Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women! We caught up with ADS’ New Professionals Forum (NPF) Chairperson, Charlotte Herbert, about the importance of this year’s theme and her vision for NPF this year.

Charlotte, tell us more about you and your career journey so far?

I graduated from the University of the West of England in 2020 with a degree in economics, including a placement year in Finance.

During my placement, I discovered that the sector wasn’t fulfilling for me, but I found a passion for working with people. After graduating, I joined Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) on their Project Management Graduate Scheme. This two-year programme allowed me to rotate every six months, gaining experience in various functions and departments. Despite starting the scheme during the challenging times of COVID, I can’t recommend it enough. The scheme provided incredible visibility to senior leadership, ample opportunities for professional development, and a supportive graduate community.

After completing the scheme, I transitioned to the Vertical Lift Business Unit in February 2022, where I continue to work. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about helicopters by the age of 26! In my current role, I am focused on transforming the sustainment solution for Apache and Chinook across the Rotary Wing Enterprise.

I feel fortunate to have been shortlisted for the Women in Defence 2022 emerging talent award, which recognises not only my contributions to my team but also my dedication to the Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership (BWIL) network.

In my free time, I enjoy staying active, particularly through running. Recently, I’ve taken up crossfit, which has been a great way to manage my stress levels. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys functional fitness combined with strength training.

What does the theme #InspireInclusion mean to you?

To me, the theme #InspireInclusion represents the power and importance of creating a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. It’s about going beyond mere representation and actively fostering a sense of belonging for individuals from all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Just as I discovered my passion for working with people during my placement year, I believe that true innovation and progress can only be achieved when we bring together a diverse range of voices and ideas. By embracing inclusion, we can tap into the collective wisdom and creativity of individuals who may have different lived experiences, cultural perspectives, and ways of thinking.

Creating an inclusive world for women is a crucial aspect of #InspireInclusion. It means recognising and addressing the unique challenges and barriers that women face in various spheres of life, including education, employment, leadership, and personal safety. It involves promoting gender equality and empowering women to fully participate and thrive in all aspects of society.

Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

What’s your vision for the New Professionals Forum this year?

I joined the ADS NPF last year as the first Boeing committee representative before being elected as the 2024 New Professionals Forum chair. My passion for this role stems from a belief in supporting and fostering a community for individuals, similar to myself, that are navigating the first phase of their careers. It’s important that we provide a space within the industry where like-minded individuals can come together to learn, develop, grow and occasionally express their frustrations.

In the coming year, our focus for the ADS NPF committee is to build on the foundation set by previous committees.

We have three main areas of focus:

  1. Personal development: We will support NPF members’ personal growth by organising themed webinar series that provide valuable insights and skills for professional success.
  2. Engagement: We will continue to foster engagement by organising both in-person and virtual events, ensuring that we cater to the diverse needs of our members. We are also exploring new avenues for engagement to create meaningful connections within our community.
  3. Community development: We are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment within the NPF community. We will actively promote inclusivity and community development to foster a diverse and safe space for all members.

If you want to be the first to know about our events or learn more about joining the committee, sign up as a member today!