Richard Forbes-Ritte is Head of Strategic Programme Management and has worked at Access for 10 years.
He tells us a little more about his experience working at Access.
What’s something about you that might surprise the people you work with? I'm actually quite shy, but I’ve built good coping mechanisms over the years.
You’ve done some amazing things for charity over your time with Access. Which challenge would you say has been the hardest, and which was your favourite?
Since being at Access I have run 9 marathons, 3 half marathons and completed one 60-mile cycle around London at night and another 100-mile cycle. My favourite was the 100-mile ride around London/Essex in May 2023, as this was a challenge I undertook with my friend, mentor and boss – Simon Lees – little did we know that he would announce his retirement just four months later. I really enjoyed spending the day with him and seeing how he ticks.
For this charity of the year, my challenge is running 3 marathons in 3 weeks in April – Brighton, Manchester and Blackpool.
What’s the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The Phoenix Project. Yes, it is great for aspiring technical project teams to understand the dynamics of project personalities depicted in a fictional environment.
What’s your favourite job to do at home?
Emptying the dishwasher and filling the tumble dryer.
What do you think it takes to be successful at Access?
Innovation, initiative, having fun while you work, getting your hands dirty when needed, setting yourself stretch targets and hitting them and being honest about your mistakes. Always learning, always being curious, never judging.
You started at Access after a military career. What advice would you give to other ex-service personnel looking to make the move?
It was 20 years ago this year that I left the forces, and Access is my 3rd civilian employer since then. It is important that the value of loyalty is recognisable from all angles. My advice to anyone leaving the service now is to make sure you understand how to correlate your highly valuable skills and behaviours to the requirements of a civilian job. Using military rankings and abbreviations in your CV will be more of a hindrance than a benefit. I would also make sure you bring your services-self to the party, don’t try and over civilianise yourself; bring the loyal, passionate, reliable, strong contender to the party.
Can you tell me about a mistake you made at work and how you handled it? What did you learn from the experience?
Whilst in the Army I didn't clear a stoppage properly, and when I fired off the action (supposedly with no round in the chamber), I nearly blew my foot off! After being fined £300 by the Colonel, I spent time with my Sergeant Major developing weapon skills and behaviours around not panicking in tough situations.
What makes Access different from other companies you’ve worked for in the past?
The sense of everyone being on the same road and having different roles to play in the same journey is stronger than anywhere else. Everyone is and feels important to the outcome. Access is genuinely inclusive without shouting about it.
Any last thoughts
I have learned so much about leadership at Access, especially in the last 5 years. The sense that the leader works for their team and not the other way around is a key to success. Remembering that everyone lives a unique life and work is only one part of it, so embracing everyone you work with (metaphorically) like family can help to blur the lines.