#HeForShe – Emlyn Taylor

In our latest #HeForShe interview, we are honoured to feature Emlyn Taylor, Group Managing Director for Lockheed Martin UK, Rotary and Mission Systems. With a career spanning over three decades across several high-profile engineering companies, Emlyn brings a wealth of leadership and technical experience to the table. His journey from an apprentice at Plessey Defence Systems to a leading figure in the defence sector is a testament to his dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence. This interview delves into Emlyn’s career path, his views on leadership, and the importance of being a male ally in promoting gender equality within the defence sector.

Emlyn Taylor is Group Managing Director for Lockheed Martin UK, Rotary and Mission Systems, responsible for all UK programmes, ranging from F35, C130, Merlin Sustainment, Royal Navy Surface and Subsurface, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, Training and Logistics to National Postal Solutions.

Emlyn joined Lockheed Martin in 2001 and has held roles of increasing responsibility throughout this time.  Most recently, all programmes in the Integrated Warfare Ship & Sensors portfolio reported through Emlyn, as Programme Delivery Director.  He also provided programme management guidance and support to the Training and Logistics and Cyber parts of the UK RMS business. Emlyn previously held the position of Technical Director/Chief Architect for the commercial Systems Solutions business..

Before joining Lockheed Martin, Emlyn held various senior technical roles with BAE Systems, IBM Global Systems, Marconi Underwater Systems, Westinghouse Signals, DimetronicSA and Siemens Plessey Defence, and held various positions in a number of diverse areas, ranging from Satellite Communication, Train Automation, Torpedo Guidance, Military Datalinks and Avionics Software.

Emlyn has more than 30 years of leadership and technical experience at several high-profile engineering companies and has shown a track record of delivering against commitments by using good business acumen, underpinned by strong technical knowledge and experience.

Emlyn started his career at 16 as an apprentice at UK based, Plessey Defence Systems and whilst at Plessey, Emlyn graduated from Bournemouth University where he studied HND Computer Science. Emlyn is a Lockheed Martin Certified Advanced Systems Architect and Advanced Programme Manager and holds industry recognised ITIL and TOGAF certifications.  Emlyn is a graduate of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Development programme.

Emlyn is a Trustee of Fly Navy Heritage Trust Limited and a Board Member of Lockheed Martin UK Limited.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background, and your current role?

Emlyn Taylor is Group Managing Director for Lockheed Martin UK, Rotary and Mission Systems, responsible for all UK programmes, ranging from F35, C130, Merlin Sustainment, Royal Navy Surface and Subsurface, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, Training and Logistics to National Postal Solutions.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I know a model answer here would be set myself short-, mid- and long-term goals etc., but at least for me I think that would have constrained my thinking. I am a software engineer by trade, but I have held roles in pretty much all engineering disciplines. So, the honest answer is, “No”, not really. Being a teenager in the early 80s meant I was there at the beginning of the home computer revolution; I found this time to be massively exciting. 

I was one of only three at my school who took Computing as a GCE.  Following school, I went straight to a YTS scheme at an ITeC Information Technology College that was affiliated with Plessey Defence Systems. I knew I wanted to be a programmer and Plessey was my route, after successfully joining Plessey I had a very simple plan, write lots of code and delight my ‘boss’ hoping rewards would come. I have kept that as my method to this day, deliver on commitments and having belief in the system and leaders above me. I have been very fortunate; I think due to this I have pretty much always been asked to apply for a role or recommended by others to.

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

Positivity and curiosity coupled with a growing belief that I am good enough. I feel blessed that I am very much a glass half full person and believe that if we put our minds to it, there is little that is truly impossible. Hard? Yes. Lots of hours? Yes. Some failures? Yes. But not impossible.  That coupled with the belief that if you are in a job position where you don’t feel a little bit of an imposter than you need to find a role where you do!  

Being an ally has taught me that many my female team members feel extreme imposter syndrome. I think that they were surprised to learn that I believe that this is very normal. It is good to be humble enough to know that you don’t know everything, and indeed something I believe to be a superpower to those that do! Finally, a growth mindset, always looking for incremental improvements, asking questions, listening to others and believing that I have something to contribute, this wasn’t always the case, but it has turned out the more I contribute the easier it becomes to do so.

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge has undoubtedly been belief in myself.  Due to a number of circumstances, I left school with little formal certification, far too complicated to go into here, but being in Spain for 3 months over the exam period went a long way towards that!  Luckily, I had a passion to become a programmer and had already applied to ITeC and the day we got back to the UK my acceptance letter arrived.  I then spent the next nine years working up through the organisation alongside some amazing people, but I felt inferior due to the lack of formal certification. Whilst holding down a full-time job I studied HND Computing at Bournemouth University and graduated at 24, I now have that certificate that says I had met the standard!  

This coupled with my success at work meant by 25 I was ready to go it alone and set up my own limited company with a staff of one, me! I worked on exciting programs such as the Jubilee extension where I was part of a team designing and creating a new train signalling system to support the number of trains to transport people to the Millennium Dome for 2000 and beyond. I also delivered a similar contract in Madrid before returning to the UK to work with several defence companies before one day whilst working at BAE Systems on the Harrier programme the phone rang and an opportunity came up at Lockheed Martin. 

Why is being a male ally important to you?

I want to be known as someone who supports an environment where anyone can deliver on their potential, to be seen as supportive, flexible, and inclusive. I am in a position where others look to me for leadership and to set an example, I lead in the way I would want my leaders to lead. 

Being an ally and being curious means, I am always learning, I feel privileged that our female population feel comfortable to share the things that I would never know, stories are so important as we travel on the journey to true equality of opportunity. Having an inclusive workplace is both a moral and a business imperative, at Lockheed Martin we provide systems that enable our customers to come home safely from the deepest of oceans, the driest deserts, and darkest corners of space, we need the very best minds to be part of these missions!   On a personal note, and something that I am very proud of, I was very fortunate to be nominated by my team in 2022 for the Lockheed Martin Women’s Impact Network Influencer award which recognises one person of any gender across our 114,000 employees that has contributed the most in the advancement of gender balance within the organisation – very humbling.

What do you believe are some actionable steps men can take to be better allies in the workplace?

Gender equality is an issue for men too; we all have mothers, sisters, and daughters whom this could affect. To successfully enable change in this area, we all, male and female, need to champion women’s successes in the workplace.  

It starts with leadership, empowerment and an inclusive approach. We need to value every member of the team, find ways to draw out their skills and ensure everyone is on an upward path to realise their true potential. 

We need to help amplify women’s voices in the workplace and act against negative gender stereotypes and behaviours.

We need to become a champion to make a difference and inspire others to do the same.

It is often said that lack of sponsorship keeps women from advancing into leadership. What do we need to do to inspire more male sponsors and mentors for women in the defence sector?

It is the collective voices of our workforce which allow us to continue innovating a vision for a better tomorrow. The power of mentoring is so important and is one of the best ways you can be an ally in the workplace. Help individuals see their potential which also enables you to learn about their workplace experience and look for opportunities to make it better.

We need to help with different perspectives as mentoring can be a two-way relationship.

What do you believe the Defence Sector is missing out on by not maximising the talents of both genders?

At Lockheed Martin, Diversity and inclusion are the foundation of our culture and reflects our values of: Do What’s Right, Respect Others and Perform With Excellence. We want to be the organisation that people aspire to join. To do this, we are dedicated to providing an inclusive environment which focuses on attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce that has the opportunity to thrive in all that they do.  There is no mission more important than the defence of our values and way of life.

What are the best examples of positive change in your workplace that you have noticed in the past five years?

From the Gender Pay Gap Report : 

  • We have seen an increase in the female population within the lower quartile, meaning we are encouraging more females into our important entry level positions. These roles represent our talent of tomorrow and our future leaders. 
  • We have grown our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) with six in place across the UK, of which Women’s Impact Network is one. The aim of these groups is to create a supportive, open forum for employees who share a common identity and to invite others to learn about their perspective through webinars, events, and alignment to national days of recognition. Activities this year have included Menopause webinars; events associated with International Women’s Day and representation at our Global Women’s Impact Network. As a business we encourage our workforce to be Allies within these groups, breaking barriers and developing a greater understanding. 
  • We support the ERG’s by offering financial and organisational support to access decision makers and tools to highlight their important and valuable work.
  • We maintain regular reviews of our reward packages, looking for ways to improve our family-friendly policies and this year saw an increase in both our Maternity and Paternity offering.
  • In partnership with the organisation Moving Ahead, we participate in the Women in Defence mentoring scheme. Alongside this our Women and Allies in STEM (WAIS) outreach group, provides further support promoting participation of women in Science Technology Engineering and Math’s (STEM) occupations, by engaging in activities both within the corporation and our local communities across a range of ages, from primary school to university students.

What is one thing you can do better in your organisation to improve gender equality?

We need to inspire more females into engineering through our STEM activities with schools and inspire more Champions for Change to raise awareness for gender equality and women’s empowerment across the organisation.


Emlyn Taylor’s insights offer a compelling look into the challenges and opportunities of fostering gender equality in the defence sector. His commitment to being a male ally, coupled with his extensive experience in leadership roles, underscores the critical role that inclusive leadership plays in driving positive change. As we continue our #HeForShe series, Emlyn’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that supportive and inclusive environments can have on unlocking the full potential of all members of the workforce. It’s leaders like Emlyn who pave the way for a more diverse and equitable future in defence and beyond.

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