Celebrating Azaria Coupe
At QinetiQ, we believe that our people really do make our company, and colleagues like Azaria Coupe are a great example of this.
Azaria, a self-proclaimed maths and physics enthusiast, puts her passion to good use by working as a scientist completing invaluable work within our radar capability. In addition to this, as a disabled, LGBTQ+ woman, she is also focused on supporting and empowering our diverse community here at QinetiQ and is a member of the JustLike-Q and Disability and Carers network committees.
Back in November 2022, we were absolutely delighted and extremely proud when Azaria won the Women in Defence Resolute Spirit Award. This is an award which recognises individual women who have the steadfast spirit to persevere whilst overcoming real adversity.
On winning the award, Azaria said: “It was probably the most surprising and amazing moment of my life.”
She continued: “The Resolute Spirit Award, and the fact that it exists means so much to me. Because of the amount of sick days I take I judge myself on not being able to contribute as much as I want, and I really do want to contribute, so sometimes I feel like my disability is getting in my way.
The award gives visibility to people like me that have had such a difficult struggle and are still showing up, are happy, and are making a contribution to the industry.”
Within her work, Azaria has not only proven herself to be an incredible asset to her team and to QinetiQ, but she has also been a central figure pushing for change within our diversity and inclusivity landscape.
A month after her incredible win, we were delighted to be able to sit down with Azaria to find out more about her, her experiences, and her insight into inclusivity.
“I am a Theoretical Scientist which mostly for me means programming maths, statistics, that sort of thing, in the Radar and Electronic Warfare group at Malvern QinetiQ”, Azaria explains.
“I came from a Particle Physics background so coming into radar was a fun new challenge but I’m still getting to sink my teeth into a lot of the theory stuff which I really thrive on.”
Earlier on in her career, Azaria completed a Masters and a PhD at Southampton University in Particle Physics, before finding her way to QinetiQ.
“My whole life, up to that point, I had planned to go into Particle Physics but as a disabled, queer woman I found the academia environment a little bit unworkable for me, a bit hostile, so I opened myself up to new opportunities.
I had a good number of friends who worked at QinetiQ and had good experiences so I was very excited to get an interview and I got offered the role and moved up here and it’s been brilliant.”
At QinetiQ, we are proud to have a number of employee network groups, an aspect of life at QinetiQ in which Azaria has been a significant figure. Using her personal experience, Azaria has brought change which has benefited our company and colleagues alike, such as changing our sick leave policy.
“I was a founding member of the Disability and Carers group, which is hugely important to me. We managed to make minor changes when it comes to the sick leave policy, such as explicitly saying in the instructions that you can use annual leave for sick leave if you want to.
I have also talked about incorporating diversity and inclusion into the recruitment process so hopefully little changes are happening there as well.”
As someone with invaluable expertise when it comes to creating an inclusive workplace, we asked Azaria to share her advice for leaders and colleagues in stepping up their inclusivity practices.
“Being an ally is really important and it’s also important to speak to people with different experiences to yourself whether it be through joining a network or having casual conversations with people like me who are open to speak about things.
Every time I see a leader with their pronouns in their email signatures I am so happy and so grateful but you do also have to be active in asking what you can do to help or just considering the perspective of someone who is disabled or a minority in any other aspect.
Even the smallest of conversations of acknowledgements can make the biggest difference.”
Once again, we would like to say a massive congratulations to Azaria on winning the Resolute Spirit Award and thank you for everything you are doing to make QinetiQ a more inclusive place to work.
Find out more about our approach to Diversity & Inclusion.