Guest zoom speakers for Manchester ACF

By Colonel Catherine Harrison

We have hosted three sessions to date, all open to cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers from across the ACF in the North West of England. The PRO’s have worked collaboratively to ensure the events were accessible to all and on every session, we have had cadets from across the Region. In fact, we’ve recently received an email from a cadet’s mum in Cumbria expressing her thanks for letting her daughter attend. She said ‘I have listened to them with my daughter and I feel it was amazing and she really found the speeches helpful and outstanding‘. All of our guest speakers have brought a different perspective to the cadets. The hour-long sessions included a brief introduction by me, where cadets were encouraged to introduce themselves in the zoom chat function and pose questions through that mechanism too. We have found this to be a really effective way to encourage the cadets to get involved and stay involved. The guest speaker then talk for about 20-30 minutes and then we open up the question and answer session and that takes us up to the hour. 

Firstly, we had Capt Voirrey Walsh (who was a cadet in the Isle of Man) and she spoke about her journey from cadet to regular officer to reserve officer and her complete change of career. The particular takeaway from Capt Walsh was how she effectively used her values to drive her career choices. 

We then had Command Sergeant Major (WO1) Dean Morgan who generated lots of interest about his operational and leadership experiences. He talked about the importance of purpose, team goals, learning from role-models and looking after each other, all of which resonated with the cadets.

Recently, we’ve had Col Neil Jurd, Director of ACF Initial Officer Training and he took us through the ups and downs of his military and civilian career having started as a cadet in South East London. He shared a number of aspects of his approach to leadership development reminding us of the importance of having a clear and compelling purpose and the impact of positive and negative leadership. Most importantly, he talked about being true to yourself. 

We’ve got two more sessions planned in and there may well be more to come. I am particularly grateful to the PRO for Greater Manchester ACF, SSI Debbie Callaghan, for her work in finding, coordinating and promoting these events. We are lucky to have her!

Reserve Forces