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A day in the life of a Deputy Director

This International Women’s Day, we’ve interviewed a senior leader at UK NACE to help shine a light on the vital contributions women make to national security and keeping our country safe and secure. Read on to find out more about her career at UK NACE.

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your role at UK NACE? What is a typical day like for you?

I’m a Deputy Director in UK NACE, responsible for the outreach to academia and industry to find Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) that help us build knowledge and capability.

A typical day involves reviewing all current live projects and addressing the actions. This includes anything from reviewing interim reports; re-routing commercial issues and making dates for visits to all of our universities and partners. It also involves sourcing new opportunities for UK NACE and figuring out how to make them happen. Liaising with other government departments is a regular occurrence. We collaborate with them on many areas of mutual interest and they are a great source for advice and innovation.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What inspired you to work here?

I enjoy the creativity and authority to go looking for opportunities to make us the best National Technical Authority. The diversity of the work I do means I am never bored and I have the freedom to shape the role, I also work with a fantastic team who share the same values.

I was inspired to work here, because of my background in national security, an area in which I’ve always felt I am making a difference for the UK. The UK NACE team are just so inspiring. They are dedicated people, embracing diversity, newcomers and always willing to try something different to achieve the mission. It makes me proud to be part of something so important.

What are some of the challenges you face?

I think my challenges are not having enough resources to cover everything, this includes funding and people. This is probably symptomatic of the civil service as a whole. A second problem is transferring our research outputs into capability – however we are succeeding in some areas simply because of technical maturity of the work and working closely with other government departments, who are so generous with their input. The key to overcoming a challenge is to never give up.

It’s great to see more women in STEM careers. Can you name a female leader/expert that inspires you and tell us why?

This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many fantastic women working in the sphere of national security and who I aspire to be like. For that reason, I will not name these individuals to protect their privacy, however, I was particularly inspired by a senior female police officer working in the CT command of the Met Police and her ability to command respect, whilst doing the most difficult job with pure professionalism. She simply gets on with it, makes it look easy and never looks for recognition, but we are all safer because of her – and she is a great person too!

I am also inspired by Dame Cressida Dick and her ability to navigate the most complex events in policing with pure humility and compassion. She always had a calming effect when walking into a room, you just knew everything would be OK.

Any top security tips you’d like to share? Or career advice?

Always choose a role that interests you, don’t ever be mundane and ordinary. Careers are a journey and not necessarily a destination. You change as a person and you will need new things to inspire you and keep you focussed. Learn from your peers and work with the wider community in which you operate because sometimes that’s where the next opportunity will come.

Security advice? Well I would say be mindful of potential risks and find ways to avoid them. There is lots of advice out there, please read it and feel empowered by safety and knowledge.

Interested to find out more? Visit our careers website to explore our current job opportunities or sign up for job alerts. Read the latest news from UK NACE here.

Further links

  • UK NACE Operations

    We protect against technical espionage and prevent organisations’ information and premises from compromise.