By Lizzie McMahon, Account Manager at davies tanner
There is no truer context for the saying ‘knowledge is power’ than when it comes to career progression. Industry knowledge and in-depth ‘know-how’ are key to unlocking developmental stages in your career, and the best way to obtain this insight – mentoring.
By learning from others – be that colleagues, industry experts or spokespeople – mentees will gain trusted advisors, have someone to test new ideas against, minimise mistakes and absorb learnings from mentor’s past experiences.
To this end, following the announcement of this year’s new mentees for Fast Forward 15’s (FF15) – an award-winning year-long industry mentoring programme – we spoke to our Account Manager, Lizzie McMahon, to find more on out why she entered the mentoring scheme and what she hopes to achieve.
What is FF15?
FF15 is a free mentoring programme specifically designed to help support women in the events industry. Each mentee is assigned an industry expert as their mentor, who will guide them through a year-long programme to support their career development and personal growth.
I’ve been extremely lucky and have Justine Kane, Co-founder and Course Director at Event Academy and Managing Director at Event Talent Agency as my mentor. Despite it being the very initial stages of the course – we’re yet to have our first official meeting – already I’m benefiting from having such a fantastic role model, independent of my company, just an email away should I need any advice.
Why did you put yourself forward?
Why would you not?
This is an opportunity like no other. I’ve been given access to one-on-one sessions with a key industry figurehead to gain a deeper understanding of not only of the industry, but also the wider business world, and benefit from a sounding board to help develop my thinking, knowledge and career.
I knew that this would be a competitive pitch, particularly with being relatively fresh-faced in the events world but I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
I guess I’m ambitious and, being a woman, that can sometimes lead to frustrating and challenging situations – something I’ve certainly experienced in the past – so to benefit from and support (through the charity event we’ll put on at the end of the programme) an initiative that helps women in the business ticked all my boxes.
What are you expecting from the year ahead?
To be honest, I’ve entered this programme with an open mind. The recent, graduation onboard the Silver Sturgeon – an amazingly inspiring and uplifting affair – really drove home that anything can be achieved if the time, effort and guidance is committed. The graduates spoke of their varying achievements – all impressive – which ranged from getting new jobs, securing promotions, nailing new business pitching, to learning how to swim and conquering a fear of heights, so, watch this space, who knows where the course will take me!
Our next meeting falls on the day that this newsletter gets published and will see us determine my targets for the year ahead.
But, already, just a fortnight in, the programme has presented me with opportunities that simply wouldn’t have been available to me previously. For example, I’m ecstatic to be invited to attend the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund’s (CGEF) board meetings over the next year. CGEF is a charity which sponsors young women through secondary education in disadvantaged countries, helping them to become role models for other local girls – something that I’m passionate about and keen to get involved in to help make a difference where I can.