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Celebrating Women in Defence


Ahead of this week's awards, we speak to our own Dr Sam Healy, winner of last year’s ‘Special Award’, about her experiences.

Dr Sam Healy

Dr Sam Healy, Group Director Corporate Responsibility, was one of the fantastic winners at last year’s Women in Defence Awards, collecting the ‘Special Award’

Ahead of our sponsorship for this year’s awards, we caught up with Sam on her experience last year and her involvement in the 2018 competition.

What work were you nominated for in last year’s awards?

In 2013 we launched The 5% Club, aimed at encouraging UK companies to invest in the next generation by ensuring 5% of their workforce was made-up of apprentices, graduates and sponsored students. From launch I ran the campaign and was responsible for growing the membership, running events and raising the profile.

The campaign captured people’s interest and really took off. More recently we set up a board, recruited a full time employee, started publishing thought leadership papers, and obtained charitable status. We now have well over 300 members from all over the UK, reflecting a wide variety of sizes and sectors. It’s been the most incredible experience! I had never run a national campaign before but with the support and encouragement of some wonderful colleagues here and in the other 5% Club members, it has been more successful than we could have imagined.

How did it feel to win the Special Award?

I was so proud to have been selected and really touched at the thoughtfulness of colleagues who nominated me. I am incredibly fortunate to love what I do and to be recognised with such a prestigious award is really special.

Can you tell us more about what you do?

As Group Director Corporate Responsibility, I am responsible for our Corporate Responsibility (CR) strategy, delivering a range of initiatives covering subjects such as ethics, diversity and inclusion, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach, and environmental programmes such as the Carbon Disclosure Project. As well as The 5% Club, I am also on the Board of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), focused on the continued professional development of CR practitioners. I love the variety of my role and the opportunity to work with people across the QinetiQ Group and industry networks.

If you were judging the category, what would you be looking for in a nomination?

I think it’s important to recognise people who have inspired those around them and who are driving positive change in the defence industry. It was great to attend the shortlisting event last month and meet some of the nominees for this year’s awards; there are some outstanding achievements being celebrated. If you work with some who is inspirational, I would really encourage you to nominate them for a Women in Defence award next year (look out for reminders in June).

Why is it important to support Women in Defence?

It’s a great way to create role models who inspire others. Within QinetiQ we are fully committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce, where our differences are not only embraced but make us stronger. Supporting an event such as this is something we’re really proud of as is promotes and celebrates the important role women play in the defence industry. What’s particularly great is that we are sponsoring a new award for innovation. Its core to our own strategy and also recognises the strong link between diversity and innovation.

If you would like to find out more about our diversity and inclusion programme please contact Sam.