Fast Forward 15 celebrates five years of supporting female event professionals

Founded by Fay Sharpe five years ago, the Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme will have supported 75 female event industry professionals to grow and strengthen their careers by the end of 2020.

The not-for-profit mentoring scheme pairs some of the industry’s leading figures with female professionals who are looking to nurture their careers. The mentors for the 2020/21 programme include Philip Barnes managing director of the Savoy, Dawn Christie-Global head of events at Freshfields, Joanna Lawlor global meetings and events regional director at AZ, Jacqueline Watson and director of enterprise and employability at Surrey University.

“We continue to have huge success in building the confidence profile and helping women in their jobs setting them up for more success in the future,” Sharpe told M&IT.

Fast Forward 15

Megan Anstee

“FF15 remains the only unique governed programme with training for mentors and mentees, monthly one on one sessions, scheduled drop-in clinics with me, a charity event organised by mentees, and a full range of opportunities to speak, network and develop skills.”

Applications for mentees are still open for the 2020/21 Fast Forward 15 programme, with applications closing on March 9 and the programme starting in May.

Megan Anstee, one of the 15 2019/20 mentees told M&IT that participating in the programme has helped access confidence she didn’t otherwise think you could have.

“Over the past nine months Madolyn, my mentor, Fay and the whole FF15 network has inspired and supported me to achieve my goals. I have recently gone freelance and have started building my business, which has been a long time ambition of mine.

“I genuinely don’t think I would’ve had the clear focus, confidence or knowledge to have taken the leap of faith without the programme. Fay and all the mentors provide incredible guidance and I am continuously inspired by my fellow mentees and their accomplishments. I feel incredibly grateful to be part of a community that truly champions and encourages women in our industry,” she added.

This year, Fast Forward 15 has set an ambitious fundraising target to help run the initiative and to give back to its chosen charity Girls Rock London – a music project providing a platform for girls and women to find and develop their voices.

As part of this, the programme is currently busy organising its annual charity challenge event which is set to take place at Two Temple Place on April 30 this year.

“With a 1920’s theme, we are celebrating 100 years of inspirational women. It’s looking to be quite the event, with some great speakers, top auction bids…not to mention food and drink from a top caterer,” added Sharpe.

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