From Warfare Officer to Chief of Staff: Meet Craig Blackburn

Craig Blackburn served for 20 years as a Commissioned Warfare Officer in the Royal Navy. After leaving the Armed Forces in December 2020, his first post-military role in 2020 was COO of a Single Family Office, running six businesses for a UK UHNW principal. Craig then began actively seeking a role in Financial Services, something he’d been considering since he was first introduced to the Forces Employment Charity at an event in 2018 while transitioning out of the Royal Navy.

He attended the Forces Employment Charity’s Careers in Finance event in February 2023 and heard Ian Rand, CEO of Monument Bank, veteran, and Forces Employment Charity Trustee speaking. Later in the event, Craig introduced himself to Ian, and they connected. A couple of months later, Ian approached Craig about a Chief of Staff role he had coming up – the rest, as they say, is history!

Craig Blackburn, now Chief of Staff, shares his thoughts…

“The event I attended, and the subsequent role I secured, is proof that these play a vital role in connecting those seeking roles within Financial Services, with those who recognise the benefits veterans can bring to a business. I have attended events such as this since 2018 and strongly recommend them to anyone.

“Many service personnel I have met struggle with knowing what they really want to do when leaving the forces and so these experiences can help crystalise an ambition or, just as importantly, help decide what sector they don’t wish to work in. They also provide an unparalleled opportunity for service leavers to practice networking. I describe to friends that the day I met Ian was a sliding doors moment, if I’d not attended this event then it is highly likely that I would not be the Chief of Staff at Monument bank.”

Ian Rand, CEO of Monument Bank, concludes…

“I have been an advocate of veterans for two decades now both as a Trustee of Forces Employment Charity, but perhaps most importantly as a leader of large teams where I have seen over the years the difference the veterans can make to an organisation, and what roles they can add the most immediate value in.

“Craig is our Chief of Staff at Monument however, he was initially tasked with becoming project lead on the implementation of the largest piece of financial regulation in several years. His ability to rapidly understand the requirements as well as the business was impressive and he provided a real focal point and drive behind the programme. Despite his lack of pure Financial Services experience, he was able to be effective immediately due to the strength of his core skills he has brought from the military; especially planning and organisation, and the ability to learn fast.”

For more information about how your company can get involved with Forces Employment Charity events, develop your own military pathways and recruit veterans like Craig, please get in touch with our Employer Partnerships Team at [email protected].

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