Retention effort earns nomination

Published on Ms Harriet Pointon Mather (author)

Topic(s): Women in Defence Awards

Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020 finalist, Petty Officer Maritime Personnel Supervisor Natalie Stephens. (photo: Unknown)
Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020 finalist, Petty Officer Maritime Personnel Supervisor Natalie Stephens.

Women In Defence Awards Finalist Feature Article

Five remarkable Royal Australian Navy women have been selected as finalists in the Australian Defence Magazine’s Women in Defence Awards 2020, which celebrate talented, determined and successful women in the Defence community. Their inspiring stories will be shared every day this week.

The first of our Royal Australian Navy finalists is Petty Officer Maritime Personnel Supervisor Natalie Stephens from Defence Force Recruiting, Brisbane.

Having always had a desire to give back and help the community, the Royal Australian Navy was a natural choice for Petty Officer Stephens, who was also looking for the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and develop her interest and skills in languages.

Petty Officer Stephens was nominated in the People and Culture Category by Lieutenant Jannah Wright who said she was inspired to nominate Petty Officer Stephens due to her passion for retaining women in Defence and her work with community groups outside of Defence.

“Besides the professional contribution Natalie makes to the Navy she also has a strong desire to make a tangible difference to those less fortunate and to contribute to the community which she does by caring for people with disabilities through the NDIS and being a registered foster parent,” Lieutenant Wright said.

While in her previous posting at Personnel Support Unit, Cairns, Petty Officer Stephens implemented a program to support Royal Australian Navy personnel on maternity leave.

The program supported the members while away from the Navy community and relieved the sense of isolation, often experienced by new mothers, especially when separated from their professional Navy support network.

“Navy retention was a big focus at the time but it appeared that there was a gap when it came to ensuring the retention of Navy personnel after maternity leave,” Petty Officer Stephens said.

“The program helped to achieve a 100% retention rate of those members who took part in the program in Cairns and the concept was then forwarded to other Personnel Support Units around Australia for implementation.”

Petty Officer Stephens is also a member of the Navy Diversity Reference Group - Women which provides grassroots feedback through both the Navy Women Strategic Advisor and the Navy Diversity and Inclusion Council.

“Being a member of the Diversity Reference Group I’ve seen firsthand the changes being made in the Navy culture which is resulting in a more equal and inclusive workforce.”

And Petty Officer Stephen’s advice to other women working in the Defence Organisation? 

“Be the role model other women need you to be and always stand up for what you believe in.”

Winners of the Women in Defence Awards 2020 will be announced on Friday 23 October. Details of the awards and winner announcements can be found at