Symposium 2016: Be open to change during your transition

How do you ‘lead yourself’ during a period of change? What value can you give to people? What’s your vision for the future?  Just some of the questions explored at the OA’s London Symposium, where officers in transition gained an insight into new careers and met employers who are actively recruiting.

At our busiest symposium to date, nearly 200 people attended to find out more about opportunities in a variety of sectors – from infrastructure and transport, facilities management, not-for-profit and financial services. Speakers included Danielle Fullwood from the NHS, Chris Ackerman from Network Rail, and Kevin Miller from Carillon.

As challenging as transition can be, it’s a change that many have embraced successfully. Connor Allen, formerly of the Royal Engineers, attended the symposium only last year – within that time he has found a fulfilling career within consultancy. Lyn Webb transitioned from the RAF into Deloitte where she is now a Senior Manager in Corporate Security.  Some of the ‘clear transferable skills’ she discussed were commitment to client confidentiality and the ability to look after data effectively. Simon Feaver talked about his career in project management at Nationwide, where he has cemented his leadership and management style in an environment where you always need to have a contingency plan in place.

The event featured LinkedIn expert Lincoln Coutts as well as Nigel Hughes, Director of Leadership at Maynard Leigh Associates. Nigel specialises in leadership development through behavioural change and uses a unique mix of theatre skills and tools to motivate his audience – skills he developed his 20-year career in acting. He discussed how change is an opportunity to leverage creativity, whether you’ve initiated it or it’s been thrust upon you.

Two key messages were; Become your own expert in leading change through self awareness and identify who you are and where your purpose lies – remember, uncomfortable feelings instigated by change can be a catalyst for transformation and always ask yourself ‘what makes you ‘you’ and what value can you bring to an organisation?


Thomas Coker, attending his first OA event said: “The OA is a reassuring presence throughout any individual transition journey. As well as providing practical support and insight into essential job search tools, such as LinkedIn, they deliver an encouraging message – that there is a wealth of opportunity in the civilian world and that our skills are required, and valued across a wide range of sectors.”

Head of OA Employment Services Liz Stevens said: “We would like to thank our speakers and everyone who attended. We hope that the positive and upbeat atmosphere of the event continues to inspire our attendees, wherever they are in their transition journey. And a big thank you to Deloitte for hosting the event, and for their continued support.”