Home-grown Inspiration

14 June 2024

“Personal improvement doesn’t stop mid-career and I appreciate Leonardo for recognising this.”

This approach to personal development is what has seen Adele Marjoram – Canada GSM Programme Manager for Leonardo’s UK Helicopters business – be Highly Commended in the ‘Most Committed Mentee of the Year’ category of the 2024 ‘Inspired by Mentoring’ awards.

The awards form part of the Women in Defence UK mentoring programme which facilitates mentoring for those working across the defence public and private sectors. Mentees gain invaluable external feedback and perspectives from people with quite different experiences and background, but an in-depth knowledge of the sector.

For Adele, the Women in Defence mentorship superseded her participation in Leonardo’s international Springboard development programme, designed to empower women across the organisation.

“I completed the Springboard programme early in 2023”, says Adele. “Such company-supported programmes, together with internal mentors and champions, have enabled me to continually take steps to develop my career over my 26 years with Leonardo, moving into a new area of the business and now into my first management role.”

Adele was matched with the one of the programme’s mentors Kev Beresford, a Master Aircrew (MACr), based RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire where, as a Part-Time Volunteer Reserve (PTVR) on 622 Sqn, he is the Station Human Factors Training Manager. Over the period of the mentorship, Kev worked with Adele to help achieve her goal of promotion to a management role.

As her mentor, Kev was impressed from the start. “Adele has progressed brilliantly this year,” he said, reflecting on their time together. “From the outset, she ensured great engagement with me as her mentor, and at all times I found her eager to learn and try new ideas but with some super insights as well. She very quickly assimilated ideas that we discussed and despite being very busy she's made some terrific inroads towards her goals.

“I suggested she travel to RAF Brize Norton last December to observe a leadership day that I was running. She was eager to do join, immersed herself in the day, and sensibly circulated around the different exercises to observe different leadership styles, learning how to achieve team cohesion           .

“Her promotion at work has seen her take on a range of new challenges to which she's applied herself brilliantly, (she's now in a leadership role but also with a different portfolio), even though she's often out of her comfort zone which comes with this new territory.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my Women in Defence mentorship,” says Adele. “Kev has been incredibly supportive through my transition into my first management role, offering unending advice and guidance. The majority of our meetings took place on Teams. However, we were fortunate enough to be able to arrange visits to each other’s sites, which was beneficial for me and interesting for Kev to visit Leonardo in Yeovil, the Home of British Helicopters.

“I am more grateful to Kev than he will ever know – for the support and leadership expertise he’s been able to share with me over the last nine months, and the time he dedicated to me. Kev has an image, mnemonic or story for every occasion, all of which create interesting discussion points and memorable learning tools. We’ve formed a lovely friendship that extends beyond this programme and we’re staying in touch to enjoy a latte together again very soon.”

Kev is equally as complementary of Adele. “Adele has been a delight to be on this journey with. Always friendly, easy to engage with, thoughtful and keen to grow and embed what we've discussed together.

“I'm pleased to say we've both agreed to remain friends after the programme ends.

“A top lady!”

On announcing Adele’s commendation, Women in Defence UK said: “We have received a phenomenal response for our awards this year, and Adele’s nomination truly stood out. The judges were impressed with Adele’s immense dedication, and most importantly, how wonderfully she embodied the spirit of this mentoring programme.”

On being Highly Commended for the Most Committed Mentee of the Year Adele said: “I would like to thank the Women in Defence programme for introducing this innovative approach to mentorship and my company, Leonardo, for my inclusion, and their full support and encouragement to invest in myself.

“I can promise this is already making a difference in the way I work, and the interactions within my team.”