#HeForShe – Col Jez Robinson

Colonel Jez Robinson took up the post of Chief of Staff Army Futures in June 2022; he manages business across Directorate, which specialises in three thematic areas – Concepts, Innovation and Strategic and Capability Plans.  Army Futures also focuses on research, experimentation and innovation, and sets the strategic ‘aiming point’ for the British Army’s future. 

Until October 2021 he commanded 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment (650 soldiers), deploying on several overseas deployments, including Op PITTING: the evacuation of Kabul in August 2021. He has also commanded at Squadron (150 soldiers) and Troop (40 soldiers) level since 2003.  In key military staff posts he has held jobs in the Ministry of Defence in the strategic policy and plans areas and as a procurement lead for a £500m equipment portfolio.  He has attended the Advanced Command Staff Course (a year-long residential strategic thinking and Masters level postgraduate course) and worked as the lead planner in Army Headquarters UK contingency and resilience operations (support to police, flooding, strikes, general public). He has deployed on multiple operational tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and deployed to numerous other countries around the world for short to medium term tasks. 

Educated at Keble College, Oxford, Cranfield University, and King’s College London, he holds a MA, BEng and PG Dip and is a Fellow of the Institute of Royal Engineers. He lives in Woodbridge, Suffolk, with his wife Pip, a teacher, and their three young boys. Hobbies include sailing, squash, skiing and rugby, when his ailing body allows.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Sort of – In the military we routinely discuss our careers with line managers throughout a reporting year and career managers at certain stages of our career.  Usually, we might look 3-5 years out in detail and probably no further than 10 years in outline.  So did I have a 25 year plan when I joined at 18 years old? – definitely not, I was just excited by the next few years ahead, but is this realistic or even helpful at such an early stage? 

Have you faced any challenges along the way? 

Many – While I have faced many multi-faceted and complex challenges against pressures of time or threat to life, I have generally found that teamwork, training and the support of brilliant people have helped me adapt and overcome.  Some of the most complex challenges have been those with a people dimension and not while deployed on operations.  Our people are our greatest asset and yet most precious at the same time – our people need caring and nurturing to sustain then and get the best results.  We neglect our people at our peril.   

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Success is relative but I would say: humility and always having the time for people, no matter how busy you are – make the brews and stay grounded.  

What more can be done to help diversity and inclusion in the workplace, particularly within the Armed Forces?

A difficult area to answer simply because every part of Defence is different and faces different challenges.  Looking after your team’s mental and physical health is of utmost importance and where I personally spend much of my own efforts.  Inclusive behaviours start at the top through our actions and deeds and is something that we must work hard to improve every day.  Acceptance, forgiveness and learning from each other is equally important. 

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

It is essential – If we do not understand the perspective and viewpoint of others (not just gender) then we can’t ever hope to evolve and become better as a team.  Often it is the unknown unknowns, that people are not even aware of, that can unbalance us.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Getting the work/life balance right and privileging the important over the urgent, except in those rare occasions when it is both.  I want to continue to fight for our people in the workplace – Protect people’s time to allow us to think and do more and in doing so make us a more effective and efficient organisation that improves the lives of our people and the outputs of Defence.  


Colonel Jez Robinson’s insights shed light on the dynamic journey of a military career marked by adaptability, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence. His reflections on career planning underscore the importance of embracing opportunities as they arise while remaining grounded in humility and a genuine connection with others.

Throughout his career, Colonel Robinson has navigated diverse challenges, highlighting the pivotal role of inclusive leadership and prioritising the well-being of personnel. His emphasis on nurturing a supportive environment underscores the ongoing effort required to foster diversity and inclusion, particularly within the Armed Forces.

Moreover, Colonel Robinson emphasises the imperative for men to champion gender equality in the workplace, recognising its intrinsic value in fostering a culture of understanding and collaboration.

Looking ahead, Colonel Robinson’s focus remains on achieving a harmonious work-life balance and advocating for measures that empower individuals to thrive. His dedication to protecting time for reflection and fostering a culture of innovation underscores his commitment to driving positive change within Defence.

As we conclude this insightful interview, we are reminded of the profound impact that inclusive leadership and a commitment to diversity can have in shaping a brighter future for all.

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