New in Events episode two talks mentoring and is available now!

New in Events is a new podcast by IBTM, which brings you new episodes every fortnight. For episode two, hosts Mike Fletcher and Paul Cook discuss mentoring with Fast Forward 15 founder, Fay Sharpe. 

Short for time? Scroll to the bottom to discover key takeaways from podcast one. 

What have Hannah Kelly, Vice President at BCD Meetings & Events, Anupa White, Co-founder and Director of Principal Global Events, Karen Hutchings, Travel Meetings & Events Services Leader for Ernst & Young Global and a dozen other leading MICE professionals all got in common?

The answer is that they’re all trusted advisors for the 2024/2025 Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme, designed for women looking to get ahead in the UK events and hospitality industry.

The formidable woman behind Fast Forward 15 is Fay Sharpe, one of the founding shareholders of the agency Zibrant, which was acquired by BCD Meetings & Events in 2016.

With Fast Forward 15 now in its tenth year of mentoring and coaching 15 lucky women on each yearly programme, we sat down with Fay to hear why career development through structured mentoring schemes like hers is so important, no matter who you are and what stage of career you may be at. 

Our conversation spans the origins of Fast Forward 15, why there are only 15 places open to women, and how the programme develops core skills and helps candidates achieve their professional goals.

Fay also shares her personal goals, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and making it onto the television show, The Great British Bakeoff (or The Great British Baking Show if you’re in the US) as a contestant (spoiler alert - it could happen!).

Not only is Fast Forward 15 enjoying a landmark tenth-anniversary year this year, but Fay is also looking forward to a landmark birthday in 2024 when she turns 60 years old. 

With such experience, we concluded our interview by asking what advice she would give to anyone just starting their MICE industry career. For her full answer, download and listen to episode two of New in Events and subscribe to Season One today.

Each episode of New in Events runs for around 30 minutes so you can pick up new ideas, new insights, advice for newcomers, and new ways of working while on the go or taking a well-earned break. 

Season One also features bonus interviews from the show floor at IBTM World 2023 in Barcelona. For episode two, Elena Clowes, Senior Creative Producer at Cheerful Twentyfirst and the Co-founder of Event First Steps, a community that helps industry newcomers build their networks, dropped by the podcast booth.

Elena also has some great advice for forging an events career path and for finding out which industry role may suit you best.

So give us a listen! New in Events is available to download wherever you get your podcasts from. Be sure to subscribe so that you never miss an episode from Season One. 

We hope you enjoy episode two of New in Events as much as we’ve enjoyed recording it. Look out for episode three in two weeks, where we’ll be talking about Incentive Travel with two US-based experts.


Key takeaways from Episode Two of New in Events 

  • The difference between coaching and mentoring. Mentoring is where someone works with a trusted advisor or someone with a higher or different level of experience who offers their opinion and guides the person to come to their own conclusion. Coaching is more goal-based, helping someone to achieve set objectives. 
  • The Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme opens for applicants between January and March each year. 
  • Every applicant gets a 30-minute ‘jump start’ mentoring session, regardless of whether or not you get accepted onto the programme. 
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask to shadow different people or switch roles if you’ve fallen into a position that may not suit you. It’s such a fluid industry. There’s no set path - you just need to be passionate about what you do. 
  • Check in with your colleagues, particularly during those times when stress is high and workloads have escalated. Soft leadership skills are vital to avoid burnout. 
  • Challenge yourself consistently. If you always work within your comfort zone, how can you ever achieve new heights of creativity? 


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