Defence Inclusivity Award Finalists 2023

An award to honour the commitment and achievements of an individual, team or organisation in delivering greater diversity and inclusion within UK defence and the Armed Forces community. 

In partnership with Landmarc.

Introducing the Finalists...

Jodie Evans and Natalie Maddox-Hussain

Jodie and Natalie came together with a vision to build a network that tackled both diversity and inclusion in Defence in a collaborative, open, and imaginative way. They united a small but determined group of individuals, from varying ranks, grades and backgrounds, that shared their mission to make the change they wanted to see and the Defence Women’s Network was born.  

In just two years, Jodie and Natalie’s network penetrated the Defence sector. The initiative achieved an exceptional level of leadership, a drive to make a difference, and a deep passion for generating interest across the whole Defence workforce, inclusive of external organisations. With increasing membership numbers, extraordinary free events and tangible initiatives, Jodie and Natalie’s efforts accomplished a notable uplift in levels of engagement in the inclusivity agenda.  

Jodie and Natalie pledged to ensure the members of their network are equals, supporting and coaching one another to drive forward as a coherent whole, resulting in a positive, healthy environment throughout Defence. This ethos shines through in everything they do; whether it is encouraging participation and collaboration with wider networks or how they operate together as a volunteer committee – the results in just a short period are outstanding.  

Fighting With Pride

Fighting With Pride is a military LGBT+ charity that began as an anthology book, ensuring that the lives of LGBT+ veterans are not forgotten. The charity was launched on the 20th anniversary of the lifting of the LGBT+ ban in the military, recognising that despite the remarkable progress in the serving communities of the Armed Forces, LGBT+ veterans remained disconnected and largely unsupported outside the Armed Forces family. 

Fighting With Pride is a lived experience charity that has given a voice to its community. Despite the immense challenge of starting a charity during a pandemic, it has made its case with dignity and respect, and begun to wash away decades of shame felt by these once proud members of our Armed Forces. It has, in its vanguard of supporters, hundreds of veterans’ charities reaching across the whole of the UK. 

In 1999 these veterans stood alone at the European Court of Human Rights, but they are no longer alone in their mission to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant for LGBT+ veterans and celebrate their service as we do for all other former service personnel. 

Talula Grey

Talula Grey, the pen name of Bianca Robbins, is a Navy wife and mother of one. Her journey as an author began when her husband was deployed on a ship for most of the pandemic, leaving Bianca and her young son at home during lockdown. Then, straight from the ship, her husband was given a job in London where he deployed regularly with 48 hours’ notice, including to the Ukraine in January 2022. 

With her six-year-old son struggling to cope with his father’s absence, Bianca decided to take action by penning a kids’ book to support the emotional wellbeing of children with a parent in the Navy. She realised that very few of the existing deployment books explain to a child what their parents are actually doing that’s so important they have to miss birthdays, holidays and other important times, and fewer still focus on mums who work away. 

Talula Grey’s books, the ‘At Sea’ and ‘Aviator’ series support the emotional wellbeing of children with parents in the military and help children understand why their parents may be away from home, giving comfort to families with parents in the military. In particular, the ‘Mummy’ editions are relatable to different family types and they also help break down gender stereotypes, encouraging more girls to explore opportunities in the military. The stories are educational to all children and help to bridge gaps between people familiar with military life and those who are not, helping create a more understanding society.

Congratulate the finalists and join in with our celebrations on social media: #SoldieringOnAwards

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