WING COMMANDER SOPHY GARDNER
MA MBE RAF
Sophy has achieved high status and recognition for her academic, operational, leadership, and superb media communication skills, all under intense pressure during a 19 year career in the RAF.
She has experienced front line operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Congo. She was also in charge of RAF assets during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Wearing her media liaison hat with Royal Households for the RAF, Sophy handled the successful press conference for HRH Prince Harry’s return from Afghanistan and many other high profile press events.
CAREER TRIGGER POINTS
Air Operations Officer HMS Invincible.Worked with international defence chiefs and politicians as aide to Commander UK Forces Iraq 2003.Awarded MBE for leading Air Transport and Refuelling Operations during 9/11 and Afghanistan 2001/2.Appointed Officer Commanding Operations Wing & Management Board RAF Valley.
Sophy Gardner has not noticed any invisible glass ceiling in her highly successful career carried out in a largely male environment within the RAF. Her academic achievements at Cambridge University set the foundations for her future success and were later proven achieving distinction in every discipline at the Defence Academy, including a thesis on US-UK government relations and behaviours.
She was personally selected for her analytical and intellectual abilities to serve as aide to the Commander UK Forces in Iraq in 2003.She developed as an inspirational leader in RAF – including under pressure in war zones – and deployed to lead start-up operations in Helmand Province due to her expert understanding of complex air operations.
In Whitehall, Sophy proved her skills as an excellent communicator – in strategy, delivery, media coaching and speech writing, she became an adept influencer - comfortable and effective at all levels - and gained significant press office experience handling difficult presentational issues such as C130 and NIMROD accident investigations.
In contrast she organized the media campaign for the 90th Anniversary of the RAF that attracted audiences of a million people onto the streets of London.
Leadership and Trust