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On this episode we talk to Commodore Mel Robinson CBE who was appointed Commander of the Maritime Reserves in February 2020.
Mel was commissioned in 1993 as a warfare officer and has served in a number of frigates and minor war vessels. This included command of HMS EXPRESS and Wales URNU, an assignment that was the first of its kind in terms of a woman taking sea command of a warship.
To make her career work and balance the demands of her young family, Mel left regular service in 2003. She started Full Time Reserve Service in 2005, and specialised in HR, leading the Naval Personnel Team (Reserves) whilst managing the Full Time Reserve Service scheme for the Royal Navy.
After joining the Maritime Reserves in 2016 she was promoted to Captain into a new role in Navy Command Headquarters as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (Reserves) responsible for reserves policy, finance, recruitment, communications and business development.
She is a Cardiff University graduate and a personnel career field specialist. She is a respected and active Fellow of both the CIPD and Royal Society of Arts, certified Master Coach and an alumnus of the Windsor Leadership Trust. She was awarded a distinction by the Open University Business School for her Master’s Level dissertation in Mentoring.
Her career path whilst unorthodox has delivered significant changes in Reserves personnel management. She designed the Whole Force Career Management Cell and led the strategic alignment of COMMARRES Headquarters into the Navy Command Operating Model ready for further integration through Programme HECATE. She is the author of the Maritime Reserves People Strategy. As an innovator, she is the architect of the seamless transfer process (Project FIREFLY) and most recently wrote the Maritime Reserves Directive against which the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve are being modernised. This has already escalated the Maritime Reserves contribution to the Overseas Patrol Squadron and Lead Commando Group and has triggered a once in a generation transformation of the Maritime Reserves that must be delivered in her tenure.
Mel Robinson is very proud to be a Reservist. She is a values based, people focused leader of change that considers personnel, their families and (uniquely in the Maritime Reserves), their employers, in equal measure. She is the Programme Director for both the Future Reserves 2020 Programme and Reserves Transformation and is responsible for building a Reserve that best supports a Global, Modern, Ready Navy on 21st Century operations at home and abroad.
She is married to Vice Admiral Guy Robinson, Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. They have adult children at University in Guildford and Winchester, a miniature schnauzer and run family homes in Hampshire and Norfolk, Virginia. Hobbies include group fitness, armchair rugby and hillwalking.

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