Lisa Butler attended an Army Officer Selection Board whilst in 6th Form with the aspiration to become a Royal Military Police Officer. She had been told by many that her home and educational background were ‘not suitable for an officer’ and was delighted when she was encouraged by the board to return at a later date after ‘more life experience and educational gain’.
To get the life experience and education she needed, Lisa joined the Army in 1996 as a soldier and spent three and a half years in the Royal Military Police so she could gain what she considered to be an essential insight and understanding about what it was like to be a soldier, so that she could be a better officer.
She was first posted to Northern Ireland and spent a lot of her spare time at the Education Centre, studying for her A-Levels so that she could reapply to be an officer and was encouraged to apply to without completing any further education. Her potential was quickly recognised, and she passed the army officer selection board at the second attempt and started a 3 month academic and broadening course that would enhance her background knowledge and experiences in preparation for her time at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
She started her commissioning course in 1999 and at that time women and men trained in separate platoons and the BBC was filming 11 Platoon (the women's platoon) for a documentary which aired in 2000 called Guns and Roses. Lisa was one of those who agreed to be filmed and her previous experience as a soldier allowed her to do very well practically at Sandhurst although she admits, she had to work very hard to keep up academically.
Although Lisa had always planned on becoming a Royal Military Police Officer, during her time in Sandhurst she was drawn to the Royal Engineers and spent 8 years with them completing 3 operational tours, 3 overseas exercises and she represented the Corps in the first ever female Nordic skiing championships. She also featured on the BBC's follow up to Guns and Roses. She was a Troop Commander in a frontline Engineer Troop in Germany and again within a logistical Engineer unit in Ripon.
Lisa realised that her strengths were far more suited to an HR and management role in the long term, despite her love of being a Royal Engineer and she chose to transfer to the Adjutant General Corps (Staff and Personnel Support). She later returned to her roots and re-joined the Royal Military Police where she served for another 8 years.
After 18 years of service, Lisa decided to retire from the army. She felt strongly that her long-term role lay outside of the military and wanted to use her postnatal personal pelvic health journey, along with her wide experiences within the Army, to work with women and to help them feel confident and retrained as a specialist women’s exercise and wellness coach. She launched her business alongside a complete renovation of a 250 year old cottage.
When she reflects on her military career, Lisa believes deeply that the Army was the making of her. Being given the opportunity and support to reapply for a commission allowed her to exceed her own expectations of what she ever hoped to achieve.
The journey from her first failed officer selection board through to commanding her own company was not easy: she always had to run to keep up in the classroom and worked incredibly hard to meet the standards required to complete every training course. The Army has helped her develop her deep sense of resilience to keep going when the times are tough and has helped her to look forward and never doubt that there is a way through.
Her ability to identify several plans for an idea have been invaluable whilst building her business and her sense of self confidence in her ability to run her own business can be directly linked to her experiences in different levels of command. She is able to hold her ground in business meetings and is confident and delighted to meet new people in her new walk of life.