View profile Heledd Kendrick CEO and Founder View profile Melanie Bradley Career Academy Director View profile Ella Mountney Chief Innovation Officer View profile Cerise Upham Client Engagement Manager View profile Rebecca Hopwood Coaching & Mentoring Programme Manager View profile Emma Owen Executive Assistant to Directors View profile Angela Eaves Resourcing Manager View profile Rusila Halofaki Resourcing Lead View profile Chris Keen Marketing & PR Manager View profile Kim Williams Marketing & Business Development Coordinator View profile Alex Aldhous Operations Manager View profile Joe Clarkson Marketing & Communications Assistant View profile Paula Edwards Business Support View profile Kerry Fernley Payroll Manager View profile Humaira Rahbin Writer 1/15 Heledd Kendrick CEO and Founder Heledd founded Recruit for Spouses in 2011 when, with a new posting, a young family and a serving partner she recognised a need to provide support and agile working opportunities to a much forgotten pool of talented individuals – military spouses. She has worked tirelessly since. Raising the profile of this underemployed group and providing real opportunities to get them back into work. What advice would you give your younger military self? To approach everything with so much more positivity. What inspires you about working at RFS? The quality and quantity of skills the spouses have. What has been your proudest moment? Helping Rusila Halofaki into work. Her back story as a Fijian wife, moving around the world, underemployed and anxious. Getting her back into work at a level she deserved felt like a historical moment – not only for Rusila but for Foreign Commonwealth spouses who were struggling for so long. 2/15 Melanie Bradley Career Academy Director Having been a military spouse for 22 years, I understand both the challenges and opportunities that this lifestyle brings. Since starting out in engineering, I have discovered whole new worlds of experience and opportunity, mainly in the not for profit sector. I ran a small charity building schools in Afghanistan for 14 years and am still involved in several different Afghan projects in training and education. Project managing international WW1 commemoration project ‘Shrouds of the Somme’ took up 3 years of my life and was a totally unique opportunity to be part of something very special. I have been involved with SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity for many years and currently manage a local team of caseworkers supporting the veteran community in Somerset. Being a director for RFS’s Career Academy has been hugely inspiring and I love being part of their journey to bring new opportunities to military spouses. What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Don’t be afraid to change direction and try something new, there is a world of opportunity out there. What inspires you? Amazing people (not celebrities!) What has been your proudest moment? Working with an incredible Afghan doctor (one of my inspiring amazing people!) to build a school for 3,000 children, including 1,200 girls in Helmand, Afghanistan If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Nadia Nadim – the Afghan footballer 3/15 Ella Mountney Chief Innovation Officer I joined RfS in 2015 as a military spouse and mum who had sacrificed her career to support a military lifestyle. Determined to rediscover my identity, purpose, self confidence and financial independence I found myself embedded with a tribe of women who shared my values and vision. Over six years later, and having qualified in life, mindset, CBT, NLP and PTSD recovery coaching, I pride myself in being a single mum who wakes up every day ready to make the magic happen for our diverse and unique community. Alongside my incredible team, we work tirelessly to educate ourselves and our employers, empower our members and eradicate stigmas. What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? That this too shall pass. The moments of loneliness, the panic, the sense of loss of self – they are all just a few puzzle pieces that will make sense further down the line. Your struggle will become someone else’s survival guide. Additionally, those are the best moments to reach out to us at RfS, your tribe is waiting for you. What inspires you? People speaking up for what they believe in. People who refuse to dull their own light to keep others are comfortable. But equally, people who understand and believe that if all they did today was breathe, they achieved. What has been your proudest moment? Every time I have had to be brave. Whether in my personal life or on a professional platform, feeling the fear, having faith, and doing it anyway. Still here, still thriving, still growing, still healing, still learning. If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Mel Robbins, an incredible business woman who dragged herself back from the brink of disaster through changes in mindset and behavioural patterns. Our minds are incredibly powerful and the infinite possibilities that are available once you harness that authentic power are outstanding. She also shares my sense of humour and struggle with procrastination and imposter syndrome. Name one of your transitional skills and how it improves your working day? There are a number of times in my life where I have had nothing and have had to a) start from scratch and b) ask for help. Our academy evolves constantly and many times myself and the team have had to look at a metaphorical brick wall and a blank canvas, transitional skills discovered through life lessons have taught me to use these moments for reflection, to dream big, get excited, reach out and then take action. 4/15 Cerise Upham Client Engagement Manager A little more about Cerise: What has been your favourite posting? Kenya, we had been waiting for this posting for ages, It is where I was born and grew up so it was like going home. My kids got to grow up there from babies. The sun, wildlife, traditions, cultures, food and people. It was heartbreaking to leave! What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Never get excited about the military plan for postings. It will be plan A or B …however, don’t let your guard down at plan C as it will only go back to plan A or they will create a whole new plan D ! What inspires you? My best friend, I look at her and it will put my life back in perspective when things get hard. She is a farmers wife so helps out on the farm up at the crack of dawn, never sees her husband either, runs a post office and she’s a Community nurse and a mum yet she still gets up every day and ploughs on. She will always strive for the best and always puts others before herself. Absolute wonder woman! What has been your proudest moment? Running a marathon in Lewa 5/15 Rebecca Hopwood Coaching & Mentoring Programme Manager I am now a ‘veteran’ spouse after my husband retired from the Royal Engineers after 16 years. In 12 years of moving around together we moved 9 times so I really understand the challenges of trying to have a career and a good family life! I got involved with RFS after I took a step back from my HR career after having our first daughter, I had started my coaching qualification and had started a small business CV writing with military spouses. Heledd heard about what I was doing and encouraged me to apply for a role here. That was in 2016! I now manage all of the people involved in either of the programmes so that includes speaking to all of the military spouses and the coaches and mentors! I am the one stop shop for everything coaching related! What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Keep being yourself, trust your instinct What inspires you? The spouses I speak to every week never fail to inspire me. Even after doing this job since 2016, at least one spouse a week blows me away with their story of resilience and determination. What has been your proudest moment? Professionally- most recently we received an increase in sponsorship from BAE for the coaching programme as a result of years of hard work and determination If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Ooh good question! How about the Queen? 6/15 Emma Owen Executive Assistant to Directors I served as an Army Officer for 8 years with postings in Brunei, Germany and UK with operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the past 15 years, I have been a proud military spouse. I am now enjoying a new career as an Associate VA which fits well alongside being a military spouse and Mum. With a focus on digital competency, new challenges and flexible working. What advice would you give your younger military self? The advice I would give a younger military spouse is ‘go with the flow’ and do not plan too far ahead as it will change. Postings are new chapters of the book and just be adventurous – it’s an amazing life. What inspires you about working at RFS? I inspire to be a lifelong learner, never give up and always stay positive. What has been your proudest moment? My proudest moment was being awarded the Physical Training Prize during my Officer training at RMAS. 7/15 Angela Eaves Resourcing Manager After I met my husband, I changed jobs due postings and I worked for a utility company, advising customers in debt and a domestic violence organisation too. Once kids came on the scene, my career took a back seat and in 2018 when I was ready to focus on “me” again, my friend told me about RfS and it was like a breath of fresh air to hear that someone backed military spouses and believed in our value. That same year, I joined the first cohort for the Liquid Workforce Academy and trained to be a Sourcing Specialist, my first steps into recruitment and I’ve not left recruitment since! What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Embrace the change and the unpredictability of military life – you often feel like you have a 3rd person in the relationship but the unexpected often brings a blessing in disguise (maybe not straight away or immediately obvious). And accept the fact that you’ll get less wardrobe space out of the two of you! What inspires you? The military community – as cliché as it sounds, the spirit, the selflessness and the resilience is inspirational. I feel very lucky to have been part of it for the last 13+ years. What has been your proudest moment? A skydive to raise money for a Forces charity but most recently, I’ve been extremely proud of us as a family and taking everything in our stride during uncertain times, juggling home schooling, a house move, endless hours of DIY (the kids included) and my husband finishing his 24 year career in the army to work for the NHS. 8/15 Rusila Halofaki Resourcing Lead Bula! (Hello in Fijian) I’m Sila and I’ve been a military spouse since 2009 coming from Fiji and now living in our 8th home – just goes to show how much my career has been at the back burner since I arrived. I’ve been truly fortunate and blessed to have come across RfS in the little Hive office I walked past by chance 4 years ago in Grantham and placed into the first cohort of the Liquid Workforce. Since then I’ve never left recruitment and just over the moon to be back with RfS and being part of this team of resilient super women! As a Foreign & Commonwealth spouse, RfS has been everything and more to me professionally in my development and growth, and giving me the confidence to pursue bigger and better opportunities for the F&C military spouses. What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it! Take more risks and be open to integrate and appreciate the new seasons life throws you all the time in this ever changing military world. You only get to do life once, make it count! What inspires you? The military spouses in the Foreign & Commonwealth community – their struggles, their fears, their challenges in adapting to the new country and its way of life are what I can relate to. Listening to them motivates me to work harder to at least make a little difference in their lives through Recruit for Spouses. What has been your proudest moment? Being part of Cohort 1 that started the Liquid Workforce for Recruit for Spouses 4 years ago and coming back to be part of the RfS team. I’ve come full circle now joining up with the Recruitment team and every single day, returning the right talent back into a professional workspace with our team just makes me very proud knowing each day we are making a difference for someone. On a personal level, becoming a mother to my son Jaden is my proudest moment as well. Knowing I’m worthy of bringing life into this world makes me so proud and blessed. If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Baroness Patricia Scotland – Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations. Having emigrated to the UK as well and successfully navigating her way through the legal and political arena, it’s her voice of encouragement and inspiration that the Foreign & Commonwealth spouses need to hear. 9/15 Chris Keen Marketing & PR Manager My working life has mostly been within the creative industries, presenting radio and TV all around the world, however when I decided to give up my broadcasting career and follow my Army wife, I ventured into marketing and public relations. It’s something that goes hand in hand with the creative industries and without me realising is something I’ve been doing my whole career. My role with RFS is never boring, every day brings a new challenge and I’m loving every second of it! What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Make sure that you enjoy it and be a yes person! What inspires you? My family inspires me. Every single one of them are so supportive of what I do and are always there if I need them. What has been your proudest moment? Landing my first proper radio job. It’s a hard industry to crack into, so when I was offered a show on a leading radio station that had tens of thousands of listeners I was pretty blown away! If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Will Smith 10/15 Kim Williams Marketing & Business Development Coordinator I became a military spouse 16 years ago and I never thought it would have such a huge effect on my career. Working around my children’s schedule and husband’s deployments was a real struggle, I felt there were so many jobs that weren’t an option for me. In 2019 I went along to a Career Fair our Garrison had arranged and that’s where I met the Recruit for Spouses team! I knew right then I wanted to help other spouses in the same position as me. What advice would you give your younger military self? Don’t sweat the small stuff and meet as many people as you can. What inspires you about working at RFS? All the wonderful spouses I come into contact with every day. Their unique and individual circumstances that bring different hurdles to navigate when trying to build their careers What has been your proudest moment? I’m super proud of being a mum to 3 wonderful (most of the time) children. It’s the hardest job in the world but one that gives back daily. If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Lucy Wood – Client Operations Director at AMS. Lucy started with AMS in 2013 and has built herself a fantastic career. She has done it all working remotely from home as a military spouse and I want to know her secrets to success! 11/15 Alex Aldhous Operations Manager My career has been leading the operational teams running busy recruitment agencies so when the opportunity came up to work with RfS I leapt at it; I help Heledd and the team to do what they do best… supporting the incredible military spouses to get back in to work. What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? Embrace the adventure! What inspires you? My mum inspires me – my Dad is in the RAF so watching her manage everything that came with military life as well as maintaining her career as a nurse was hugely inspiring. What has been your proudest moment? Finishing the Edinburgh Marathon! I am not a runner but I trained hard and pushed through it and getting to the end of those 26.2 miles is something I am incredibly proud of! If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Richard Branson 12/15 Joe Clarkson Marketing & Communications Assistant I joined the RFS team in February 2022 following the completion of a Bachelors Degree in Politics and International Relations. Finishing education brought along the new challenge of finding employment in a role that would both interest, and challenge me. This is where RFS came to the fore. Being a child of a military family, with my mum serving for 8 years, and my dad still serving (and in his 34th year of service!), this role was one which immediately caught my eye. Seeing the struggles my mum went through in finding new jobs each time we moved, in a number of sectors and locations, the opportunity to work for a social enterprise with an aim to help military spouses gain employment was one which I could not miss, and I am proud and willing to contribute towards these aims wherever possible. My interests involve all things football, music and politics and am a keen cook and multi-instrumentalist! How did you hear about RFS? I heard about RFS initially through my mum who had attended a meet with Heledd in Leuchars, Scotland back in 2018. A number of military spouses had set up a working hub in a local community centre and Heledd came to talk about who and what RFS was, and what they stood for, and although she only told me this once I’d got the job, it shows that years later, spouses remember the name, and the good work that RFS does for the wider military community. What are you looking forward to most working for RFS? The opportunity to attend events and make an impact upon women and men seeking employment, and self-fulfilment. I feel as if a big part of the military life involves the sacrifice of the career of the military spouse in order to maintain success in their personal career, and this is a stigma which I wish to help break. I would love to investigate the personal stories of spouses, and of their families. Life in the military can become all encompassing, and for some, overwhelming, and I am looking forward to helping wherever I can to help people find their feet, and their confidence through our work. What has been your favourite posting? Being sent off to a military boarding school at thirteen meant that, whenever possible, I stayed away to avoid the housework! However, a two year posting to Thorney Island near Portsmouth was one which I will always remember. The garden backed on to the beach and myself and my younger brother would take our (impulsively bought) kayaks on the water for a paddle into town most weekends. I also spent 7 years in Germany, four in Paderborn, and three in Fallingbostel. I loved the German culture, and one day aim to move back, despite my language abilities disappearing since I left! 13/15 Paula Edwards Business Support Hi, I’m Paula, a RAF spouse of 26 years, a mother of three amazing (almost grown up) children and a business owner. My team of Virtual Assistant support a variety of small businesses; I offer operations expertise to our clients and our VA course equips people wishing to join this industry with everything they need to know to get started and build and grow their own amazing business. I love working with Recruit for Spouses, helping with all things in the back of the business. I am a huge advocate for RfS as I have developed a great passion for empowering military spouses to create a fulfilling business for themselves that provides an excellent work life balance, without interruption, due to military expectations. What advice would you give to your younger military spouse self? I wish I had been braver to start my business earlier What inspires you? I am hugely inspired by business owners who are doing amazing work What has been your proudest moment? Apart from my husband’s and children’s achievements, I am very proud to supporting military spouses helping them to create a fulfilling business for themselves 14/15 Kerry Fernley Payroll Manager I have recently started to work for RFS as a Payroll Administrator on a part-time basis. I have a background in Administration and Customer Service, and I have been employed in various sectors during my working life. In recent years, I have completed my AAT qualifications and I was very happy to secure my position with RFS as it allowed me to gain further experience in collating payroll information. I have received a warm welcome from the ladies at RFS who are all friendly, enthusiastic and very committed to the ethos of the company. I have a busy family life and enjoy time with and without my children. I like to read, eat cake, go to the cinema and walk my dog. What inspires you? Doing a good job. Ensuring that staff feel supported in respect of payroll queries and understand the process. Providing accurate and timely information. What has been your proudest moment? The birth of my children If you could interview one person for the RfS podcast who would it be? Winston Churchill 15/15 Humaira Rahbin Writer Humaira Rahbin is a researcher, writer and commentator from Afghanistan. She holds an MPhil degree in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge. Humaira has worked for NGOs, the USAID and the Dutch diplomatic mission in Afghanistan in various roles. Her main area of expertise and interest is policy research.