Now mid-way through the second year of the Fast Forward 15 programme, I am proud and encouraged to see such positive results. Throughout the year we have already registered multiple achievements amongst the mentees from improved career prospects and role promotions, to increased levels of confidence and a clear vision of personal and professional goals. The commitment and dedication from both the mentors and mentees reflects their passion for our industry and the external support we receive continuously reinforces the importance of this programme in our sector. As we continue the programme the motivation behind the initiative still remains paramount as when I look back to when I started Zibrant over 25 years ago, the landscape in the MICE industry has changed dramatically. Consistent and solid growth means our industry is now valued at £26 billion. Growth in the sector has prompted a shift change in the academic aspects of our industry too, with many universities offering courses in events and hospitality, the uptake always high.
With 75% of our industry being female, progression and the advancement of women up the ranks has always been a critical element of how I have developed the culture of my own organisation. For me, its about genuine equality through putting processes into place resulting in happy and motivated staff. A key part of this is mentoring, something which I have benefited from, continue to do and which my organisation sees as an everyday element of growing our pool of talent. The outcome for Zibrant has been celebrated through multiple award wins in events, incentives, our people and recognition of being one of the Times Top 50 companies for women.
We are not alone in this quest, in the United Kingdom, the business and executive search communities have also taken the lead, with initiatives in place to develop candidates by providing opportunities to gain visibility, exposure and confidence. Mentoring is favored as a preferred method of achieving this growth and personal development.
The Zibrant Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme is a not for profit initiative spanning across our industry, giving access to and insight from some of the leaders in our field; an inspiring portfolio of influential and select talent who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with our stars of the future.
The programme runs for a 12 month period during which time mentees and their mentor work together to achieve objectives and goals. The programme includes 2 group workshops and monthly one to one mentoring and concludes with a graduation ceremony. Supported by industry leaders from both agency and corporate environments the programme is endorsed by the HBAA, MPI and Women's Business Council.
I look forward to welcoming the 2017 applicants and another exciting and successful year ahead.
P.S. View a short video here from our 2015 launch event explaining why I have been inspired to set up Fast Forward 15 and my top tips for success:
To inspire, encourage and empower women in the events, hospitality and related industry to be the best they can be.
Specifically: Giving 15 women the opportunity to be mentored, encouraged and advised by an industry expert for 1 year, as well as becoming part of a wider community of successful women supporters.
The Fast Forward 15 (FF15) mentoring programme welcomes applications from women in the MICE, hospitality and associated industry. Are you …
Successful applicants will be required to sign and return a Mentoring Contract prior to the commencement of the programme. This will contain full details and clauses relating to the programme.
Unsuccessful applicants will be offered the opportunity to join the FF15 networking forum providing a platform for discussion across the industry for all women in business related topics. An electronic networking environment, the FF15 networking forum is hosted and administered by Zibrant.
We are proud to present 15 inspirational and leading industry figures who are offering their time and experience to 15 mentees as part of the Fast Forward 15 programme. With a wealth of knowledge and a depth of understanding, our 15 mentors will provide one to one coaching from initial meeting through to graduation. Below you will find the profiles of our fantastic 2016 mentors, we have some equally inspirational individuals lined up to mentor on the 2017 programme - watch this space as we reveal their profiles shortly.
Managing Director and founder shareholder of the UK's largest MICE agency with over 25 year's experience working in the hotels, hospitality, event management and venue sourcing arena. Fay works on a strategic level with Zibrant's blue chip client base advising and supporting them on their global MICE policy.
Early in her career, Fay was awarded Caterer and Hotelkeeper's Acorn Award and has won Lloyds TSB CBI's First Woman of Tourism and Leisure award for her outstanding contribution to business. In 2011, Fay was ranked number one in Conference and Incentive Travel (C&IT) magazine's Power 50 (the first women to do so) and winning Meetings and Incentive Travel (M&IT) magazine's 'Industry Personality of the Year' award. She was also named as Boss of the Year in Executive PA magazine's annual awards. In 2013 Fay achieved the number 2 position in the Event 100 list, the highest ever ranking woman. Fay continues to be a strong advocate of women in business and is an active member of the Think Act Report initiative as well as playing a key role in promoting women in the industry through sharing her own experiences and providing regular commentary. In 2014 Zibrant was recognised as being a Times Top 50 place for women to work.
Passionate to support charitable causes Fay has completed numerous CSR projects including the Three Peaks Challenge, a week-long charity house build in South Africa with client Barclays and the Coast to Coast challenge in Scotland in aid of the companies nominated charities, Muscle Dreams and Send a Cow. Since 2013, Fay is a trustee of Muscle Dreams in her personal time.
Ishreen Bradley is an award winning executive coach who assists senior women in innovation-driven national and multi-national organisations to perform at their highest levels with finesse and ease. Executives from organisations such as BP, Aimia, AoN, TfL and Intuit have engaged Ishreen to work through challenges, understand and communicate their unique qualities and empower themselves to fulfil on their purpose at work. A qualified engineer, Ishreen worked at senior levels in BT and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young before establishing her own coaching practice Bizas over ten years ago. She has an MBA from London Business School, a Masters in Executive Coaching from Ashridge and a deep understanding of the challenges senior women face at work.
Her intuitive, calm and holistic approach to coaching sets her apart. Likened to a 'highly skilled acupuncturist who knows exactly where to point the needle for minimum pain and maximum effect', Ishreen supports clients in getting to the heart of the matter quickly without judgment or opinion. She is an expert at assisting women identify and overcome barriers to success, increase their profile at work and develop the confidence to express their value with ease and finesse.
Clients engage Ishreen to increase their impact and influence, progress their careers, expand their prowess in leading large-scale projects and deliver specific results for themselves and their teams.
Yasmin Arrigo , editor-in-chief at Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) and Event, published by Haymarket Media Group.
Yasmin has reported on the global meetings and events industry for more than 15 years and during this time, she has travelled from Abu Dhabi to Singapore in search of emerging event trends. She has covered a diverse range of events from London 2012 Olympics and Mobile World Congress, to COP15 and the Eurovision Song Contest. Yasmin specialises in media rebrands and launches and has brought over 20 brand extensions to market. She was recently named CWT's Meetings & Events Editor of the Year.
Yasmin has contributed to over 50 titles including Business Traveller, The Times, The Guardian and CondÃ© Nast Johansens. In her spare time, she supports Spurs and builds Duplo towers.
I have been immersed in the hospitality industry since my first role in the accounts department of Reading Post House, back in the late 70's. Although the job itself was pretty boring, I loved the team approach to success and was hooked. After various roles with Trusthouse Forte, I moved on to work for De Vere and then an independent hotel, before crossing the line to work in the agency sector as an account director for an event management company.
I then became head of operations for Hoteline, which ultimately became one of the first online agencies, Hotelzon, where I moved into marketing. I became involved with the HBAA in 2004 as a volunteer on the training committee, then taking the Training Chair and my place on the Executive Committee. I was elected Chairman of the Association in 2011, and since becoming self-employed, I have won a three year contract for the role of HBAA Executive Director.
Outside of work, I enjoy living with my husband Lee on the edge of the New Forest where I'm able to indulge in my two favourite pursuits, running and real-ale, and I also try to get away for skiing twice a season.
Meenaz heads up the Global Sales offices for Europe, Africa, Middle East and India regions and is responsible for resourcing and managing key account and central sales & promotional activities for the 110+ hotels across three distinct brands. Meenaz has been with FRHI since 2006 and has enjoyed over 20 years experience in hospitality marketing and sales at property, divisional and head quarter level, working with major brands such as Starwood, Le Meridien and the Forte Group to develop profitable business across all market segments.
Fairmont Raffles Hotels International is a leading global hotel company with over 110 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and SwissÃ´tel brands.
With a legacy spanning over 125 years, Raffles Hotels & Resorts is a true pioneer of worldly elegance and hospitality. Each Raffles hotel is an oasis that offers warm and discreet service, delivering emotional luxury to well-travelled guests.
Honouring a deep connection with its many communities, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' charismatic hospitality is the gateway to cherished memories. Unique architecture, expressive dÃ©cor and thoughtful service elevate every moment.
Embracing an exceptional quality of life, SwissÃ´tel Hotels & Resorts combines contemporary Swiss style and locally inspired flair with warm personalized service to immerse guests in a genuine and vital hospitality experience.
Andrew's hotel general management career spans over 22 years, running hotels for Shire Hotels, Corus and Regal hotels, QHotels and De Vere Hotels including time as Director of Operations at The Belfry. He has also held Regional Director roles in addition to his General Management responsibilities.
Andrew moved to his current role as General Manager of The Grand Brighton in May 2010. Since joining he has ensured the Hotel has re-established itself as a first choice venue for business and leisure. Since 2010 turnover has increased by 50%, which has enabled staffing levels to grow by 40% - with most staff employed locally. The Hotel's success has been assisted by a £5 million refurbishment in 2012/13 and in 2014 Andrew oversaw the sale of the hotel by De Vere to Wittington Investments.
Andrew is the current Chair of the Meetings Industry Association - a post he has held since March 2014 and will handover in March 2016.
Andrew is a strong participant in Brighton's business community. This includes the work he does by sitting on the Boards of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership and Rockinghorse - a local children's charity. This, along with the Hotel's performance and growth, resulted in Andrew being (very proudly!) awarded MD of The Year in the 2015 Brighton and Hove Business Awards.
During his career Andrew has dedicated time to developing people wanting to succeed in the Hospitality, Leisure and Events Industry. He is proud to have been an important part of the progression of a number of members of his management teams over the years who have gone on to hold General Manager/Director positions as a result. Andrew's management style is built on trust, energy and engagement. One of his beliefs is that we should all be looking "upwards and outwards" and enjoys showing his team what great practice looks like to help them develop.
Married with 2 daughters Andrew lives near Southampton and spends his time out with his family and friends. He also enjoys cycling and listening to music.
Andrew founded Triggerfish over fifteen years ago following a marketing career with some of the UK's largest hotel chains. The company has built a business on recommendations and works with some of the UK's largest organisations in the travel and leisure industries.
His career with large scale corporate organisations means that Andrew is well versed in developing and creating identities for brands and individuals, in a sector driven by the premise that 'people buy from people'.
Andrew has an in-depth understanding of the industry and has been responsible for breaking major news stories that have affected and shaped the meetings and events sector.
Triggerfish represents arts, cultural and heritage clients along with major independent landmark hotels and large scale hospitality and catering organisations.
During his spare time Andrew is a keen triathlete, a cross continental swimmer and is running the Marathon Des Sables in 2017.
Justine has spent the past four years as Co-founder and Course Director at Ashdown Academy and five years prior to that with the international event management training institute, placing hundreds of graduates into roles and tutoring them through to successful qualification.
Justine has also worked with some of the UK's largest companies and charities to plan and deliver first class events and live experiences for the past 18 years (further details below).
As winner of the IEAM '2014 Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment and Arts Industry', Justine also sits on the committee for the In-house Corporate Event Awards.
She has a BSc degree in Psychology at St Mary's Honours College, Maryland, USA, before embarking on a career in events as an account executive for Ergo Communications, London. In this role she developed her business experience and gained solid account management and logistical event skills.
Since then Justine has worked in both the profit and non-profit sectors on a consultancy basis and has an extensive experience of working with many event agencies. Clients and employers have included WWF-UK, Haagen Dazs, Mars, AXA and ABN Amro. Her consultancy and training over the years has meant that Justine's list of contacts within the events world is unparalleled.
She lives in the South of England with her two young boys and loves to entertain and socialise and has a passion for tennis. She is currently training for a number of long distance running events.
Liz has worked within the entertainment and events industry for 15 years, with a career spanning West End theatre management, event and venue management roles at top level arenas and festivals to her current position in the heritage sector.
Her career started in the theatre world, moving from London drama festivals to managing West End theatres with Live Nation. She then took an opportunity to join the team at Wembley Arena. This gave Liz the chance to work on large scale events at the Arena as well as being part of the Live Nation management team for outdoor festivals such as Wireless Festival, Hyde Park Calling and Download Festival.
She progressed to the role of Venue Manager for the O2 Arena which saw Liz managing event day teams of up to 350 people for a number of high profile concerts, sporting and entertainment events.
After 12 years working in commercial venues, Liz took the decision to change direction and move into the heritage sector. She is now Head of Events for Historic Royal Palaces and has strategic responsibility for the commercial events teams across 6 palaces, working to find ways of maximising commercial opportunities within sensitive conservation guidelines.
Alongside work, Liz is also involved in the development of a training programme for the next generation of venue managers. This links up multiple London venues (e.g. Southbank, The National, The Roundhouse) to share skills, experience, venue operations and event management best practise with industry newcomers.
Director of Business Tourism and Major Events for London and Partners, Tracy was previously in a similar role for Visit London, the Capital's global marketing organisation.
Responsible for the Convention Bureau, - managing the event solutions team, and a proactive global sales team, attracting discretionary business , cultural & sporting events to the capital; and working with the city stakeholders to develop London's Business and Major Events Tourism offering.
Previously, over 20 years' experience in Senior Sales & Marketing positions including VP Sales EMEA for Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, Global Sales Director Thistle Hotels, Senior VP Sales & Marketing North America - Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, and numerous property based Director of Sales & Marketing roles within London and the UK.
In 2012 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tracy led the team responsible for the Mayor's hospitality programmes, welcoming over 200 business guests over the games period; her team assisted over 60 NOC, NPC, Sponsor and Sporting bodies to plan and execute their Olympic hospitality strategies, and London and partners ran the London media centre hosting over 8,500 non accredited broadcast and press journalists during games-time.
In 2013 Tracy was awarded the Eventia Outstanding Achievement honour and named in the 2013 and 2014 Event 100 list of the most influential people in the industry.
Tracy was awarded an MBE for services to business tourism in 2014.
Robert has over 25 years of experience in the Meetings & Events Industry, working initially in the hospitality industry, then moving into freelance event management, culminating in a senior role as a corporate client.
After completing a Higher National Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management Robert spent over 15 years in the hospitality industry from pub management through to senior hotel management roles within hotel groups such as Marriott, De Vere and Thistle Hotels, as well as some large high profile independent hotels such as The Chester Grosvenor Hotel.
Robert joined AstraZeneca in 2006 where he was responsible for the re-organisation of the operating model in the UK, moving to a fully outsourced model. Since 2007 he has been responsible for the delivery of all of the UK Marketing Company Meetings activity including being instrumental in the re-design, delivery and success of the annual Incentive Scheme, The Academy. An industry award winning scheme since 2010 (Eventia & C&IT).
Robert is Chairman of the internal sports and social club at AZ, responsible for organising events throughout the year that make AstraZeneca a great place to work.
He has recently worked alongside other Senior Event Professionals, as part of the judging panel on the MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Award and last year's International Corporate Events Awards, recognising in house corporate event organisers.
Robert lives in Northampton with his wife and two boys aged 11 and 7. Outside of work he tries to manage the kid's busy weekend taxi service with sports of his own, golf and badminton. An ideal break for Robert is to go away and not stay in a hotel (a busman's holiday!) but really immerse in the local environment. The best way to do that is self-catering!
Jennifer is owner and Managing Director of Royall, the specialist recruitment partner of choice for the events and communications industry.
Jenny has worked on both sides of the fence (client and agency side) rising up through operational roles in marketing, communications and management then driving all her experience in client servicing, relationship management within events and communications to set up Royall in 2009.
Jenny founded Royall, from ground zero with no investment, and grew the business organically to the level it is at today with year on year growth.
Since returning from Maternity leave 18 months ago, Jenny has delivered significant achievements, to include relocating to larger premises, recruiting and training two new Relationship Managers and replaced all technology to ensure the best connectivity with our network. Jenny has also replaced the entire Royall infrastructure to include a fully bespoke CRM system and automated marketing vehicle. She has also uplifted sales performance by 69% and profit levels by 52%.
Jennifer is an inspiring leader and motivator, one who respects her team as people, personalities and individuals as well as professionals and valued colleagues. With a goal to change the way people view recruitment companies and to bring the industry together by providing the latest and most relevant industry news, hot topics and discussion forums, to educate and to inform as well as present top talent and consultancy to all who Royall connects with.
Sandra has worked in the events industry for over fifteen years and is currently the Events Manager for Sanofi Pasteur MSD, a leading vaccine provider, based in Maidenhead.
Her story in the events industry started when as a single mother looking after two boys, she started a part time Higher National Diploma in administrative procedures; which included sourcing her own work experience. Successfully finding two opportunities she was offered a position after just one week at her first post and when the EMEA Event manager left, she took over the role and has never looked back!
At Sanofi Pasteur MSD Sandra is in charge of all the corporate events for the company both in the UK and overseas. The events vary in size and purpose; it could be a senior management meeting for 32 or a product launch for 130. The variety and complexity of each event is what drives Sandra. For each event she is responsible for managing the budget, agenda, programme, contract negotiations, developing the marketing collateral, managing the working groups and the list goes on and on; the events department is purely Sandra!
Sandra is currently half way through her Masters in Event Management at Leeds Beckett University. Sandra loves learning, whether it's about a new hotel, the latest development in the industry or new innovations in AV; possibly due to her nosey nature!!
Sandra has two boys who are 22 and 23, both currently at university. In her spare time she loves travelling, Ceroc dancing, Jazz exercise and cooking.
Steve's career and experience is incredibly diverse and within every role he undertakes he ensures he pushes himself outside of his comfort zone to better not only his life but also the lives of others.
Following a fall in Germany in 2005, Steve's life changed forever. In an instant he lost the use of his legs and sustained many other complications. As part of his rehabilitation he was introduced to wheelchair rugby and was inspired by the game and the player's attitude. Just five short months after his injury he went to his first training session.
After a long and devoted sporting career Steve progressed from club level to playing for country, and, ultimately London 2012 captain.
Steve supports and challenges individuals, schools, colleges and businesses to think differently. As a Youth Sport Trust Athlete mentor, his work varies from assisting students in overcoming adversity, physical or mental barriers to challenging talented students to hone their focus and resolve training issues to achieve the best in their field. Working closely with international companies such as Sky and Allianz, Steve works on changing the way business view disability; with the overall objective to explain some of the not-so-obvious advantages of having disabilities amongst their workforce.
Working in partnership with Sky Sports Steve promotes sport to all, both as a TV Presenter and as part of the Sky Sport Living for Sport program.
Steve speaks and works on behalf of local and national Charities that are dedicated to helping people better themselves through sport and the arts regardless of ability.
To compliment his working life, Steve still plays sport as well as volunteering time to develop and coach a brand new wheelchair rugby team in Canterbury.
Jon Harrison has worked in the MICE industry for 18 years, recently re-joining Zibrant in 2015 following a tenure at BP as Operations Manager of the Learning Service Centre.
Jon heads up the Venues division of Zibrant, which, through the teams extensive knowledge, sources venue options globally in line with clients requirements, objectives and in synergy to their brand. Beyond sourcing and proposing, the Venues team of 50 collectively deliver further core services such as contract negotiation and signing, accommodation management, delegate registration, invoice reconciliation and payment.
Experience at both Zibrant and BP has provided Jon with key insights and understanding of the learning arena, deepening his passion for people development. Jon considers learning and development in any business is a key element to attracting and retaining the best talent.
Josef is Head of Events at the British Fashion Council (BFC), which is behind the capital's globally renowned London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend events as well as the annual British Fashion Awards. He joined the BFC in 2013 one day before London Fashion week commenced, which set the tone for what has been an exciting, fast paced and rewarding role ever since. Josef delivers the annual events portfolio for the BFC with events in London and across the globe, and as part of the senior management team develops and delivers the company's strategic goals.
Josef's initial experience was working within various roles in both hotel operations and sales and marketing for the Lanesborough Hotel, Marcus Evans and Mason Rose, before an opportunity arose to join INCA, one of London's leading lifestyle event production agencies. Within this role Josef produced and directed events for clients such as Vertu, Marks & Spencer, Nike and L'Oreal as well as Fashion Shows for Diesel Black Gold New York, and Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief and the British Fashion Awards. Josef's time here gave him a solid foundation and knowledge for progressing in the industry and after five rewarding and successful years Josef moved on to be the Event Director at Jackie Cooper PR (now Edelman Brand). Here Josef was responsible for strategising, planning and executing all events and experiential activities across the agency, managing budgets up to £1 million and working with clients such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Motorola, Shell and Covent Garden London.
Josef's inspiration comes from living in London, surrounded by music, film, galleries and a wonderful range of diverse cultures. He is a dynamic team leader and enjoys working on projects that include problem solving with creativity, and the opportunity to utilise skills while gaining new ones. Josef is very interested in anything to do with mindfulness and how to balance a busy job with a calm mind-set.
Jenni Eley, Head of Events at ITV, has 15 years experience in corporate events, working for a variety of industries including broadcast media, publishing, pharmaceuticals and finance both in the UK and internationally.
Jenni leads a team of 14, managing over 200 events a year in the UK and across the globe, which bring the brand to life for ITV's viewers, advertisers, programme buyers and colleagues. Joining ITV in 2011 as a freelance Events Manager, she now heads up the department. Under her leadership, and with a lot of hard work, some new ambitious events and a first-class team, the team won Team of the Year at the 2015 Event Awards.
Jenni is passionate about the events industry, the importance of a strong, supportive team culture, harnessing creative talent and driving events forward by thinking big, taking risks and making it happen.
A self-confessed introvert she is also a firm believer that you don't need to shout the loudest to succeed and that hard work does pay off.
In her spare time Jenni enjoys travelling and flexing her multilingual abilities, and spending time at home in Hertfordshire with her husband and three cats.
Voted the most influential person in the UK event industry over the last 4 years - an industry worth £39 billion to the UK economy - Kevin Jackson has been making his influence felt for over twenty years. He's been a significant player with some of the world's most respected marketing services groups, including Interpublic, Grey and Saatchi. He's also worked closely with a vast range of brands, from Adidas to Zumba.
Having explored every discipline within the marketing mix, Kevin has a rare understanding of every conceivable touchpoint between a brand and its most valuable audiences. As a thought leader, speaker, strategic consultant and relationship manager with a huge catalogue of success behind him, his passion and enthusiasm for driving engagement, participation and action, means that his work focuses on delivering memorable, meaningful brand experiences. This he demonstrates as President of ISES UK and as Director of Ideas and Innovation at his own growth agency, The Experience is The Marketing.
Kevin's rules for this are simple: - "Treat people as people, entertain them, educate them, connect them with each other - and be useful in their lives." Whether the audience comprises consumers, businesses or employees, no one is exempt from his belief in the power of engagement.
This year Kevin has been a key note speaker at conferences in Las Vegas, London, Prague, Moscow, Manchester, Zagreb, Birmingham, Madrid, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Austin, Zurich, Barcelona and New Orleans.
In the programmer's inaugural year we were proud to work with the following mentors:
Alex James (Zibrant LIVE!), Hannah Rhodes (Hiver Beers), Jackie Mulligan (Leeds Beckett University), Jason Scott (Entrepreneur), Jo Austin (Lime Venue Portfolio), Joanna Lawlor (AstraZenca), Karen Sumner (Allen and Overy), Lex Butler (Wolf & White), Paul Beavis (Lanson), Sallie Coventry (IBTM) and Yasmin Arrigo (Haymarket Media Group).
Growth and development can span across your career. Your category selection and application will help us understand what you would like to achieve out of the Fast Forward 15 programme.
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