We sat down with Stephanie Jackman, Deputy Commander (Reserves) of HQ 51 Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland to discuss her life, career and the importance of a good night’s sleep.
The British Army has always been a part of Stephanie’s life. Her father was a Major in the Army and growing up she moved around with the family. Born in Northumberland, she attended an all girls school in Suffolk, then studied at Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and is now settled in a small village near Biggar in South Lanarkshire.
With her father pushing for her to join the army she rebelled against it as a young woman, wanting to try other things. Previous jobs included working for a Seed Merchant, in recruitment consulting, in the mobile phone industry (before the boom), before settling on the Electricity Industry – none of which really challenging her quite sufficiently.
That all changed when an unexpected run in with a Territorial Army (TA) presentation whilst out on a hen night and the promise of a free beer, meant that the next day she was on a minibus to an assessment centre for selection to be an officer. This was at aged 25, slightly older than the usual new recruit!
A passion for travel coupled with a love of people meant that the very career she had rallied against, turned out to be the perfect one for her. In the 28 years she has been a part of the Army, she has excelled during her career and recently received an MBE in 2017 for her work on reviewing career management policy for Army Reserves.
‘My entire life is made up of things I never expected I would do’
While talking to Stephanie, her enthusiasm comes through in everything she does especially the changes that she can make to help inspire others and build their confidence. She sings the praises of the Army Cadets, the British Army’s Youth Organisation, demonstrating her firm belief that incorporating a bit of discipline, routine and fun into a child’s life is what makes a positive difference to them and she sees this regularly at first hand. Some Cadets have even saved lives in the Community due to the First Aid training they have received.
‘I’ve lost count of the number of teachers and parents who can’t believe the difference in a child after they have joined the cadets’.
She goes on to say of the Army ‘it’s about competence, not gender. In the Army, everyone receives an annual report and you are assessed on what you have accomplished’. A great believer in healthy body and healthy mind, she absolutely believes in the power of a good night’s sleep and exercise as part of your daily routine.
For her, life is about balance. While she works hard, Stephanie also enjoys the outdoor life, especially running and showing her dogs – 3 German shorthaired pointers and 2 Jack Russell Terriers. An early riser, she seems determined to pack as much as possible into the day and is a whirlwind of energy.
Before finishing our chat she confides, ‘when I was 12 I wanted to read the news and a few years ago I tried out for the speaking clock’. After being inspired by her for the past hour and with new career as a personal development coach on the horizon, this interviewer has no doubt that she will make a lot of women sit up and take notice when she speaks.
Top Tips for success
- Be honest with yourself, integrity is absolutely everything
- Believe in yourself. Your only limiter is what you are prepared to do
- Look after yourself. If you feel healthy in body then you will be in mind
- Don’t cut corners. Anything worth doing is worth doing well
- Get a good nights sleep
You can hear Col Stephanie Jackman speak at our next Live Event in Glasgow on 12th October.
Colonel S L E L JACKMAN MBE TD | Deputy Commander (Reserves) | HQ 51 Infantry Brigade & HQ Scotland | Forthside | STIRLING | FK7 7RR |