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On board with FF15’s female talent

Mentees from female talent programme, Fast Forward 15, graduated on 11 May after their year-long mentorships. CN sister title CMW joined more than 150 top travel and event industry personnel for the graduation lunch and ceremony on board the Silver Sturgeon in London.

Embarking from Savoy Pier, central London, the day gave the mentees a platform to share their experiences, individual growth and newly defined personal brands.

The capital’s landmark skyline made a fitting backdrop for the celebrations. Lunch on the day was hosted and sponsored by the Silver Sturgeon and their hospitality partner Absolute Taste.

Guests were also treated to an inspirational keynote speech from former soldier and leadership consultant Kate Philp.

Founded by Fay Sharpe, vice-president of BCD Meetings & Events EMEA, Fast Forward 15 is recognised for developing the careers of female leaders of the future and since its inception in 2015 has helped mentees to fast track their professional and personal development.

Alongside their own development, 2017’s intake also raised more than £4,000 during their group charity challenge and individuals attributed confidence, objective setting and presentation skills as some of the skills and competencies honed during their 12 month mentorships.

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2017 mentee, Lauren Norton-Smith said: “The programme has been a great opportunity to meet and work with some inspirational people. Although the aim is to help develop women in events, it goes beyond this in creating such great partnerships and friendships that can continue outside of this scope and really provide you with a support network you can utilise for years to come.”

Founder of Fast Forward 15, Fay Sharpe added: “Once again the mentees have made me and the hardworking mentors proud. Proud of what’s been achieved and proud of what the industry can expect in the future from these fantastically driven and focussed new leaders of the travel and events industry.

“The mentees have strived hard to step out of their individual comfort zones and address their personal challenges. Without doubt they have achieved what they have through the dedication and commitment from the handpicked mentors who each give their time pro bono. Without the leadership team, the scheme would not be able to operate as a free programme, so today is as much a thank you to them as it is a celebration.”

Fast Forward 15 is now in its fourth year and has a stellar line up of mentors drawn from high profile organisations associated with the business of events. Previous mentees have achieved many major personal and career milestones including promotions, large scale speaking opportunities and international career moves.