Deborah Taylor is very familiar with this balancing act – her work as Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Fletchers runs parallel to her Reservist commitment as Commanding Officer 151 Regiment. She has worked with our Founder, Ren Kapur MBE, on a number of projects over the years, including the hugely successful Women 100 which celebrated a century of women’s contributions to the British Army. Ren comments: “Every so often you meet someone special who is a role model and you admire the things they do and how they go about doing them. This has been the case since I first met Debs Taylor in 2017. Thank you for your Service, Debs. Long may it continue.”
We asked Debs what Armed Forces Week means to her.
“It is an opportunity for all members of the services – Regulars, Reservists, Cadets, Volunteers, and Veterans – and the general public, to get together and celebrate the commitment we have as a nation to protecting our democracy. The Armed Forces are such a fundamental part of a democratic structure and whilst we have become much smaller organisations since WW2, it has become increasingly important to maintain strong links and good relationships with wider British society.”
Debs served 18 years as a Regular Officer in the Royal Logistic Corps before making a major change in her life:
“I served 18 years as a Regular Officer in the Royal Logistic Corps. At the time, I had three children and suddenly became responsible for the care of my Godparents for whom I was next of kin. It was very difficult to manage caring at both ends of the age spectrum and so I made a very difficult decision to leave the Regular Army. I knew about Reserve service and thought this would be a great way to continue having a military career.
“The day after I left the Regular, I stepped into my first Army Reserve role working as a Logistic planner in Army HQ. I started working just a day a week, using the rest of my time to care for children and Godparents. Over time I increased my hours as a Reservist and ended up working 4 days a week in various roles in the Reserve including The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and in Command of 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps.”
Debs describes her role as Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Fletchers as being akin to a Chief Operating Officer. She’s responsible for all administration, events, recruiting, and membership, as well as putting into action the decisions of the executive body. She believes these skills are very interchangeable with the Army as they concern organising, planning, and delivery. This led us to ask just what an organisation can expect when they have a Reservist in their employment?
“Normally it is the flexibility and the can-do attitude. Being in the Army is often about being faced with unprecedented or novel problems that you need to find a solution to. We train to think and act proactively, to think about different outcomes and how other circumstances may impact our plan. Army trained personnel often rehearse the planning cycle and therefore find it easy to apply to a broad range of situations including their civilian careers.
“They also understand leadership and teams, making them good people to work with. All Reservists have to undertake mandatory yearly training about health, wellbeing, diversity and values, and standards. It is a constant reminder of how to be healthy yourself and have better relationships with others. This type of training in the civilian world can be costly, so the added bonus is continuous professional development which comes free to the employer.”
Debs’ enthusiasm and sense of duty are as bright as ever, and her passion is more than evident. She shared these words for those considering joining the Reserves:
“Don’t hesitate, and don’t leave it too late. Lots of people feel they should leave it until children are older or they must concentrate on their main career but the Reserve is an excellent way of growing networks, skills, and having some great experiences along the way. It’s a great compliment to a civilian career.”
The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas. We salute them!
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Learn more about Reserves Day and Armed Forces Week here: www.armedforcesday.org.uk
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