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Meet the judges: Maria Byford 

Air Vice-Marshal Maria Byford KHDS, COS Personnel & Air Secretary, Royal Air Force

Air Vice-Marshal Maria Byford was appointed Chief of Staff Personnel and Air Secretary in February 2020. She joined the Royal Air Force in 1991, following graduation from Kings College London with a Bachelor in Dental Surgery and for the first half of her career looked after her patients in dental centres and military hospitals across the globe. She was appointed Queen’s (now King’s) Honorary Dental Surgeon in December 2016.

Leaving clinical delivery behind, Air Vice-Marshal Byford has since served in a wide variety of command and staff appointments across Defence and on operational deployment, always with a strong focus on people. Aligned with her role as the RAF Deputy Diversity and Inclusion Champion, she is passionate about fair, transparent and inclusive treatment of the Whole Force. An ardent supporter of Women in Defence, Air Vice-Marshal Byford is very proud to be an ambassador for the everywoman network, and was delighted to accept the invitation to become the Defence Hindu Network Champion in June 2021.

She is married to Alistair, a retired Air Commodore, and they have 2 grown up children, Will and Charlotte. Together they enjoy skiing, sailing and spending time at their holiday home on the Suffolk coast.