International Women's Day 2023 with Tara


Today we join the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023. As part of our celebration this year, we shine the spotlight on the career journey of our very own Tara McLuskie-Cunningham MBE, Head of Strategic Systems Delivery. Tara tells us about her career so far and about which powerful woman she most admires and why below.

Talk us through your career so far.

On leaving school I had various jobs from finance to air stewardess before joining the RAF in 1994 as a navigator and then as a logistics officer.  Following roles in mechanical transport, air movements, armaments and training, I retired at the end of 2014 and moved on to work for Amazon as an Operations Manager before joining MASS in 2019 as Head of Strategic Systems Delivery.

Looking back on your career, what makes you the most proud?

Being awarded an MBE in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the Defence School of Transport.

What’s been your biggest career challenge and how have you overcome it?

Juggling a family and career is a huge challenge; I have built a great support team around me mainly friends and family, which allows me to commit fully to both my job and my children.

Tell us about your role at MASS?

I am responsible for looking after the day-to-day delivery of the Strategic Systems Group across cost, quality and time management. My responsibilities range from recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced people to work on complex defence projects right the way through to formulating the short-term goals which support achievement of our strategic outcomes.

What is the most important piece of advice you will give your younger self and other young women at the start of their careers?

Believe in yourself and never turn down an opportunity.

Which powerful woman do you most admire and why?

Katherine Johnson, she was significantly disadvantaged by the societal constraints of 1950s America. Not only did she have to overcome the barriers of being a woman in a male dominated work environment but her age and ethnicity were also significant limiters. She was determined and resolute in her pursuit of her chosen career and was a pioneering example for women in STEM.


You can find out more about what Tara and the rest our teams do here.