Mentees from female talent programme, Fast Forward 15, graduated on Friday 11th May after their year-long mentorships.

The graduation lunch drew together more than 150 leading travel and event industry personnel and gave the mentees a platform to share their experiences, individual growth and newly defined personal brands.

The ceremony took place on board the prestigious Silver Sturgeon with the capital’s landmark skyline 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.

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 4th 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.

Fonder of the scheme, Fay Sharpe was recognised as M&IT’s Personality of the Year and was awarded a Shine Award in 2017 for founding and creating the free mentoring scheme.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.