Inspiring Woman Highlight - Victoria Cope

As we build towards celebrating International Women's Day, we are shining a light on some of the amazing women who are associated with WorldCC Foundation, such as Victoria Cope, Government Commercial Function with the UK. Check out our interview with her, that features in our Book of Inspiring Women, 2023.

WorldCC: Describe your professional background and story.

Victoria: I began my career as an aeronautical engineer using my technical background and operational analysis skills to support governments across the world on their defence procurement policy and multi-million-pound procurement decisions.

Building upon my technical background, I enjoyed using my influencing and negotiation skills to deliver value to stakeholders and therefore moved into the sales and contracting function.

Since then, I have spent 20 years building my career journey transitioning between the procurement and sales aspects of the commercial profession, having had the benefit of working within some fantastic organisations including, BAE Systems, QinetiQ, Airbus, Unilever and currently the Government Commercial Function. I have had the opportunity to lead the commercial function of +£12bn organisations, establishing greenfield functions, leading high-impact, cross-sector social value programmes and presently leading the commercial, contract and business development functions within the UK Health Security Agency. I am passionate about the commercial profession as it provides the ability to make an impact at scale. I help organisations define and realise their strategy, use commercial innovation to achieve enhanced competitiveness and resultant growth in revenue and market share, and identify, manage, and mitigate thirdparty risk to the organisation. In my early career doing a ‘great deal’ was something that gave me those ‘Yes!’ moments, whether it be with suppliers, customers, or investors. Today seeing my team shine, creating, and delivering world-leading commercial strategies and innovative commercial models, doing deals which deliver both financial and social value and seeing them achieve their full potential, as a team and as individuals, inspires me daily.

WorldCC: Tell us about two personal achievements and contributions through your career.

Victoria: I am passionate about people and thrive on building and leading, high-performing, globally distributed functional teams (~300 FTE) and complex contract portfolios with an aggregate value of ~£13bn spend, within complex, federated organisations, and regulated sectors.

I build a respectful, inclusive, and collaborative performance culture within my teams ensuring everyone feels comfortable bringing their authentic self to work daily, embracing our differences, and using our diversity of thought to the benefit of the organisation. I proactively develop the capability and performance of my teams and mentees, through an empowering and coaching leadership style, guiding their personal development techniques and structured capability development programmes, to help them meet their full potential. I contribute to the charitable sector as a Non-Executive Board Member of The Air League, supporting aviation talent development. I also serve as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit, Risk, and Assurance Committee for the Inspiring Leadership Foundation, empowering vulnerable women to achieve independence and personal growth.

I have championed diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the aerospace, defense, and security sector throughout my career. As a female leader and working parent, I serve as a role model and actively promote diversity through speeches, podcasts, interviews, and articles – I encourage and mentor individuals of all backgrounds, genders and career stages to excel in the field, fostering their development. In the GCF, I led the creation of an SME toolkit to facilitate collaborations, partnerships, and agile contracts, enabling SMEs to deliver advanced technologies more efficiently in regulated sectors. I also proudly serve as a mentor for SME CEOs through ‘Be the Business’, offering guidance and support to executives.

WorldCC: How have you encouraged long-term resilience within your organization or beyond?

Victoria: Whether considering the resilience of individuals, teams, organisations, or the wider partnership ecosystem, increasing resilience has never been more important in the world we operate in. People are pivotal to the success of any organisation and I’m passionate about my teams achieving their full potential, performing to their best of their ability both as individuals and a team. As someone with a defence and security background I have leveraged my experiences to create a culture embodied by:

  • A clear vision and common purpose
  • A core set of personal and organisational values
  • World-class leadership – inclusive, inspirational, empowering and coaching
  • A pipeline of capable and adaptable talent – leveraging personal and team strengths engendering a growth mindset
  • Holistic performance – mental wealth, mental health, and wellbeing. Balancing peak work times with well-earned downtime and investment in personal development
  • Working smart – Work where, when, and however best for individuals and teams to achieve optimal outcomes.

Engendering a growth mindset regarding the commercial partnership ecosystem has allowed me to develop and enhance organisational resilience, maximising financial, sustainability and social value opportunities. Within my organisations I employ strategic risk and opportunity management, implementing innovative commercial strategies, including embedded spend management which have delivered double digit savings and revenue growth, improved contract delivery, as well as securing supply chain resilience and social value outcomes.

Find out more about WorldCC Foundation's incredible cohort of Inspiring Women in our 2023 Book.

About the author

Kate Hodgins

Kate is an accomplished marketing and communications professional with over 10 years of experience attracting, engaging, and converting audiences. She is a natural communicator skilled in building brand awareness and generating leads through content creation and digital marketing campaigns. As Head of Marketing at WorldCC, Kate leads integrated strategies to engage the association's global community of contracting professionals. Her passion lies in understanding stakeholders and nurturing meaningful relationships that drive business success. With her extensive background in audience growth and digital marketing, Kate delivers innovative solutions to elevate brand visibility and performance.