60 Second Spotlight
Name: Wing Commander Dawn Akyildiz
Job: Officer Commanding Base Support Wing
Your RAF career so far: Varied, and lots of fun! Worked with lots of really great people in several traditional training roles, including being the Station Training Officer at RAF Brize Norton, the Training Officer at Airmen’s Command Squadron and OC FDS at RAF Waddington. Learnt new skills and faced different challenges in non-traditional roles like working in the media and information operations environment in the Joint Information Activities Group and as the MA to Commander Kandahar Airfield. Unexpectedly loved a role I wasn’t keen to be posted into in 22 Group Training Capability, where I worked on the Protector and P-8 programmes.
Your claim to fame? I suppose I have long-lasting fame from the A-2-Z High Ropes course that I managed to get funds to have constructed at RAF Brize Norton (I promise the naming was done by my Squadron Leader at the time and is not some crazy hubris on my part!). But I’m more proud of volunteering to be the deputy coach for the RAF Netball Squad from 2013-2016 and getting to work with and help lots of talented RAF sportswomen in a sport I’m passionate about.
Your advice to anyone? Take every opportunity life throws at you and follow your passions.
What do you do when away from work? Spend time with my family or playing sport. I play netball for the RAF (in the Masters Team nowadays!), and weekend training is about to commence as we prepare to defend our title in the Inter-Services Competition in March 2019. Also, I have recently taken up road cycling, so I try and get as many long rides as I can on weekends. Other than that I love taking holidays with my other half or visiting my parents who have retired in Spain.
What are you most proud of? I’m particularly proud that my team of Service and civilian volunteers at RAF Waddington received an AOC’s Commendation for rejuvenating and expanding the excellent Station Heritage Centre. On a more personal note, I’m really proud to have played in the RAF Netball squad almost every year since I joined up and it still gives me a great buzz to take the court for my Service, with so many fantastic RAF women of all ranks and trades, against the Army and RN teams.
If you were sent to a desert island, what three things would you take with you? A kindle with the complete science fiction works of Larry Niven, Philip K. Dick and John Scalzi. As much chocolate as I could carry; I’m a complete chocoholic and would prioritise maltesers over all other food groups. A drum set – I’ve been wanting to learn for a while but my other half objects to the awful racket I would make – this would give me the space to be as noisy and terrible at it as I like.
What irritates you the most? A negative or defeatist attitude. I always want to see the opportunities or possibilities in life and I tend to believe a well-bonded team can overcome obstacles with a little more hard work or by encouraging each other to think differently.
What is your favourite place in the world? Australia. The sky feels so wide and the horizon seems to go on forever because it’s so sparsely populated. Also the geography is so different along the coasts and Northern Territory from the interior. It makes me smile to think about visiting again.
What would surprise people about you? I’m a proud Geordie from Wallsend, Tyne & Wear even though I don’t have an accent and actually spent most of my childhood near the North Yorkshire moors.