As I look back on my military career to date, I feel blessed to have been exposed to the people, places, experiences and opportunities that I have been. My 33-year journey from being a 16-year old junior soldier to commanding on operations as a company commander, battalion commander and group commander is not unique but has certainly moulded me into the person I am today. In my early years, running up hills and parachuting (including training jumps into Arnhem, Normandy and the English Channel) provided the high points. More latterly, the privilege, heartache, excitement and challenge of commanding soldiers in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan are the times that have stuck with me. I still think the exceptional highs and lows of operations brings out the very best in our people.
Having now spent the last 3 years as a committed Reserve soldier with a Regular background, and having set up my own company with my wife Amanda (Dragonfly Directors Ltd), the life-long learning experience continues. On the Reserve front, I’m impressed every week by the commitment and sacrifice that our Reserve soldiers make in balancing a full-time job with their family, their Reserve service, and any other extra-mural responsibilities they may have; as Winston Churchill is often paraphrased as saying – ’twice the citizen’. In business, when compared to my military experience, the number of people who fail to do what they say they will, when they say they will and to the standard they say they can is significantly high. For those serving, and for veterans in business, I’d offer two key insights from this. Firstly, be kind on yourself; the values, standards and personal discipline that comes so naturally to you is significantly greater than the majority of the population. Secondly, be choosy with who you work with; maintain your own personal standards, know your bottom line and pair yourself with organisations that recognise your strengths.
Engage is a company I’ve chosen on more than one occasion. They have an intimate understanding of the military mind, they operate as a team, they focus on high standards and they genuinely care about the customer. Each time I’ve worked with and for Engage, I’ve been enthused. Maybe no surprise that Engage have signed up to the Military Covenant, are Silver Award holders of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme and actively recruit a mix of quality individuals from both Industry and from within each of the three Armed Services.
So, as we approach Armed Forces Day and recognise the exceptional work of the men and women currently serving and of those that have served in the past, I’d like to thank Engage. Engage knows talent, spots talent and utilises talent from our Armed Forces and Veteran communities in a way that is quite exceptional. Keep doing what you do Engage!