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'Innovation and Inspiration' - An audience with Air Marshal Sean Reynolds

On 30 November, Women in Defence which was hosted by PA Consulting, welcomed Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, Air Member for Personnel and Deputy Commander Capability in the RAF, to discuss ‘innovation and inspiration – how diversity & inclusion will enable Air Power'. 

In front of an audience of around 70 people, the Air Marshal answered questions from a Women in Defence panel, focussing on how his time industry had proven to him the value of diversity and inclusion.  

Opening his response the panel’s questions, he stated that "If what you want to do is innovate, then you need a really diverse group" and began speaking specifically about the value of creativity that diversity had brought during his time in industry. He hoped that with the new policies he was advocating for D&I, he would see a wider recruitment and retention of women and those in the BAME community.  

Acknowledging the challenges of getting the deployment and benefits balance right between Reserve and Regular employees, he said that whilst these would take a lot of effort and time to get right, he was keen to ‘nudge’ behavioural change towards attitudes D&I, emphasising that "you can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t have the people, it means nothing".

Having spent time with the government’s ‘nudge unit’, AM Reynolds now has D&I advocates throughout the RAF and is pleased to note that the RAF still leads in D&I amongst the other services. Commenting as to why that might be, he spoke of a long tradition of innovating both culturally and technologically in order to attest to their motto of ‘Rise above the Rest’. Finally, when asked what his message was to women who might want to join the RAF and those already serving he replied “Join, stay!”

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