When she isn’t busy doing freelance marketing, running her own online business, and being a mum to two young girls, Leigh Smith spends her time learning new skills as a part-time public affairs officer in the Army Reserve.
CAPTION: Captain Leigh Smith, a public affairs officer in the Army Reserve, with her daughters. Story by Venetia Reynolds.
The 32 year-old from Perth said she had a bit of family history in the ADF, but it was her drive to do something different and challenging that led her to join the Army Reserve.
“I was on a break from work after starting a family and I wanted to get back into the workforce in a part-time capacity,” Captain Smith said.
“I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world; instead; I wanted to do something for the community and something that had purpose, so I joined the Army Reserve.
“My dad was in the New Zealand Reserve and my brother served in the Australian Army as a signaller for over 11 years.
“He went on multiple deployments and I was always so proud of him.
“I wanted to join so I could help tell the stories of those who have served and are serving.”
Captain Smith said the Army Reserve offered her flexibility as well as the opportunity to use her skills in a unique environment.
“There is a lot of flexibility with my reserve commitment and it is widely understood and appreciated that I have other commitments outside that I need to manage,” Captain Smith said.
“I love the variety of work that I do and that I am not just a public affairs officer but also a soldier.”
Helping the community was a motivating factor for Captain Smith when she joined the Army Reserve, and she has definitely been given that opportunity, having deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist last year and was part of the Tropical Cyclone recovery effort in Western Australia this year.
“We went to a farm that was completely destroyed by the cyclone.
“The owner, a lady in her 70s, had tears streaming down her face and she walked straight over and gave me a hug. She said she just couldn’t believe we were there to help her and couldn’t be more grateful.”
Thousands of women and men enjoy part-time roles in the Army Reserve, operating alongside full-time personnel to provide support to military operations at home and overseas.