A day in the life: Head of Brand and Engagement with Civil Service Fast Stream

Francesca Leyne graduated from the HR Fast Stream in 2012 and, since then, has worked in a range of Government Departments. After two years as Head of Fast Stream and Early Talent Recruitment, Francesca wanted a new challenge when she returned from maternity leave and is now working to establish an alumni network for Fast Stream as Head of Brand and Engagement.


This article was written in partnership with Civil Service Fast Stream.

How does your role balance with family life?

My son Ralph wakes up at around 5:30 every morning. I am still breastfeeding, so I take advantage of the opportunity to bring him into bed with us and we all have a cuddle. Sometimes I try to squeeze a few more minutes of sleep in before getting up and getting ready for our day. I cherish those moments – I know they won’t last forever.

My husband, Rory, and I are sharing parental leave, so he gives Ralph his breakfast while I have a shower and get ready to go to work. I leave the house at about 8.30.

Shared parental leave has been amazing for us – I suspect that when Rory goes back to work our mornings might become more frantic!

How much of your role involves collaboration?

I do tend to have quite a lot of meetings! In between these, I also like to talk to people and find out how they’re getting on with their work, their lives, anything really. I get a lot of energy from other people and speaking to them helps me to be more creative – which is even more important now that I'm responsible for the Fast Stream and Fast Track Apprenticeship brands.

I really care about making sure the Civil Service is attracting and developing the very best talent from all backgrounds, and I don’t believe I can do that on my own. In order to come up with the best ideas, I think you need to build in a really broad range of perspectives. That’s my excuse for having lots of conversations and I'm sticking to it!

Do you ever get some time to yourself?

In the afternoon, I might try and write some things down(!) I thoroughly enjoy sifting through the many and varied things I’ve learnt by talking to people and turning all of those thoughts into a proposal for how we might do things differently. I relished everything about my maternity leave, but one thing I did miss was the opportunity to think strategically. I found that most of the planning I was doing was more tactical in nature!

How do you spend your evenings?

At the moment I aim to be home by 5.30-6pm so that I can feed Ralph before we get into the dinner, bath, bedtime routine. The moment I step through the door and see his little face, I feel as if I am living my absolute best life.

What are some challenges of your role as Head of Brand and Engagement?

There have been times when I've felt like I am missing out on Ralph's development. He is changing so quickly and part of me doesn't want to miss a single second.

However, I feel fortunate that I have a manager who is happy for me to organise my work in whatever way works for me. That means that, on the days when I don't want to be too far away, I can work from home and conduct my many meetings by phone or video call.

What do you love about your job?

So many things. The opportunities the Civil Service offers to make a difference in society are so real and varied. I love the fact that my team has a real sense of purpose around making the Civil Service the most inclusive place to work in the UK, and that drive and determination is infectious and very motivating. I also love the intellectual stimulation of the work we do. It is challenging, often complex and affects the lives of everyone in the UK. It matters, and that is a pretty compelling reason to get out of bed every morning.

Finally, I love that I feel I can bring my whole self to work. I don't have to hide the fact that I'm a new mum, that I'm a chatterbox or that I enjoy the occasional episode of Call the Midwife. All of my experiences, attributes and quirks are celebrated and valued, and I find that incredibly rewarding.

Could you work for the Civil Service? Three Civil Service Fast Stream programmes are open for applications – read more and apply now on Mumsnet Jobs.

Top Threads
View all