My name is Amy Ennion, and I was nominated for the Special Award category.
I work for BAE Systems at their Electronic Systems site in Rochester, Kent. I am a senior Systems engineer and Systems and Optics Team Leader, so my role involves me defining, developing, integrating, validating and verifying complex systems.
I have worked at BAE Systems for 3 years, and I have been lucky enough to work primarily on our faster, leaner, development projects. I joined BAE Systems from a graduate scheme at QinetiQ where as a graduate research scientist she had worked on anti-drone technologies, counter-Improvised Explosive Device robots, and laser weapons.
At BAE Systems I joined the Augmented Reality Glasses project in its infancy and put all of my previous experience to use establishing an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) flying test facility at the Rochester site, becoming a subject matter expert, training engineers to become qualified UAV pilots, and overcoming significant hurdles- not in the least that our site at Rochester lies in between the two runways of a neighbouring airport!
I have also been working towards my engineering Chartership with the IET for the past 3 years, despite having graduated with a degree in Physics and only having 5 years of career experience. I’m pleased to say that I achieved this in November 2020, which meant that even though my formal education wasn’t in engineering, I achieved Chartership in the same time as a masters-level engineer would!
But the most significant hurdles I have had to overcome have actually been outside my career, my father has a very complex and ever-evolving terminal diagnosis, which due to its nature has meant my family and I have been through a 10 year rollercoaster of prognoses that only range from 1 month to 18 months each time. This has severely negatively affected my mental health, and I suffered a breakdown in early 2019 which saw me signed off work on compassionate leave.
When I found out I was nominated as a finalist, the shock and disbelief hit me like a freight train. I had honestly not expected to get through the shortlisting- all of the shortlisted nominees were able to get together on a virtual call and share our stories, and even at that stage I could barely comprehend that someone had read my proposer’s application and had even considered me in the same league as these other incredible women.
But then, that is the funny, and not so funny, and insidious thing about mental illness. I had achieved so much so far in my career, and my wonderful managers had had the belief in me to nominate me, and I had been shortlisted, and I still couldn’t see myself as deserving. This was a real kick up the butt for me, I finally recognised that I was still putting myself down and viewing myself as less-than. I’m working on this more actively now, and I will be forever thankful to my managers Helen and Pam at BAE, and to the WiD awards for this experience.
Pertinent information that might help?!