I hadn’t heard of Inzpire until I saw an advert on Jobsite for a part time Finance Assistant. I knew immediately it was the job for me and following an interview with Hugh at Costa Coffee in the M1 services near Nottingham, I arrived at Henley Towers 2 months later, ready for my introduction to the military world. It was all new and exciting, having previously worked in a Bank for 24 years. Instead of savings accounts, personal loans and mortgages, I was discussing the merits of fixed wing and rotary platforms and something called a GECO.
Our Support Services Manager Andy Blake did a great job of educating me in the ways of military life. Everything was colour co-ordinated and organised. Rules and regulations had to be followed and security adhered too. All of which fitted with my OCD tendencies perfectly and I soon felt right at home. I don’t think the guys in the office were too sure at first, as not only was I a woman in a male dominated company but I was also a ‘civvy’! I soon won them over, however, when they realised I could give as much banter back as they could dish out.
Nicknames are another area of military life that I quickly had to learn. It took me nearly 6 months to remember who “Flash” was and no one could tell me Tug Wilson’s real name. So, although we had 36 people on the payroll, I had 72 names to remember!
Everyone in the company made me feel very welcome, especially at my first Inzpire Christmas party where I was the only woman out on the town with 20 men. The military stories and constant banter were very entertaining and I always seemed to have a glass in my hand. This, I found, was to become a common theme on future nights out.
Following a very successful year, Inzpire was growing rapidly and the Head Office team had to move offices to allow for the expansion of Mission Systems. Andy, Rich Havercroft (Head of Support Services), Ian Robinson (Head of IT) and myself moved into our temporary office, affectionately known as ‘the garage’ where we remained for 7 months. Sarah, our Finance Director, arrived at Inzpire shortly afterwards and the plans to move into Landmark House were born.
Now, after a period of growth, the Finance department has 5 members. I have 11 female work colleagues across Inzpire and there are 102 people on the payroll. I have lots of fantastic work colleagues who I regularly socialise with. We have bonded over several glasses of Prosecco, Gin & Tonic and Cocktails. We have danced at a soul night and introduced our new employees to Lincoln’s “Home” nightclub. Unfortunately, I don’t have the video of a male colleague – who shall remain nameless – strutting his stuff at the 80s disco, but it was definitely a sight to be seen!
One of the things that I like about working at Inzpire is the way we are encouraged to get involved with all aspects of the company. I have met every member of staff and know what everyone’s job involves. On a recent visit to the Air Battlespace Training Centre at RAF Waddington I had the opportunity to fly a Typhoon Simulator and I am now an expert at doing barrel roles. I will hopefully be visiting Middle Wallop later this year to see how the Apache Helicopters compare! I have met several of our MoD partners and I am on first names terms with 1*s, Wg Cdrs, and Lt Cdrs. I have attended the DSEI exhibition in London and tested machine guns and tanks to see if we could use these when employees don’t submit their expenses on time. I have had the opportunity to attend several gala dinners and presentation evenings and learnt that the seat you are given on the Eurostar is not for sitting in. It is for your coat only, as you spend the entire 2 hour journey to Brussels standing in the bar. You are not allowed to drink tea, only Prosecco and Sambuca at 3am is not a good idea! Not everything is centred around alcohol however, as we have educational visits to disused WW2 airfields. I have had a golf lesson at Woodhall Spa and been on a spa day at Centre Parcs.
Finally, I have also had my worst fears played out at Alton Towers, as I was cajoled into going onto Oblivion. I do not like rollercoasters, so riding ‘Thi3teen’ straight afterwards was not my idea of fun, although Steven Brunning (Head of Legal and Commercial) said “this one was only tame”. Sorry Martin Rayon, I hope your hand has now recovered and yes, Al Whittle, that was me screaming but at the time it did help!
So, life in The Finance Team has been rather varied and fun over the last 5 years. Yes, we have spreadsheets and numbers coming out of our ears, but I do rather like this. I’d never created a spreadsheet until I came to Inzpire! We work hard and it always seems to be month end but the Inzpire ethos and people all make it worthwhile and yes, I do look forward to coming to work.
I like to think that I am a prime example of Hugh’s philosophy of believing in his employees and I’m thankful he gave me the chance to prove myself following our rather auspicious first meeting in a motorway service station.
Our image shows Marie on during her celebratory lunch for her 5 year work anniversary! L-R Agnieszka Kowalcyk, Sarah Stern, Marie, Dawn Rofe