Leeds Beckett researcher highlights major outcomes for Zibrant’s Fast Forward 15 programme

Fast Forward 15, the mentoring initiative designed to inspire women within the events and hospitality sector, has provided new jobs and inspired many mentees to take some positive career steps, according to an independent evaluation of the programme by Dr Katherine Dashper at Leeds Beckett University.

Founded by event management and venue-finding agency Zibrant MD Fay Sharpe in 2015, the programme runs for a 12-month period, with 15 mentees having regular access to mentors, who them to develop and progress via one-to-one advice.

The research was carried out with the inaugural mentees to understand the personal and commercial impact the scheme had on them. Key successes identified by Dr Dashper included:

Personal achievement 

  • Mentees felt positive about their careers and future in the events industry.
  • Many identified the tools they had learnt on the programme, such as goal-setting, that they would continue to use as they progressed.

Career development 

  • New jobs, promotions and mentees starting up their own businesses.

Personal Impact 

  • Increased confidence, renewed focus and establishing a wider network.
  • In addition to the mentees achieving new levels of self-worth and widened outlook on the events sector, the mentors too noted personal achievement in giving back to the industry, and seeing enjoyment and satisfaction in helping others grow and develop.

The mentees found that the work they were set was not all plain sailing and the research from Dr Dashper showed the charity challenge was the most controversial aspect of the programme, causing considerable anxiety among mentees.

Commenting on the findings, Sharpe said: “We’re delighted we introduced the scheme and these results show the positivity the programme had, surpassing our aims and objectives inspiring women within the events industry. The commitment and dedication from the mentors and mentees throughout the year reflected their passion for our industry and the external support we receive continuously reinforces the importance of this programme in our sector.”

Dr Dashper produced the research from 70 interviews involving 14 of the mentees and 12 of the mentors.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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