Surgeon-Commodore Fleur Marshall (A’88) holds one of the most senior positions in the Royal Navy following her promotion in 2019 and is one of only seven women in top-flight leadership roles within the British military.  In the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday we caught up with this inspirational Repton Role Model to learn what it takes to smash through the glass ceiling. 

While at Repton, I was very focused on getting into Medical School. I met a Sports Doctor when I was a teenager and this sparked ideas of combining sport and sciences. 

I had no idea at the time but being one of only two girls in each of my A Level classes prepared me very well for my professional career where, as a woman I have always been in a minority.  It gave me the confidence to focus on my own professional ambitions and be unphased by being a solitary female voice.  This attitude stood me in good stead when I spent nine months deployed in a Ship as the doctor with 300 ships company, only three of whom were female.   

One of the reasons I went to Repton for the Sixth Form was to have access to a wide range of extra-curricular activities – just one of the aspects of a Repton education that helped to prepare me for university.  Though I did three science A levels I also studied art A level, was involved in school productions, sports teams and started to master the art of public speaking – something that gave me a sound footing beyond school and is essential to my career today.  It is so important to have a range of interests and hobbies, not just because being a rounded individual is valued by higher education institutions, but also to prospective employers and for good mental health.  Now a days I am a beekeeper, keep chickens and ducks, am a School Governor and enjoying baking plus play a range of sports.  It helps my personal resilience by changing the pace of life and allows me thinking time away from the pressures of my day-to-day job. 

My advice to Reptonians is to make the most of every opportunity that you encounter – and there are so many at Repton. Be inquisitive and don't be daunted by doing something different or having ambitions that involve something new. I am the first person in my family to be a doctor and the first to join the Royal Navy. I am incredibly proud to be the Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service and to be the first female doctor to have this role. I am highly motivated to inspire others to aim for roles that may not have been held by people like them before – being a pioneer is fantastic and of course there are obstacles, but they are outweighed time and again by the benefits and the earned respect.   

My current role is a three-year posting, and my ambition is to be the best I can be, supporting and helping those around me and enjoying every moment of my incredible role in a world-leading institution.