The last of our THIS GIRL CAN Week Blogs: Sam Lumb!
1. Tell us a little about yourself including your current career and hobbies…
After trying numerous careers, I finally settled on one as a soldier in the British Army. I am five years in and enjoy the diversity, challenges and opportunities it offers. I get the opportunity to travel the world and work to achieve something that is rewarding. Don't get me wrong, there are days like any job when you think, 'well this was a bad choice', normally when you are cold and wet on exercise at 3am, but the good experience generally outweighs the bad. Having always been a team player, the Army affords me this passion to operate as part of a team in all kinds of situations from the UK, overseas tours, multi-national exercises to playing sport and representing the army on the field. My main hobbies remain the same as they were when I was in Aberystwyth so football and Rugby. I play at a variety of levels and have recently been selected for the Army rugby women's senior squad. This has been one of my rugby goals since I joined the Army and opens up the doors to play opposition such as Scotland, England, Germany, Spain not to forget the RAF and Navy.
2. Have you faced any challenges or barriers being a woman following your interests or career choice?
This is an interesting question. I work in a male dominated environment, probably more so than your average job. As with any job, the challenge is always to prove yourself. That you are capable of doing the job. That you are someone who can add value to the team. I work in a team where I fortunately use my brain to dictate my ability rather than how fast I can run (although I still have to pass all fitness tests). In my opinion, the Army really does pursue a belief that women add value to the army far beyond their gender difference. I think the biggest challenge is getting a uniform that fits properly!
3. Is there a particular woman who inspires you or has influenced your life?
This question always generates a mixed opinion from my choice but I have to say, Maggie Thatcher was the woman that I was in awe of. She was PM before my time and I know that much of what she did policy wise was controversial, but she broke the glass ceiling. When you dig deep into her life, how she evolved as a person in a world dominated by men, she truly gave everything. She was smart, capable, controversial and strong. She was everything I wanted to be. I'm still considering my future election campaigns for PM...
4. What would you say to other women who are thinking about entering into (career/interests stated) but are not sure if it is for them?
Just give whatever you want to do a go. There will always be a barrier but you just have to push outside of your comfort zone to see if it exists where you are. Chances are, someone you will work with will have had the same experiences and when these are shared, they allow the evolution of understanding to occur. Be strong and don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Educate yourself to the best of your ability so that you are armed for every eventuality and can't be referred to as 'the silly little girl' or other similar sayings. Push your own boundaries. Its only you telling you that something cannot be achieved. New experiences are often uncomfortable, but 9 times out of 10, they make us better for it.