Ellie with her parents in March this year.
Talent Partner, Civil Service Talent, Civil Service HR, Cabinet Office
Years in Public Service: 3.5
My grandmother/mother was a…
My Grandma (my dad’s side), Patricia Binks, was born in Leicester in 1929. Aged 18 she trained to be a teacher at Stockwell college and subsequently had her first teaching job in Birmingham. Having moved to teach at the Central School in Scarborough, she met my Grandad and had quite a career change. As my Grandad owned a hotel, ‘The Dorchester’, she moved into the hotel trade. In the 1980s my grandparents and parents opened a hotel near the North Yorkshire Moors and my grandma worked there well into her 70s.
Patricia Binks on Scarborough Beach in May 1950
My grandma loved sharing stories of her time living in London. I found out that I had been accepted onto the Fast Stream a few weeks before she died in 2014 and she was so pleased and excited about me getting onto the scheme and having the opportunity to move to London - I’m happy that she got to hear the good news.
Patricia Binks (top of pyramid) on Bognor Beach in 1949
My mum, Susan Binks, also had quite the career change. Having been the first person in her family to graduate from university, she joined the NHS Graduate Programme in 1981 working in a number of hospitals in Halifax, London and Teesside, including for the North East Regional Health Authority and the King’s Fund. In 1987 she moved into the hotel trade when she was expecting my older sister. During 25 years of running a hotel she had three children. I know lots of women work and raise multiple children, but I think this is pretty impressive, especially given the 24 hour nature of running a hotel. In 2009 my mum took the plunge and trained to be a lay-reader in the Church of England. Since then she has gone the whole way and trained to be a priest; on the 3rd of June 2018 she’ll be inducted as the Vicar of the Benefice of Kirkdale, Harome, Nunnington and Pockley and will be the first woman to hold this position. My mum will be 60 next year with a whole career of ‘vicaring’ ahead of her.
Me in a paragraph/my role
While I can’t ask my grandma how she feels about the centenary, I know she would have enjoyed the celebrations that are taking place this year. I also know that my mum is very passionate about intersectionality as it is embedded in her approach to ministry. However I think both of them have definitely inspired both me and my sister, and my mum and I are both motivated by public service, although we’ve chosen different institutions be part of.
I’m currently a Talent Partner in Civil Service Talent; partnering 9 Functions, one Profession and two Departments. I really enjoy this job, constantly find out new interesting things, and I’m part of a lovely team. I’ve always been a chatterbox, so this role particularly appeals to me because a huge part of it involves relationship building. Civil Service Talent attracts, accelerates and develops Senior Civil Servants, including delivering accelerated development programmes and the commitments made in the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
In addition to my job, I’m running the Suffrage Flag Relay as part of the Civil Service’s Suffrage Centenary celebrations. I’d like to add a massive caveat that although I run this, it genuinely is all the volunteers in each location that make the relay. My involvement in the centenary celebrations stems from co-Founding the Cross-Government Women’s Network with Keela Shackell-Smith in 2015. When we set up the network, I had been in the Civil Service for less than 6 months which now seems quite odd! I’m so happy we did set up the network though; partly because of the role the network continues to play, but also the opportunities it has brought me.
Being in the Civil Service and my time on the HR Fast Stream has given me so many opportunities. My personality means that I don’t enjoy not being a part of something, so the range of work and opportunities on offer in the Civil Service is great for me.
I’ve recently started running a Brownie pack and I’m absolutely loving it. I hope that the activities and discussions I run for my pack play a part in building a generation of confident and empowered women. (I’m pretty certain it will, they’re a very impressive bunch!).
If I had a magic wand, what I would do to accelerate gender equality?
I think there are lots of interventions to take at different stages of someone’s life from challenging gender stereotypes at a young age to the language used in job adverts. If I had a magic wand, I would use it to engage both men/boys and women/girls on each intervention or issue. We need everyone to take action for gender equality to be achieved, and we need dialogue and activity that unites people, rather than divides.