Captain Ellie Ablett MBE – The daughter of an RAF Officer, I read Modern History at Somerville College, Oxford and joined the Royal Navy in 1993, in the first wave of women joining a fully integrated service on the closure of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Over the last 24 years, I have enjoyed a career as a Logistics Officer at sea and ashore, rising to the rank of Captain where I have held two prestigious roles – Secretary to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy and Commanding Officer of HMS RALEIGH, the Royal Navy’s Initial Training Establishment at Torpoint in Cornwall; I am the first woman to hold these roles. During my career I have served at sea on board the aircraft carrier HMS INVINCIBLE, the Amphibious Assault Ships, HMS FEARLESS and HMS BULWARK, the frigate, HMS BRAVE, and the Type 42 Destroyers, HMS EDINBURGH and HMS NEWCASTLE. In an increasingly joint working environment, I deployed on an operational tour in Iraq in support of a 3-star Army General and UK military personnel serving in Baghdad. Ashore, highlights have included provision of executive support to the Senior Officers, policy development for pay, allowances and pensions, managing the implications of Defence-wide change programmes on people and supporting international partnerships and planning for the UK contribution to operations in Afghanistan. A graduate of the Advanced Command and Staff Course, I achieved a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College London and was awarded a Cormorant Fellowship for academic excellence. In 2014 I was one of 12 senior officers selected to represent the UK at the US/UK Rising Leaders’ Forum in Washington, DC. A keen interest in promoting effective talent management and an inclusive culture across the organisation led me to found a professional network for women in the Naval Service in 2013, which I still lead as it goes from strength to strength. I was honoured to receive the MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List. I’m married to and supported by Simon, a former Royal Navy Weapon Engineer Officer, who now runs his own outdoor sports coaching and guiding business. I too have a passion for the outdoors and enjoy hiking, cycling, sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, and spend any remaining spare time in my garden.