This afternoon, the inaugural mentees for Fast Forward 15 were announced at a special lunch hosted at The Savoy Hotel, London. The event marks the official launch of the hospitality-focused mentoring scheme, pairing the sector’s key players with some of its most talented women.

The 15 participants for the first year of the scheme, and their associated mentors and categories are:

Aspirational Board Director

Mentor: Fay Sharpe, Zibrant  / Mentee: Selina Donald, ITV

Mentor: Jo Austin, Lime Venue Portfolio / Mentee: Rachel Bartlett, Warwick Conferences

Middle Management Progression

Mentor: Hannah Rhodes, Hiver Beer / Mentee: Fleur Burrows-Jones, National Theatre

Mentor: Alex James, Zibrant / Mentee: Catriona Ross, Post Office Ltd

Corporate Events Professional

Mentor: Joanna Lawlor, AstraZeneca / Mentee: Laura Adams, cievents                                             

Mentor: Karen Sumner, Allen & Overy LLP / Mentee: Michelle Kibble, Everywoman Ltd

Mentor: Jackie Mulligan, Leeds Beckett University / Mentee: Lauren Glynn, Harrow School Enterprises Ltd

Mentor: Jason Scott, Entrepreneurial consultant / Mentee: Kate Furness, Zibrant LIVE!

Mentor: Lex Butler, Wolf & White / Mentee: Emma North, Black Tomato Agency

Budding Entrepreneur

Mentor: Paul Beavis, Champagne Lanson / Mentee: Amy Seton, The Food and Drink Events Company

Mentor: Sallie Coventry, IBTM Events / Mentee: Libby Willetts, EMA Events

Maternity Leave Returner

Mentor: Yasmin Arrigo, Haymarket Media Group / Mentee: Rebecca Goodman, Ageas UK Ltd


Mentor: Meenaz Lilani, Fairmont/Raffles Hotels & Resorts / Mentee: Tanya Dennis, MRO Network

Mentor: Louise Bang, Ritz Carlton / Mentee: Charlotte Warwick, Silverstone Circuit

University Final-Year Student

Mentor: Juliet Price, HBAA / Mentee: Hannah Coleman, Bournemouth University

The event was a chance for both mentors and mentees to become acquainted and establish a relationship which will be crucial to the success of the programme over the coming year.

Fleur Burrows-Jones, from The National Theatre, who is one of the scheme’s first mentees said: “I am so pleased to be part of Fast Forward 15 and looking forward to gaining knowledge and expertise from a leading woman within the industry. Being part of Fast Forward 15 will inspire me to progress in my career within the events world. I am very much looking forward to working with my mentor Hannah Rhodes over the coming year.”

Commenting on Fast Forward 15, Hannah Rhodes, founder of Hiver Beer and Fleur’s mentor, said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the mentees to gain insight into working cultures outside of their own role and gain perspective on their own professional challenges. I’d love to think that in a year’s time the applicants will have clarity about their own ways of working and will be looking to lead the industry by example in the years ahead. Even as a mentor, you can’t help but be impressed by the high standards set by Fay and think ‘what’s stopping me?’”

Fay Sharpe, managing director of Zibrant and founder of Fast Forward 15 added: “This has been a momentous occasion; there was real electricity in the air when we introduced mentors and mentees to each other for the first time in the flesh. This will be an exciting and productive year and I look forward to working with all parties to ensure that the scheme is a resounding success, serving as an example to the hospitality industry.”

Lex Butler, co-founder of experiential agency Wolf & White, is the final mentor for the scheme’s inaugural year (bringing the total to 15), having been appointed earlier this week.