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BRNC meet Olympic Gold Medalist

21 October 2016
Staff and Cadets from Britannia Royal Naval College have heard first-hand what it takes to be an Olympic gold medallist.

The delegation of five was attending the Naval Servicewomen’s Network (NSN) annual conference where Helen Richardson-Walsh, a member of the successful Team GB women’s hockey team at the Rio Olympics, was one of the speakers.

Helen gave the audience, consisting of Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Maritime Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel, an honest account of her life experiences and the journey she has made through four Olympic Games, before she achieved her goal.

BRNC’s Lieutenant Commander Clara Hewitt, who works on the staff at the College, said:  “This was my first introduction to the NSN and I didn’t really know what to expect.  

I’m fully aware that as an Officer my team will include both male and female personnel, so I wanted to get an idea of the female perspective of being in the Royal Navy and future plans for greater integration in areas such as the Submarine Service and Royal Marines.

Midshipman David Musto

“It was definitely a positive experience and opened up some useful thought provoking discussions on areas such as effective team management and self-management. 

“The variety of people attending was inspiring, especially the informal conversations that happened around the conference.”

The NSN is a professional network for women and was established in 2013 to promote an inclusive culture, improve retention, encourage and enable individuals to achieve their potential and provide a positive contribution to shape future personnel policy.

The conference held at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, was also open to Civil Servants and representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Army and Royal Air Force. 

It aimed to continue the NSN’s mission to Share, Inspire and Empower delegates, centred on this year’s theme of Health, Fitness and Wellbeing. 

Other speakers included Commodore Inga Kennedy, Inspector General at the Headquarters of the Surgeon General.

Sub Lieutenant Molly Fuller, who has been in the RN for just a year, said:  “We’ve had some exposure to the NSN during our initial training here at BRNC, which I found really interesting so when the chance came to go to the conference I was keen to attend. 

“Commodore Kennedy was particularly inspiring and very easy to relate to.  My experience of the Royal Navy so far is that it is very inclusive.”

Another first time delegate was Petty Officer (PO) ‘Tash’ Hamilton who works at BRNC as Assistant Unit Security Officer  PO Hamilton has been in the Royal Navy for 11 years. 

She said:  “I enjoyed the panel debate.  As a mother of two young children with a service partner I am interested in flexible working.  The health and wellbeing focus for this conference was good too and very important for busy, working mums.”

The conference was open to both male and female personnel. 

Midshipman David Musto, who is currently undergoing his initial warfare officers training at BRNC, said:  “I’m fully aware that as an Officer my team will include both male and female personnel, so I wanted to get an idea of the female perspective of being in the Royal Navy and future plans for greater integration in areas such as the Submarine Service and Royal Marines.

“I found that most of the issues discussed were applicable to each gender, particularly those based around life-style and families. Overall I found it really useful.  About 25% of the audience were male and I would urge others to engage with the network in the future.”

The Royal Navy was recently named as a leader of workplace gender equality, featuring in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2016. 

Organisations in the Top 50 have demonstrated that gender equality is a key part of their business strategy, with a consistent commitment to creating workplaces and cultures that are inclusive of women from entry level through to senior leadership.   

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