With a passion for challenging herself, Lieutenant Commander Deputy Platform System Sustainment Manager Siobhan Sturdy is a well-deserved finalist in the Australian Defence Magazine Women in Defence Awards 2020. 

Lieutenant Commander Sturdy is the first female marine engineering officer to complete a full Head of Department posting in a Collins-class submarine. 

As marine engineering officer she successfully led the marine technical team during a time of high operational tempo, with about 200 days away from home in 2019.

While passionate about the Navy, submarines and her seagoing time, Lieutenant Commander Sturdy is equally passionate about fostering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities among young women. 

“It’s important to talk to young women and girls as early as possible, to explain about engineering and how there are so many exciting career opportunities that open up to them when they embrace STEM subjects,” Lieutenant Commander Sturdy said. 

During her 10-year career with the Navy Lieutenant Commander Sturdy has noticed that diversity within the organisation is an enabler and force multiplier.

“A more diverse organisation is always going to be a stronger, and in Navy’s case, a more lethal warfighting organisation,” she said.

“Diversity brings the full potential to an organisation and I think Navy is ahead of the game in this regard with all jobs open to women.”

Incredibly enthusiastic about her career Lieutenant Commander Sturdy said the Navy was like another family. “It’s the close connections with the people you work with, like-minded professionals, that makes life in the Navy so rewarding,” she said. 

“There is just nothing like being at sea in a submarine with a team of driven and focused people.” 

Lieutenant Commander Sturdy also said these were exciting times for women in the Navy.

“There are so many opportunities for female members to connect now and it’s enriching both for those members but also for the Navy organisation as a whole,” she said.   

Her advice to young women thinking about joining the Navy is to ‘go for it’.

“Jump in and challenge yourself. A career in the Navy is unusual, exciting and challenging – it will teach you about yourself and give you many opportunities and experiences that you can’t even imagine yet,” she said.