Veterans

British Ex-Forces In Business: Amanda Johnson

Royal Navy veteran Amanda Johnson bought the company that re-trained her, and she's now helping hundreds of military spouses.

WATCH: Who is Amanda Johnson?

Admittedly, Amanda Johnson never saw herself as a “Mum In Business,” or even a “Female In Business.” 

Two years after switching her Royal Navy uniform for a new career as a Virtual Assistant, she bought out the company that trained her and hasn’t looked back.

Under her ownership in leafy suburban Hampshire, VACT is flying.

For the last three years straight, it has brought home from recognised industry awards the title of “Best VA Training Provider”.

Now, for the work she does to find sustainable and enjoyable jobs for military spouses, Amanda is a finalist in the 2019 British Ex-Forces In Business Awards.

On finding out she was in the category Champion Of Women, she said: “I’m hugely humbled, actually.

“I found out a little while ago – I was actually on holiday in Fuerteventura with my family.

“I was very, very proud.”

WATCH: Amanda Johnson's passion for her civilian career shines through

Virtual Assistants take all forms, from personal assistants to social media coaches and technicians.

Some support busy individuals with their lifestyle administration.

They work remotely and, in the case of military spouses, have the flexibility to be able to take the job with them at a moment's notice.

Besides her training courses for up to sixty spouses at a time, Amanda also runs a VA Facebook community that engages with around 3,000 people.

She offers one-to-one mentoring programmes, and shares free resources such as training webinars, to – as she puts it – “add value to people.”

The ex-Logistics Officer knew well from her time in the Navy that there was a real need for Virtual Assistant training.

WATCH: Amanda Johnson on her own experiences from the Navy

The British Ex-Forces In Business Awards were established in 2018, to honour veterans and new Forces leavers who have turned their hands successfully to other professional ventures.

While recognising the difficulties that occur in the transition to civilian street, the ceremony serves as an example of how some of those hurdles have been overcome.

Amanda continued: “I’m really looking forward to it. There are some fantastic speakers, and lots of great people who are going to be there.

“One of the things that I almost miss, being outside of the military, is the opportunity to dress up and to socialise in that type of environment.

“I know some of the other contenders, and I probably haven’t seen them since I left the military.”

Despite her prowess in the VA world, it is the first time Amanda has been in the finals for a British Ex-Forces In Business accolade.

WATCH: Amanda looks forward to the ceremony

Amanda joined the Royal Navy aged 17, with grandiose ideas of being able to storm her way up the ranks year by year.

She laughed: “It was only when I joined the Services that I realised, actually, there was a little bit more to it than that!”

She became an officer in 1997, and by her own admission “had a lot of fun” travelling the world.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for her.

WATCH: One pitfall of being at sea...
  • Amanda Johnson is a finalist in the Champion Of Women category at the British Ex-Forces In Business Awards, that take place at London Hilton on Park Lane, on May 8.
The British Ex-Forces in Business Awards are sponsored by CBRE, FDM Group, Kuehne + Nagel, Galliford Try, Lloyd's of London, the Officers' Association, NTT Data, Santander, Savills, Sopra Steria and Standard Life Aberdeen.
Other supporters include BFBS, Forces Recruitment Services, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, SaluteMyJob, the White Ensign Association and other media partners Quest Magazine and RealBusiness.co.uk.