International Men's Day 2018
International Man’s Day celebrates the worldwide positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. It sets out to highlight positive role models as well as raise awareness of men’s well-being.
In celebration of this day, we hear from a number of men within the MBDA community who are leading by example. Whether it’s in relation to diversity, charitable work or setting examples for a better work-family balance, we are incredibly proud of the men within the organisation who are doing great things for today and the future.
Howard Borrington - LGBT pride
“I am MBDA UK’s Director of Government & Political Affairs and have just clocked up 32 years with MBDA and its predecessor companies. I’m a member of the UK Directors board and I’m also a gay man. I’ve been gay as long as I can remember, but I wasn’t always comfortable about it. Not because of how I was, but how I felt others were likely to feel about gay people, especially in the work environment and in the 1980s and 90s. I lied to people, which didn’t make me feel very good about myself. I wasn’t always happy at work as a result. But then I just decided to stop pretending or making up stories about non-existent girlfriends. I met a guy in London at a ‘coming out’ group (we ended up having a near 25 year relationship) and I decided that if anyone asked me about my personal circumstances I would just tell them the truth and let them deal with it. I can truly say that honesty was the best policy! I’ve never had a bad reaction from anyone - not to my face anyway! I’ve never been happier with any other decision in my life. My work and personal life - both so intrinsically linked – have benefitted immeasurably. I truly believe my sexuality has never held me back in my career, in fact it’s enhanced it because I’ve been able to be me, really enjoy my job and work with some really great people who fully value me for who I am. If I can be a positive influence and inspiration to others that would really make me very proud. Nobody should feel isolated or inhibited at work because they are an LGBT person. Everyone in MBDA should feel fully valued, and I know the senior leadership feel exactly that way too. If anybody wants help, or to come and talk to me about my experience, I’d be so happy to provide it or do that if I can. That would really make me feel that I have achieved something over all these years.”
Matt Beaumont – Shared parental leave/balancing work and family life
"A senior role within any business can be demanding. A strong support network is essential to balance the pressure that a job can bring, and there is no better support network than family life. Around the time of the birth of my second child I chose to take extended parental leave, partly to support my wife in looking after our new son, but also to spend time with our daughter as she learned to cope with a new sibling. My wife had recently given up work to support the family as my role increased within the business & I felt it was only fair to support her during the early weeks of a second child. I initially found the concept of leaving the role for an extended period of time quite difficult, but I had an excellent team all around me who were able to keep things going & I did keep in touch to make sure that all was ok. In many ways that taught me the importance of trust & delegation and the resilience that it brings to a strong team. The early years of a young family are to be treasured and in many ways are the most important. What I’ve learned is that if I make time to support my family, I know that they’ll support me when I need it."
Barry Knowles – Mental health and wellbeing
"Mental health is important as it can affect all of us at some point in our lives, there has long been a stigma associated with mental health.This stigma often forces people to try and live with the problem, they feel embarrassed and as such will not talk about their situation.This more often than not makes the problem worse and develops into a downward spiral. It is pretty important that people who feel this pressure have an outlet where they can openly talk and seek advice and more importantly get help and start the road to recovery.With my experience as a respect at work and a stress contact I thought it was a natural build on my skill set to help create that vital initial interface for people and help guide them towards a better place where the stigma has been removed."
Alex Smith – Charity work and giving back to the community
"I decided to join MBDAs Charity Challenge Committee because I was keen to give something back to others, particularly to the local community. I’m incredibly fortunate to have an exciting career and live the life style of my choice and I wanted to ensure that I was doing something that would help create a better environment for those less fortunate than myself. It’s easy to lose sight of just how lucky I am, but working with charities provides a humbling experience that allows me to look at my day to day life with more perspective. As a young person, charity work and community projects provide me with a sense of accomplishment and self-belief. It’s an incredible privilege to work with charity organisations and community projects that have the ability and the mind-set to make something happen to benefit others so significantly, from nothing at all. Not only is it rewarding to volunteer, but it also leaves me inspired to achieve more with my own career and take a more optimistic approach to challenges I face in my day job. Whilst volunteering with MBDAs Charity Challenge Committee, it has been eye-opening to see how much of the community relies upon charities to support a wide range of people and causes. It is especially important to recognise smaller charities who the public may be less aware of, but still play fundamental roles in the community, such as helping those who are less fortunate. I have found working with MBDAs Charity Challenge to be a truly rewarding experience."