From Harrier Jump Jets to Penguins - Military Careers in the Making

Kerry Bambrick-Sattar, Senior Director, EU Commercial Staffing & TSP

 Brian Bambrick-Sattar, National Business Director, EU

“We were on different career paths,” Brian Bambrick-Sattar reflects back to the day he met what would become his future wife. “We happened to both be stationed in Germany at the same time. Kerry with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and I with the British Army. While out one night, a mutual friend introduced us, and it was love at first sight.” 25 years later, Brian and his wife, Kerry Bambrick-Sattar, have found each other “stationed” together once again in their careers with Syneos Health. “The culture and openness to giving people opportunities is what influenced my decision to join Syneos Health, “Kerry states. “It’s a place where we may all have different roles, but we are all aligned in the direction in which we want to grow the organisation.”

 

And, it was these different roles that take us back to where this couple’s military journey began.

 

 

It All Began With…

 

A love of sports and an uncertain job market. “I had studied Catering and Hotel Institutional Operations and was big into sport”, Kerry shares. “While working at a hotel in England, I met someone from the RAF and we struck up a conversation about my career. They said to me, “if you are so in to sports, you should join the military – you can do everything, build a career and play competitive sports.” So, I joined, and they were right!” Kerry served in the Catering Squadron while enlisted with the RAF and competitively played hockey and badminton as well as running cross-country.

“Though I had a love for sports, as well,” Brian says - noting he competed in both cricket and soccer during his military career - it was an uncertain job market and future that led him on his path to service. “In 1978, there was a great deal of unemployment in the UK. Regardless of background, it was extremely difficult to get a job. I decided when I was 16 to enlist in the Junior Leaders, which was an 18-month training program, wherein upon completion you became operational. I received quite a head start because you do so much more than basic training”. It proved to be a good career move for Brian who had ambitions to set up a logistics company along with two friends who also enlisted. “But it fell to the wayside as each of our paths completely changed after completion of training and I moved on to my first post in Germany.”

 

 

Harrier Jump Jet, Penguins and Military Careers Are Born…

 

Kerry had already served with the RAF for 3 years at the time she met Brian and served just over 7 years overall prior to moving on to civilian life. Upon completing her basic training and trade training, Kerry’s first post was at RAF Cranwell, and she went on to serve in posts throughout England, Scotland, Germany and the Falkland Islands. “For me, I loved the community the military life offered and the experiences I was able to gain. Where else would I have had the chance to go on a Nimrod during a night operation exercise tracking a submarine or see the penguins in the Falkland Islands? How lucky to experience seeing these wonderful creatures and having these opportunities.”

After serving 24 years with the British Army, Brian, a Warrant Officer Class 1, made the decision to retire. Throughout his lustrous career, he served at posts in England, Germany and Northern Ireland and in operational tours during the Gulf War and in Bosnia, Kosovo and Central America. “My time in the military has allowed me to cross paths and work with some great people. It has offered me the skills that I still utilise today, and experiences such as flying in the back of a Harrier Jump Jet that I will never forget.”

 

 

Navigating the Transition to Civilian Life Together…

 

“The first year was very challenging,” Kerry recalls of her transition to civilian life. “In the military, you spend your time with many of the same people at work and socially, and you build some special relationships. The community in civilian life is different.” From her years serving in the military, Kerry knew she brought leadership, project management and strong organisational skills to the table, along with the operational knowledge she acquired from her experience as an RAF Stewardess. “My military service and experience had a huge effect on my civilian career path. After the military, I moved into a restaurant management role where I had the opportunity to assist in the recruiting of our chefs, and I really enjoyed it. Soon after, I made the decision to step into a full-time recruiting role and I’ve never looked back.”

For Brian, after leaving the military in 2002, he connected with an old friend, a former detective from the British Metropolitan Police, who asked for his assistance in setting up his website company. “I took on the responsibility of making sales calls and meeting with potential clients and I realised I quite enjoyed that piece of the business. Breaking barriers down and speaking to people…having the confidence and not being afraid to do so. It was a perfect fit.”

Before long, he had moved on to a Pharmaceutical Sales position. “The first six months were difficult, learning the science behind the therapies and products, but I absolutely loved it. I was doing something important, something worthwhile and completely different than what I had been doing in the military. Helping healthcare physicians make the right decision with medication, and more importantly, getting quality medication out to patients .”

 

 

From Dual-Military Couple to Dual-Syneos Health Employees…

 

After a brief stint in retirement from the military, Brian found he missed the industry. “Kerry said, “Go change your LinkedIn profile from retired”, and so I did and the next day I received a call from Syneos Health about a job opportunity.”  Brian soon stepped out of retirement and into his current role with Syneos Health as the National Business Director, EU. This time, it was Kerry who followed him, joining Syneos Health as the Senior Director, EU Commercial Staffing & TSP. “I absolutely love my work here,” Kerry states. “We have a great European-based recruiting team and we have the opportunity to work with some fantastic clients.”

Looking back on their military careers and at their current roles with Syneos Health, Brian and Kerry feel they have come full circle and are eager to share what they’ve learned over the years with those military members preparing to transition to civilian life. “Value what you can bring to a civilian career,” Brian advises. “Don’t be hampered by what you’ve done in the military – I’m a shining beacon – logistics role to pharmaceutical sales is a massive difference. Those skills acquired in the military are invaluable to an employer such as Syneos Health – strong work ethic, strategic management, deployment – and can fit in a multitude of roles.”

Kerry agrees, “Syneos Health has a great culture for transitioning vets. We have great access to assistance programs for mental health and well-being, along with financial advice and support. Not to mention our Veterans Employee Resource Group is second to none when it comes to finding that mentorship opportunity, support for our military personnel and their families and just the overall community.”