Fast Forward 15 sets sights on tackling imposter syndrome

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FF15 202223

Event industry mentorship scheme Fast Forward 15 celebrated the 2021/22 cohort at a graduation ceremony at Tobacco Dock London.

The mentorship programme, set up by Fay Sharpe OBE in 2014, is now heading into its seventh cycle as it applauds the outgoing mentees and welcomes 15 new female event professionals onto the 2022/23 scheme.

During the graduation ceremony, this year’s mentees were asked to creatively showcase their mentorship journey through a series of presentations which took influence from famous game shows and TV programmes. 

Fun aside, Fast Forward 15 is working hard to eliminate the ever-present infliction of imposter syndrome, experienced by almost everyone in the room, a quick show of hands revealed. 

Sharpe said that 50 per cent of applicants for the 2022/2023 cohort cited imposter syndrome as a reason for signing up for the Fast Forward 15 programme. The mentorship programme aims to rid mentees of imposter syndrome and give them a sense of belonging. But as Sharpe explained, it starts with believing in yourself. 

“You need to have goals and you need to write them down. If you write down your goals, you’re 70 per cent more likely to achieve them. But ultimately, you must believe in yourself,” she said. 

FF15 mentor, co-founder of Diverse Speaker Bureau and Cvent senior marketing manager, Felicia Asiedu, added that it’s important to remember that you didn’t get to where you are by fluke. “You’re not here just by luck. You have a lot to offer and you need to acknowledge that,” she told the audience. 

Combining that sense of belief and setting practical goals is a method to mute imposter syndrome, as Tobacco Dock co-founder and commercial director, Jonathan Reed, explained: “Set your goals early on and be clear about what they are and how you think you’re going to get there. Be true to yourself when you’re setting those objectives because you’ll get much more out of the programme.”

“Be truthful to yourself and your mentor from the word go. Having those frank conversations from the start and laying everything on the table means you can get so much more out of the programme,” added TBA MD, Richard Bridge.

Overcoming the sense of being out of your depth and not belonging was illustrated by 2021/22 mentee and partner event lead at GoingVC, Casey Kwon, who summarised her experience in three words: authenticity, trust, and community. “When I first came into this industry, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know what I was doing, but since I’ve been part of the FF15 programme, my network has grown, and I’ve made friends. That’s what community means to me.”

The 2022/23 FF15 cohort was invited along to meet their mentors and better understand how the programme works. New mentee, Alexa Martinez, event planner at St James’s Wealth Management said she joined the programme because previous mentees had inspired her. “There are a lot of previous Fast Forward 15 mentees that I admire, and I thought ‘I want to be part of that’. I signed up and got through the interview process, now I can’t wait to get started.” 

Professionals who are part of mentorship programmes are, on average, promoted five times more often and 25 per cent of employees enrolling in mentoring programmes have a salary-grade change compared to 5 per cent who did not. Proving the promotion statistic is 2021/22 mentee Kayleigh Griffith, who received a promotion to senior events manager at MOI Global, shortly after joining the FF15 programme. She explained she had spent four years in a more junior role and didn’t know how to access a promotion, but having a mentor helped in that process.

Applications for the 2022/23 programme have closed but you can find more information on the Fast Forward 15 programme here.

Holly Patrick
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Holly Patrick
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A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.

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