THRIVHER INTERVIEW: ROSIE PHELPS

Updated: May 21, 2018




Thrivher Achievements:

  • Was the first woman to work in her specific role in Intelligence for UK Joint Special Forces Aviation

  • Owned and sold her own successful Letting Agency business

  • Created and produced the innovative children’s cutlery brand Doddl with her sister



Thrivher Dive:

  • I can't start the day without: Breakfast, and then I'm set for the day.

  • Most effective productivity tool is: my fluorescent bright pink notebook.

  • Best read: The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ by Mitch Albom, it makes you think about the impact you have on other people.

  • Best book on business advice is: What Would Google Do?’ by Jeff Jarvis. Having come from military intelligence where you're really protective of information, to running a business, it was really helpful to apply the Google mindset of sharing intellectual property and being useful to people.

  • Non-negotiable: My mum-daughter time, and a little bit of me-time – be it a quick run or a soak in the bath.

  • Very first jobs: Working in a hairdressers (I was pretty good at sweeping up hair!) and being a lifeguard.

  • Top music track of all time: 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' by Simple Minds.

  • Mindfulness habit: Going out for a run in the fresh air.

  • Go-to for fun: Taking part in triathlons.



THRIVHER MOVES:


What first lead you to having a career in the military?

I studied politics, with economics and philosophy at university. I also joined the University Air Squadron (UAS) and learned to fly. I hadn't really thought much about joining the military before a friend of my Dad's suggested it to me. I get really seasick but I really fancied flying so wanted to give it a go. At the time the University of York had banned the UAS from attending Fresher’s Week, so luckily for me, I managed to get an interview through my connections and I was selected to join them.


I spent my weekends flying, which was pretty awesome. I really did want to be a pilot but I suffered terribly with air sickness and I didn’t pass RAF aircrew selection. This was a huge disappointment for me. However, I wasn’t ready to give up on a career in the military. At the time I was writing my dissertation on the Balkans conflict, and the RAF offered me a role in intelligence, which is what I ended up doing.



What were your biggest takeaways from your military experience?

I was really lucky in that I ended up being the first woman to do my job, which was working in intelligence for the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW). A lot of the special forces units we supported didn’t want a woman in that environment, so I had to really battle against that constantly. I had to prove myself over and above what a guy would have to do every time, and then the squadron would change over, and I'd have to start all over again. It took a long time, but eventually they got to know and trust me.


The great thing about the military is the amount of adventures you can have while at work, and I discovered it would challenge me mentally and physically. I really enjoyed that aspect.



I had to prove myself over and above what a guy would have to do every time, and then the squadron would change over, and I'd have to start all over again.