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jennifer davidson

Always learning

Jennifer Davidson, founder & MD of Sleek Events, says she isn’t afraid to ask for help 

I think most people start off their careers thinking it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. During full-time education we’re told what to do and taught how to do it. If we’ve gone on to university, there’s more learning but a little more connection to the world of work if we’re lucky. Then we’re dropped in at the deep end, hopefully finding a job in a business with a good induction and training programme.

Where I initially worked in both the property and IT sectors, those companies had great technical training but nothing really relevant for me as the events coordinator. I was often organising training and development events and it was here that I learned more about mentors. These events encouraged people to share best practice and support each other to improve in their jobs. I didn’t realise it then, but this content would give me some insight for when I became a business owner myself. They also gave me the confidence to ask questions of those I felt had excellent experience to tap into.

For the past few years, I’ve spent at least a day a month working on my business with people who we’d probably label as entrepreneurs or leaders or both. But these were all informal arrangements. Then I discovered Fast Forward 15.

It gives 15 women each year from events and hospitality the opportunity to be mentored by an industry expert. I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the programme and to get Mark Riches, MD of FIRST and advisor to global hotels and luxury brands. From talking entrepreneurial ideas to structured plans and emotion-led decisions to strategic thinking, Mark’s advice has already paid dividends.

Seeking advice, continuous learning and embracing change creates fantastic opportunities whether you’ve just started out as an events professional or you’re an MD with 20 years of experience. Don’t be afraid to ask a question.

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