.
Brigadier Clare Phillips CBE has been nominated for the Inspirational Award in recognition of her work to inspire her colleagues over her 27-year career. As a woman in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers she uses her position to inspire other women in STEM roles in the Army, recently supporting and promoting the establishment of a REME Servicewomen’s network.
As an openly gay woman she has spoken candidly across the organisation about her experiences and was last year appointed Co-Chair of the Army LGBT+ Network where she continues to support and inspire Army soldiers and officers who are members of the LGBT+ community.
The Outstanding Contribution Award is given each year to recognise a special contribution by an individual to their organisation where the nominee has exceeded expectations. This year Brigadier Alison McCourt OBE has been nominated for her contribution to the pandemic response.
Brigadier McCourt deployed with 2 hours’ notice to the NHS to assist with leading the joint NHS and Military team charged with establishing 7 Nightingale hospitals in extremely challenging circumstances. Once she had led the team to success after a 3 month deployment, she volunteered to stay at NHS Headquarters on a placement to ensure she could defend the nation by being at the front line of the response at a pivotal point for the NHS and the UK.
Brigadier McCourt has a record of leading the way in emergency health responses - she commanded the first hospital that deployed to Sierra Leone in response to the Ebola crisis. She has also been the Army's Chief Nurse for 3 years during which time she has worked to transform the profile of her QARANC cap badge (earning a CBE for her contribution).
Lieutenant Colonel Linda Orr OBE is in the running for the Innovation and Creativity Award after forming an international collaboration that has researched, created and delivered a new hearing assessment and treatment paradigm for those hearing-injured on operations.
Over the last two years, her work has fundamentally changed the landscape of military noise-induced hearing loss and rescued the hearing of a significant number of serving men and women.
Both Lance Corporal Natasha Day and Sergeant Louise Bradley have been nominated in the Unsung Heroines category. Lance Corporal Natasha Day, a combat medical technician, returned to work last year when her son was just six months old and wanted to continue breastfeeding but struggled to find the answers in the policy on how to go about it.
She decided to start the Army Breastfeeding Network (now known as the Defence Breastfeeding Network) which has created a safe area for both mothers and partners to come together and talk about breastfeeding in a way that ensures that the wider Army is able to understand and support them. LCpl Day has established links across Defence to bring the Network to all service women and civil servants.
Sergeant Louise Bradley has also been nominated for the Unsung Heroines Award going above and beyond in her role. On top of her normal Medical Sergeant duties within her unit she has voluntarily taken on the responsibility for additional training and testing of sub-unit personnel whilst also delivering all sub-unit training and on occasion unit fitness training.
She has been described as instrumental in maintaining operational deployment records through all readiness cycles. Sgt Bradley has also found time to complete a 5-week clinical induction course allowing her to complete voluntary unpaid work in support of the NHS.
Since completing the course during off duty periods she has worked tirelessly alongside the South-Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) based in Bracknell, where she regularly completes voluntary unpaid clinical shifts of 10-12 hours duration.
This year the Defence Breastfeeding Network, which began as the Army Breastfeeding Network, has been nominated for the Equality of Opportunity Award in recognition of the group’s work to create a supportive environment for servicewomen through their breastfeeding journey.
The Network provides guidance on health issues, maternity leave, returning to work and how to overcome barriers in the workplace. The Network advocates for equality in the workplace for breastfeeding mothers to ensure they don’t fall behind on promotions, deployments and courses. The Network also offers guidance for the chain of command on how to maximise the potential of breastfeeding servicewomen.
Congratulations and best of luck to all of the very deserving nominees!
For further information about the Women in Defence Awards, please visit: www.womenindefenceuk.com