About Me

Jacqui Wilmshurst MSc PhD CPsychol AFBPsS

You may have already seen on my home page some of what I do, and my qualifications are listed further down this page.

…but who actually am I? We all know that can be a difficult question to answer. Here are a few things I’d like you to know about me, and why I do what I do.

I am an endlessly curious lifelong learner, an educator, a leader, a psychologist, a military veteran, a wildlife rehabilitator, an adventurer, a researcher, and a late diagnosed autistic woman.

Here’s a bit more about how my story has unfolded so far…

Consultancy & Training for Organisations

My Story

Country Girl to City Living Photos

Country Girl to City Living

I was born and initially grew up in rural Scotland, so a deep love for hills, forests, and all things wild runs through my core. Early memories include ‘guddling’ in streams for fish and puddles for frogspawn, learning the calls of birds in the woods and valleys, and helping with animal care on a friend’s farm. A move to the city of Sheffield (Yorkshire, UK) at 7 years old then took me into a whole new and different world, full of people, pace and opportunity. I was introduced to sports, music, and diverse cultures. A hunger for travel and adventure was born, but a strong pull to the natural world and a deep desire for belonging was never far away.
Student days to Captain Wilmshurst Photos

Student days to Captain Wilmshurst

As a young adult, and following a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the pursuit of finding a place to belong led me into the British Army. After graduating from the Military Academy Sandhurst, I served in Germany, the Balkans (under NATO), and in crisis operations in Northern Ireland. During 15 years of service, I delivered leadership and professional development programmes, trained in combat engineering, worked as a unit Physical Training Instructor, won a national award for fell running, and qualified as a pilot on both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
Conservation Volunteer to Dr Wilmshurst Photos

Conservation Volunteer to Dr Wilmshurst

After retiring as a Captain, that ever-present pull to the natural world and to travel and adventure gave me a new focus and I took some time out for voluntary work overseas. This included conservation work on a game reserve in South Africa, tracking wolves and bears in Bulgaria and Russia, and helping in the aftermath of the tsunami in Thailand. I then moved into applied research in psychology, focusing on environmental risk and human resilience (both individual and community). My academic career took me tornado chasing in the US, navigating tropical storms in Central America, and sitting under an erupting volcano in Colombia. I worked with scientists, government agencies, and farming and indigenous communities, to build trust and relationships and to work towards more collaborative solutions to manage risks.
Hostile Environments Photos
Hostile Environments Icon

Hostile Environments

I spent 6 years as an academic and built many new skills to add to my portfolio, but then decided that I would like to bring my expertise and experience back to more practical ends. I became self-employed and returned to Learning & Development, but in more niche areas. My military background coupled with risk psychology expertise made me a good fit for work as a consultant in ‘hostile environment training’ – equipping those who work in physically and psychologically high-risk roles, including journalism, humanitarian aid and emergency services, to manage the risks. This work took me to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Kenya and the US, and I was living and working at breakneck speed until it became too difficult to ignore that my own body had become a hostile environment.
Time to slow down, take a breath, and reset Photos

Time to slow down, take a breath, and reset

Finally hitting a wall with my own health – both physical and psychological, and including a prolapsed disc in my neck requiring two lots of surgery – forced me to slow down and take time to reflect, as well as to heal. I took the opportunity to find support, and new learning, to help me to come home slowly but surely to who I am, rather than who I thought I was supposed to be. This included living in a motorhome for 18 months, and travelling around Europe in it with a partner, a cat, a dog and a goldfish! It also led me to get diagnosed as autistic, which has provided a valuable new lens to look back on past challenges, as well as forward to where I truly want to go…

weave icon

Weaving it all together

Drawing on this broad portfolio of skills, learning and experiences I continue to work in Learning & Development, focusing on helping individuals and teams to understand themselves and each other better, and to bring their unique ways and contributions to their work and to the world. This work coupled with my academic research in risk and resilience have also taken me into consultancy, and into employed senior leadership positions in workplace health & wellbeing, including at the BBC, Facebook and TikTok. Discovering that I’m autistic in my forties led me to expand this focus into the emerging field of neurodiversity and neuroinclusion at work.

In parallel I have continued to work in environmental and conservation psychology, working as an advisor to conservation organisations and to universities. I have been a Guest Lecturer in this subject for the universities of Hull, Leeds, Manchester, and the Highlands & Islands.


Corporate Work
Nala hand
Since 2020, I run a small private wildlife sanctuary from my home in East Yorkshire, specialising in the rehabilitation and care of grey squirrels (for which I’m licensed) and the crow family of birds (corvids). They continue to teach me as much as I have ever learned from my fellow humans, and more.

In late 2023 I am embarking on a new research venture to learn more about what we humans can learn through our relationships and interactions with wild animals – for their good and for ours.


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My Credentials 

Qualifications & Training:

  • PhD Health, Environmental & Social Psychology (Risk & Resilience), University of Sheffield
  • MSc Research Methods for Psychology, University of Sheffield
  • BA(Hons) Psychology, University of Swansea
  • Counselling & Facilitation Certificate Programme (BACP Accredited), Oasis School of Human Relations
  • Coaching Skills, BBC Academy
  • First Aid for Remote Locations, Lazarus Training
  • Military helicopter pilots’ course, Defence Helicopter Flying School
  • Queen’s Commission, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Other Achievements

  • Sports Parachuting Freefall certification, 1996
  • Army Reserves National Fell Running Female Champion, 1997
  • Sheffield Half Marathon, 1997
  • PADI Open Water Diver, 1998
  • British Army Athletics Championships, team silver medal, 1998
  • British Army Germany Cross Country Bronze medal, 1999
  • Qualified pilot, Slingsby T67M260 Firefly, Joint Elementary Flying Training School, 2001
  • Qualified pilot, Eurocopter Squirrel HT.1, Defence Helicopter Flying School, 2001
  • Sheffield Half Marathon, 2005
  • Mont Blanc Mountain Marathon, 2007

Short Courses & Professional Development

  • American Museum of Natural History: CPD Short Course, Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation, 2019
  • The Open University: CPD Short Course, Living Psychology: Animal Minds, CPD Short Course, 2019
  • University of Leeds, CPD Short course, Ecology & Wildlife Conservation, 2019
  • The University of Edinburgh, CPD Short Course, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, 2019
  • University of Kent, CPD Short course, Understanding Autism, 2019


  • Horsa Trophy | Defence Elementary Flying School

“The Horsa Trophy is awarded to the Army student who had displayed the best character and individuality during Elementary Flying Training; “The [wo]man you would wish to have on your Squadron”

Commander in Chief, Personnel and Training Command.

Professional Memberships:

  • Chartered Member, British Psychological Society (Division of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology)
  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society
  • Member, European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology
  • Member, European Association of Work & Organizational Psychology