Fast Forward 15, the award winning mentoring programme for women, celebrated a year of successes and learnings at the graduation ceremony of 2018’s mentees.  

At the celebration, the mentees shared their achievements with a high profile audience of influencers from the events and business travel industries. Taking place on board the Silver Sturgeon, the event gave a retrospective of the mentors’ and mentees’ year; highlighting personal successes and underlining a team ethos that culminated in a group activity which raised more than £6,500 for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. 

The celebration lunch was headlined by Natalia Cohen who was part of the first all-female team to row un-supported across the Pacific Ocean. She shared her story of the crossing drawing on how positive mindset, determination, team work and humour can counter even the toughest situations.   

Fiona Bool, operation manager for group travel and events at Gray Dawes Group, comments: ‘The support from my fellow Fast Forward 15 mentees, mentors and wider stakeholders has fuelled my development both personally and from a corporate perspective. Achieving a place on the scheme is an enormous break and should be embraced from the outset by being open to opportunities and honest to the barriers that you perceive are in the way. With a structured programme in place and a straight talking relationship with your mentor; goals don’t just get set, they get achieved and for many of us re-calibrated to be bigger and bolder!’  


Supported by BCD M&E, Fast Forward 15 has had a demonstrable impact on female future talent in the events and business travel sectors and is recognised for instilling attributes including confidence and empowerment, and commercial skills such as goal-setting and presenting. The programme is supported by a stellar line up of business leaders, which in 2018 included KerrinMacPhie from Visit Britain, Jane Culcheth-Beard from HP and Ingram Micro’s Tony McMurray. 

May 2019 marks the 5th year of the scheme and a marked interest by male mentors to be involved with the upcoming intake underlines the impact Fast Forward 15 is having on organisations who are looking to bring female leadership and entrepreneurialism to the fore. 

Fay Sharpe, Founder of Fast Forward 15, adds: ‘Each year the competition to get mentored gets fiercer as the programme establishes itself as an amazing way to fast-track personal improvement; equally we are inundated with business heads who want to help these women. I’m indebted to the mentors who give up their time for free and who have all helped nurture and instil confidence to such bright new talent. My thanks also go to the team on the Silver Sturgeon who not only hosted us so well, but gave us a different perspective on this amazing city. Different viewpoints and perspectives echo the premise of Fast Forward 15: a scheme that encourages and champions a bold new future for the events sector.’

Adam is the co-founder and editor of 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.