Meet the Team
I joined the team in 2022 as an Account Manager with a focus on our annual partnerships. With over 30 partners at the centre of helping WiD UK to achieve its goals, I have supported the roll out of the new 2023 partnership offerings. Outside of partnerships, I work with the WiD UK Charter as well as ensuring the smooth running of the behind-the-scenes operations here at WiD UK.
Jess Uppal - Civil Service Fast Stream
I am currently on secondment to the Women in Defence team from the Civil Service Fast Stream. During my time at WID, I wish to help affect positive change to ensure that the Defence Ecosystem is a better place for all.
As lead for the 2023 WID UK annual Awards programme, my role includes managing and processing the nominations and planning for the shortlisting event, which will help celebrate and recognise the achievements of those working in the defence of our nation. It is fascinating and inspiring to read about all the remarkable work that nominees have been part of, and I am committed to organising a short-listing event that will make attendees feel like the stars that they are!
Whilst studying STEM subjects, I seldomly saw females in these fields and it is an honour to be part of such an incredible organisation that promotes gender equity. When returning to the Civil Service, I will utilise the new skillset and knowledge that I have gained during my time at WID to inspire others and spread the word of WID.
Loren Barrett - Royal Navy
I was given the opportunity to work for Women in Defence UK as a secondee from the Royal Navy before beginning my final phase of flying training.
My role is to assist in managing the awards nominations and to help plan and operate the Comms campaign. This includes receiving and processing the hundreds of nominations that we receive for our yearly awards and getting to read all about the incredible people that work in Defence. The comms team also work to publicise our other events and work that go on throughout the year and work with our Partners to marry their objectives and needs with those of WID.
Being an aviator in the Royal Navy has already exposed me to some of the different challenges that women in our Armed Forces face. My time working for WID will provide me with the skills and knowledge to hopefully keep working towards the goal of gender equity in Defence where I can.
Beth Lloyd-Wright - BLW Studio
I am the Marketing and Comms Lead. I'm a creative and pragmatic senior digital marketing professional who, for almost two decades, has been helping organisations shape their approach to digital communications. I am the Director of my own boutique consulting business BLW. Studio, and have extensive private sector experience – most notably as Head of Social Media for PA Consulting, working across all sectors including Government and Defence. It is in this role I began working with Angela taking the annual WiD awards to another level by activating social media for wider engagement. For the last three years I have been working with a variety of B2B organisations helping them to upskill their digital presence and developing brands fit for the modern age. My work continues with WiD in 2023 in a wider remit to oversee all Marketing and Comms and get us ready for the next phase of growth in our organisation.
Outside of work I'm a keen ceramicist, pottery teacher and foodie.
Looking back over my years in defence, women have come a long way. Not only have our numbers and diversity increased, but there are more of us in senior positions and the types of roles we are occupying has expanded. It has been a lot of work carried out by networks, allies, champions, advocates and whole-force colleagues. Are we there yet? No. But I see us getting to the 30 by 30 ambition that The Women in Defence Charter aims for to improve gender balance in the defence sector, both public and private. That is why I am very thrilled to be on secondment with Women in Defence UK as the Lead for the new Critical Mass Programme.
I will design and lead a collaborative forum to build a community of leading practice with D&I practitioners, HR Professionals, women’s and gender networks from across the whole of UK defence sector to share challenges and, importantly, how they are over-coming those challenges. It may take some time to reach a critical mass of women in defence but having a critical mass of leading practice available across the sector should really help to move the dial. Our aim is that by building a critical mass of knowledge, we will help build a critical mass of women.
I am currently the Defence Gender chair and founding chair of The MoD BAME Women’s Kitchen Table. I am a Doctorate researcher on Race, Class and Gender in Civil Service progression. In my spare time, I live my best life in gardening, the muddier the better!